Dr. Brené Brown said (and I’m paraphrasing here) that we live in a society of scarcity. In other words, nothing is EVER good enough. Fill in the blank with the thought that runs through your mind…. “I am not _______ enough! If I was (or had it) THEN I would be happy!” So many of us feel like the hamster on a wheel always running for something and not getting to our desired result. That is not to say this is a metaphor for losing weight – it can be anything. You may want to have more money, travel, experiences, time, opportunities, beauty, health, love, friends, family… whatever!
Now I’m not saying it’s wrong to have ambition or goals or dreams. Nothing feels more awesome then pursuing a passion you feel in your heart. But what if you don’t have one or feel that strongly about anything? Maybe you are surrounded by people who are constantly on the move and feel like you are standing still or worse... being left behind. Or perhaps you feel "less than" because you may not be moving as fast or as ambitious as those around you. Or maybe you had some sort of tragedy that set you back, all you are trying to do is survive, and don’t even have time to even think about following your dreams/passions.
I know for myself, I am surrounded by family and friends that NEVER seem stop running. They are like Formula One Race Cars and here I am feeling like I’m a Golf Cart. They never make me feel bad, but I look at them and say "What's wrong with me? Why don't I have ambition like that?" Not that I am unhappy where I am in life. I am very grateful actually. I have a great family, a nice house, a great job, a new car, and am in good health. But compared to these family members/friends, I feel like I should be doing something more – pursuing bigger dreams like solving World Hunger or something. Then one day I was listening to the radio and I heard someone say, “When you’ve had cancer, you realize that a Bucket List is overrated. Experiencing and appreciating what you have every day is what’s important.”
That phrase made me feel better. Everyone has to do what they feel is right in their heart. If someone wants to win the Super Bowl, aspire to be President the United States, be a billionaire by the age of 30, or maybe even solve World Hunger . . . they should try and do so of course! But if that is not what is in YOUR heart, then appreciating what is around you right now is perfectly okay too. It does not mean you are “less than”.
You may not have the job of your dreams, but you get to enjoy your children every day. You may not have gotten the biggest promotion, but you do enjoy the people that you work with. You may not look like a supermodel, but you have fun going to Yoga Class with your friends. You may not have travelled the world, but you love looking at the flowers you planted in your garden. You may not be the most beautiful person in the world, but you get to laugh and have fun with your spouse every day. See what I mean?
One thing I notice when I see my ambitious family/friends is that they never seem to be able to relax or enjoy what’s around them. I’ve heard this is called “Destination Disease”. They are so focused on where they want to go, they do not see - experience - appreciate the good currently going on in their lives. Even when they reach their “Destination” so to speak, they are happy for a little while but then soon enough they are searching for their next ambition to conquer.
You’ve heard the saying, “Keep your eyes on the prize”, right? And it is a very good saying. BUT…. To truly enjoy life, perhaps one eye should be eye on the prize and the other eye should be on all the good that is happening around you too.
Try not to wait to celebrate life when you’ve reached your “destination”. Try and also enjoy even the little things that currently happening and you may be happier for it.
Most people know this classic song, but I thought it was pretty apropos for this post: