always follow your dream

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Non-Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic

Submitted: May 30, 2018

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Submitted: May 30, 2018



Always follow your dreams.

(A few personal thoughts)

Follow your dreams can sound like an inspirational statement and doubtless most of us can recall saying it at one time or another to children, family members or friends. Usually when we’ve said it our motives were prompted by concern.  We’ve been attempting to direct the individual’s thought process along a particular path. We may have noticed that he or she was not exactly unhappy, but seemed to be brooding, or looking for a way to break out of normal routine. But were we right in suggesting they follow their dreams; were we being rational. It could be argued that most of us have trouble controlling our own thoughts and passions yet we’re happy to provide subjective advice without access to the innermost thoughts of the recipient. So whilst we meant well the consequences of our advice could be detrimental to those we advise. My mother used to say that the road to Hell is paved with good intentions!

Most human beings are subject to their environment and are often oppressed by it; few if any have complete control of the circumstances which they inhabit. This is because the majority of folk need to consider their thoughts and the consequences of their actions on other people. In this day and age it is difficult if not impossible to make life changing choices without affecting those you love or those whom your life touches.  One of the advantages of old age is the ability to record and remember changes that the years have dictated. One of the most obvious features of this aging process is the certain knowledge that thoughts, feelings, passions and hence dreams, mutate as time passes. Put simply age suggests that today’s dreams may become tomorrow’s nightmares.

Dreams are synonymous with passions and for the most part passions are more enjoyable when taken slowly; savoured, however its not in the nature of youth to be patient. So in some circumstances, following a dream can lead to disenchantment. By the same token, having a dream and not being able to fulfil it can result in discontent. The cultural consequences of promoting the philosophy of “follow your dream” could lead to a more self centred, selfish world. We are told that one in five young people today have mental health issues. If this is so what effect will follow your dream have on the manic depressive or even the mildly depressed. Of course “follow your dream” is not exclusively the prerogative of the young it affects everyone. It may be that older people who follow their dream are more obsessive than the young. They see that time is running out and there’s a lot to do. One symptom of follow your dream is the ubiquitous obnoxious “bucket list”. Following your dream perhaps raises the disturbing spectre of everyman for himself and devil take the hindmost. Extreme I hear you say; well perhaps but remember the thrust of all social media platforms is the promotion of the cult of “self”

So where does all this leave us, is following your dream a selfish indulgence or is it an important element of human existence. Well the real answer is that no one knows, certainly not until after the event. But like everyone else I do have an opinion and following are a few thoughts on the subject. Firstly, I believe following your own passion or dream is a vital part of growing up and is necessary for the healthy development any human being. I should add of course that growing up doesn’t actually stop until the Grim Reaper reminds you that your time is up!  You owe it to yourself to use whatever natural talent or ability you have in furthering your own interests. It’s important for your own mental and physical wellbeing, that as far as possible you remain at peace with the world. Having said all that there are few things to remember. Only you can decide whether following your dream is the right thing to do. Listening to those who encourage you to take a particular course of action can lead to overreaching yourself; we are all susceptible to flattery. Conversely listen to those who discourage and you may never take the plunge. Following a dream is an intensely personal decision. The process I would contend involves you learning to think for yourself and not rely on others.

There are also a number of other things to consider. It’s probable that following your dream is only one dimension in the multi dimensional universe of happiness. Put another way, following your passion is only a single ingredient in the complex dish of life. I believe there are only a few things more important than following one’s dream and one of them is the pursuit of happiness. Obviously happiness means different things to different people but I believe there are a number of common denominators in most people’s view of happiness. I would suggest that the health and wellbeing of an individual’s social interaction is the largest contributor to the perception of happiness. If a person can properly manage family ties, relationships, friendships together with work responsibilities then happiness will ensue. I would perhaps go further and say that if the world loves you and you love the world you are well on the way to being happy. To use a mathematical analogy; in my view 80% of happiness is made up of an individual’s association with the world and other people and only 20% comes from self promotion. In my experience, those people are the least happy, who get the ratio out of kilter and consider self more important than relationships and the world

So to follow one’s dream is vital but it could intrude on or disrupt your pursuit of happiness, simply because it may override social interactions and family ties. Another aspect to bear in mind is the subtle difference between pleasure and happiness. On the one hand pleasure is fleeting and external but happiness tends to be more permanent and internal. Both of these states are important and need to be understood.  Pleasure and happiness have a profound affect our relationships but can often be confused. In particular the pursuit of pleasure whilst exhilarating, can overwhelm the senses and distract the unwary.

And finally, does any of this really matter. The answer is probably no. Almost no one thinks about following their dream, usually it’s an instinctive reaction. To use a colloquialism they go with their gut. Perhaps that’s the right thing to do; after all instinct is often more reliable than any thought process we can employ. To fall back on a cliché; you will make nothing in this life unless you make mistakes. So my advice would probably be, trust yourself, but try to cultivate at least one friendship that will help you pick up the pieces in the unlikely event that the excrement collides with the cooling system. 

© Copyright 2019 Peter Piper. All rights reserved.

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