“We either make ourselves miserable, or we make ourselves strong. The amount of work is the same” – Carlos Castaneda
This post is inspired by Wong Fu productions’ video Which Life Will You Live?
We all have dreams; big dreams. Some of us want fame and recognition — we chase after careers like acting, writing, or politics; some want wealth, and become business people, entrepreneurs, or CFOs; some simply want a family, and we search for love, stability, harmony. Regardless of our lots in life, we all dream of something much bigger.
What the faiths have to say
In Buddhism, the cause of suffering is attachment to the world and to our desires. The way to end suffering is to end desire. In Sikhism, there is a saying “Nanak Dukhia Sab Sansaar”, or “O Nanak, the entire world is depressed”. I am not religious by a long shot but these two points from Buddhism and Sikhism do provide us with some insight into human psychology–faiths, after all, are designed to help people in their times of need.
I have discussed this gap between our expectations and our reality in a previous post. What do we do when what we wish to attain is far from where we are?
I feel like the above two examples of religious advice are not very good at all. They tell us to relinquish worldly desires and hope for a better afterlife. Let’s for a moment assume that there is an afterlife; what guarantee do we have that it is going to fulfill our desires? Let’s assume that paradise is amazing? So why are we even wasting our time making advances in this world? If it was an established fact that the afterlife was a true fulfillment of all our desires and dreams, then how many of us would bother remaining here? How many of us have resolved to leave the world due to the promise of a better hereafter?
Here and Now
That’s the end of my afterlife rant; now let’s focus on the here and now. From this moment forward, I want you to think that this life is the only chance you will get! Empirically speaking, this is our only shot. So why not make it count? Why not go for our heart’s desires? Yes, many of us will not attain star status; mathematically speaking that is highly improbable on a planet of 7 billion plus people. But, it’s kind of like the lottery: if you don’t play you have no chance at winning. But unlike the lottery, which sucks up hard-earned cash for an unlikely promise of instant riches, chasing your dreams, however improbable that you will succeed, will be fulfilling.
Getting your ducks in order
Forget that the Buddha wants you to give your desires up; keep your desires, keep your dreams, and make it a reality for yourself! Pursue your dreams with passion, commitment and sincerity. Make time for your dreams; make them a reality. It’s not an overnight process. Sometimes it’s not even a comfortable process. Are you willing to take that step and pursue your passion? Do not leave your dreams to chance or faith. Action and the growth mindset trump both!