Last week around this time, another year was coming to a close. All set to welcome the New Year, our hearts were filled with new hopes, dreams and aspirations. A colleague who also happens to be a good friend walked into my office. The conversation turned towards what we are currently doing, how meaningless it all seems as compared to what we really want to achieve
We put in close to 60 hours of work every week, busy running from one meeting to another, handling people issues, seemingly doing very important and critical work. We are often too busy even to chat up with old friends or make new friends! But end of the week, when we reflect and take stock of our achievement, it all seems so meaningless. And worse still, at times, so far away from our dreams; from what we really want to achieve. This colleague of mine with whom I was chatting nurtures a dream of making a movie. Another colleague wants to start an NGO focused on women. I want to write a book, see the world and complete PhD from a good school. We never seem to get enough time for doing things that we really want to do. Unfortunately, this continues for months and years.
Lost in the rat race of life, we don’t dare ask ourselves the most powerful question, “Am I happy with what I am doing? Am I doing what I really want to do?” In few self-reflective moments, when we ask this question and get a resounding NO in response, we hasten our steps back, held back by the fears and uncertainties of our mind.
Why are we so afraid to ask this question? What holds us back from acting?
- Is it fear of loss of security / satisfaction from current status? For many of us, pursuing our dream may mean sacrificing something which gives pleasure. It could be money, social status, power, time with family. It involves sacrificing the status quo and the security associated with it. After all, there is a comfort in doing what we are used to. And changing it demands certain drive and more importantly, courage.
- Is it the fear of failure? Success comes only to chosen few in first go. For many, it comes only after quite a bit of struggle and failure. After leading a cozy life, it takes enormous courage, determination and self-confidence to face the risk of failure.
- Is it the fear of others opinion? We are social animals. What others say or talk about us matters. Let’s accept it, it also influences our decisions and choice of actions. It again requires huge determination and courage to overcome this fear.
History is full of examples of people who pursued their dreams and achieved success in the end, despite initial struggles. I don’t need to name them here, one google search will probably throw up hundreds of names. However, what’s important to note is that for every such famous person there are probably hundreds who are not known to the world, are not famous, but are pursuing their dreams all the same. One person that comes to my mind is a designer who left a high paying job to work with tribals. She guides them with new designs and patterns that make their bamboo work beautiful and attracts higher prices. She helps them sell in larger cities and increase their earning. What she earns out of this venture is way below what she earned in her corporate job. However, this is what she wants to do, is happy and has no plans to quit.
The bottom-line currency is HAPPINESS. This currency is not dependent on any forex regulations, it is self-regulated and most easily achieved by doing things that we really want to do and by pursuing our dreams. All it demands is ample amount of self-confidence, courage and determination.
As we step into the New Year, I pray to God for this currency and the courage needed to pursue it.