Thursday, August 14, 2014

Stop Chasing Your Dreams, and Start Living Your Passions

When someone says, "follow your dreams," what does that really mean? I think all too often people have a goal in mind or destination in life where they think that if they achieve that goal or arrive at that destination they will be happy, and they call that their “dream.” Once they accomplish that goal or arrive at that destination they will have arrived at their dream. They will have finished, and can now stop. They will be done. In other words, for many people their “dream” is an end, some far off majestic place they need to get to. It almost doesn’t matter how they get there.

To me, getting somewhere without absolutely loving the process seems pointless. Life is a journey; it is not a means to an end. It is, in fact, the means. So the idea of having a “dream,” some far off fantasy land that you hope someday you will arrive at seems almost pointless. What if it takes your whole life to get there? What if you never get there? Then, and all to late might I add, will you spent your life chasing something you never achieved and, in the meantime, may have missed out on life or not enjoyed it to its fullest.

If I told you that you would be the happiest you could be for one day on the last day of the year, the 365th day of the year, would you spend the other 364 days miserable or unhappy trying to achieve that one day? I certainly hope not. So why is it any different with your life? Why would you spend the better part of your life trying to achieve something that you think will bring you happiness, when it isn’t even guaranteed that it will? In fact, chances are, if your happiness is defined by achieving some goal, you will never be happy. Because once you achieve that goal you will want to achieve the next thing, and will spend the next part of your life or year unhappy trying to achieve it. Your life will become a vicious cycle.

For example, you might say, “My dream is to be the greatest baseball player that ever lived.” Really? Being the greatest baseball player that ever lived can only come at the end of a career spent playing baseball.  I think in that case what you are really saying is that baseball is your passion. That you love the game of baseball and want to spend every waking hour of you life devoted to mastering the sport and becoming the greatest baseball player ever. If that is the case, then what are you waiting for? Start now. Don’t wait. Wake up tomorrow and begin training. Study the sport inside and out. Go to games. Watch games on television. Read every book ever written on baseball. And damn it, play. Be baseball. Eat, sleep and breathe it. Before you know it, baseball will be your life. You will be living baseball. And when all is said and done, when you finally look back at your life, then you (or others) can access whether you were the "greatest baseball player that ever lived." Odds are not, but you would have had a lot of fun trying. 

The point is, rather than trying setting your sights on some far off “dream,” try to live a life loving what you do every day. Figure out what you are passionate about, and surround yourself with whatever that is. Immerse yourself in the industry, culture, etc. of your passion. Most importantly, don’t wait to start – see living your passion as your dream, and start living it now.