People who know me well are aware of a crude personal mantra I use to help keep myself grounded: GTFOY, or “Get the F#@K Over Yourself”. I feel that learning to keep our egos and all of our personal desires in check is the key to real personal happiness.
This requires balance of course. Self control can be measured on a spectrum. On one end there lies in us a completely self centered egomaniac. On the other, the Dalai Lama. The question is where do the rest of us draw the line when we’re trying to decide between chasing a dream, perhaps a new career direction, and doing what we do to put food on the table.
Eckhart Tolle once said that the ego will tell you that we will grow to be completely passive and not do anything if we learn to quiet our minds and be happy with the present moment and the things we have. He said that one must learn that life is a “play, that you play with it” and see where it takes you.
The cool thing is the mind is great at generating ideas for things we can do with our time that will finally “Make us Happy”. I think it’s useful to let the mind do that, let those ideas soak for awhile, and chase the ones that reoccur and develop into patterns or “dreams”.
It’s important to realize that the mind, once we acheive that dream will most likely get tired and want to move onto something else. Nothing will make us happy forever.
That’s OK, it’s the journey towards those dreams and the decisions we make along the way that make us who we are, not the destination.
So in the end, if you’re having trouble deciding whether to chase a dream or “buckle down and grow up”, go ahead and make a conscious decision to be a dreamer with the understanding that achieving those dreams isn’t the real point.
Dream, learn things, make new friends along the way while staying true to your existing commitments and the people you love. That, my friend, is the best way I know to be truly happy.