But it’s up to you — not the universe.
About what you really want.
Too often, people lie to themselves — and others — about what they want most. Or they do things day to day that conflict with those statements.
Our life always reflects our values. If we don’t have what we say we want, it’s because we valued something else — probably immediate gratification — more.
If you want meaning, don’t undermine it by chasing markers. If you want substance, don’t sabotage it with superficiality.
It’s a lot easier when you’re honest.
I don’t want to be an astronaut. I don’t want to bang Ryan Gosling. I want something that looks a lot like the job I have, and I like banging the dude I’m dating.
But I do have other ideas I chew on.
And hang your self worth on internal value rather than external accomplishments. The joy is in the journey, not the endpoint. If you don’t reach it, you won’t be devastated.
It’ll be okay when everything doesn’t work out — because your self esteem was in giving it your all, doing things that delighted you, and learning along the way.
Awesome, exciting ambitions can be super fun — and motivating. But only if approached as something fun and motivating — not something by which we’re measuring our self worth.
Intrinsic rather extrinsic is where it’s at.
Ari Eastman writes,
“It’s a privilege to say ‘chase your dream.’ And frankly, it can be quite isolating.”
I think she meant “isolating to other people,” but it can be equally isolating for us.
When we pursue pet projects — especially when those things are deep-dives into thought exercises, experiments, or writing — we often isolate ourselves from the real world. And while this can feel really pleasurable on the surface, it can also feel a little like coming out of a bad trip on the tail end — like you just spent hours of your life buried in hedonism with nothing real to show for it.
Be doing it
Because thinking about doing it isn’t doing it. Ever. Doing it is doing it.
Do the work. Push yourself. Discover interests and passions and things that delight you and chase those rather than dream about some glossy endpoint. Do the actual thing.
Nicholas Cole recently wrote,
“You have to practice more than you think about practice.”
In pursuit of being a top World of Warcraft player, Cole writes,
“I remember I used to download dozens of… videos made by other players and watch them, study them, trying to figure out how I could be like them.
But one day, it clicked: I was never going to get better by watching. I had to DO. So I replaced all the hours I spent watching other players with simply playing myself.”
Ari Eastman writes,
“Take small steps towards satisfaction. Instead of envisioning yourself as the next stadium-selling musician, just play your music. Learn your craft. Remember why you’re doing it. Is it because you love it or because it fits into this grand dream? Don’t sit back either. Remember: WORK! Find like-minded individuals. Make friends, not as just some social-climbing-networking shtick, but as ACTUAL friends. Make yourself laugh! Fall down and get back up. It’s okay to be bruised. Life is going to do that.”
But really, just be self-worth
Approach the thing for what it truly is — not what you’ve made it out to be.
You’ll be fine. And it’ll all work out.