Last night, on Facebook, I read this:
“I’m so tired of the “chase your dreams” “be anything you want to be” and “just find happiness” narrative and rhetoric pervading each orifice of this country… It so clearly prevents contentment and fosters a sense that sacrificing the planet and the well being of others for our dreams is ok”
As I read the first few words I had to admit, I was shocked. You’d think that this hard-core Yogi would be all about advocating for dream chasers. As I continued on, I began to understand how a dream pursuer, himself, could be so dismissive of a right given to us by our constitution.
First, I remembered that he is from Canada. Then, I dug deeper.
This wasn’t the first time I’d read this sentiment. I read it all the time through a different lens – on career blogs, in investment magazines, and most recently in this New York Times Article from 2011 that I received last week from a dear mentor. The article agrees with Sean in part. It suggests that:
“…[We are] told to pursue happiness and joy. But, of course, when you read a biography of someone you admire, it’s rarely the things that made them happy that compel your admiration. It’s the things they did to court unhappiness — the things they did that were arduous and miserable, which sometimes cost them friends and aroused hatred…”
The stark reality is, that with not-so-good unemployment rates, and constant flow of recent grads entering the work-force, combined with boomers delaying retirement – all under constant media bombardment to buy more – do more – want more, it’s going to take a hell of a lot more than dreams to get a person out from under x constraint and into y destination.
Now that I’ve ruined your night, let me offer a silver lining out of my own Yogi playbook:
Time, adversity, triumph, joy, heartbreak… this is the stuff of a whole and complex life. It’s not about chasing. It’s not about happiness. For me, it’s about experiencing whatever the universe has to offer with openness and contentment. Then, it’s about internalizing the value of hard work, recognizing opportunity and being willing and able to execute on both.
You can chase all your life, but the fact remains – wherever you go, there you are.