Friday, April 27, 2012

Is The Pursuit of Dreams Selfish?

Written by Karen.
I was having a conversation recently with a person that I know casually, when he asked, ”You know, you already have a great life, live in a great community, have a great career, drive great cars, but yet you want more?  Isn’t that a little selfish?”

There it was.  The scarlet capital letter ‘S’ about to be pinned upon my breast.  I stopped for a second, then rejected this premise outright. My response came out in a torrent of words, each spilling over each other in their haste to be heard. 
It’s no more selfish to sell almost everything that you own and travel the world than it is to raise happy and healthy kids, start a new business, get a Master’s degree, add on to your house, pursue a hobby or go after whatever goal you dream about that will allow you to live a full, productive and joyful life.  
It’s ridiculous and small-minded to think otherwise.  
Anyone who has stepped out of their comfort zone knows the anxiety – the fear - that can overtake you with such ferocity that it threatens to drown out the tiny bit of spring green courage that is pushing through into the unknown.  

It has often been said that we are our own worst enemy, and our mind is brilliant at coming up with all sorts of reasons why we shouldn’t venture into the unknown and pursue our dreams and why it is the best choice to stay doing exactly what we are doing today.  And it is questions like the one that was asked of me as to whether our dream to travel around the world was selfish - that if listened to and accepted as some sort of personal character flaw - will clip your wings, set your feet in concrete, and limit your opportunities. 

If allowed, fear will eventually minimize your full potential.  Fear will narrow your focus and limit your options until you believe that you don’t have any choices left to make.  You, indeed, will become stuck in a place with no visible windows. 

The risk of trying something new means there is an equal risk of failure.  It takes incredible courage to shrug off the mantle of fear and failure that settle around your shoulders and keep going towards the bright light of the unknown, knowing that you are doing the right thing, even if you aren’t sure how it is all going to turn out.

In the words of Jiminy Cricket, “If you don’t have a dream, how can you have a dream come true?” 
It seems to me the scales weigh heavily in favor of courageously pursuing your dreams and just seeing how things turn out. Go for it! It’s not the easy choice, but it will be the better choice.  
“Go confidently in the direction of your dreams.  Live the life you’ve imagined.” Henry David Thoreau

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