Are you sure you want what you think you want? Here's how to recover your dream, and reclaim a bit of happiness
As little kids, we’ve all been asked at some point to answer the question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” Some dream of becoming Hollywood royalty, others dream of winning Nobel Peace Prizes. Our dreams, realistic or not, get shaped by our imagination, our parents, friends, teachers, and overload of media consumption. We all want our own version of the ‘American Dream’.
Have you ever had unrealistic expectations of how your life will go?
We live in a world where the ‘American Dream’ is prevalent and where celebrities set the standard for success. We are normal for having unattainable expectations for our lives. After all, we live in a culture that praises ‘workaholics’ and the ability to multitask twenty different things at once. We are not saying that having a high expectation for a job is a bad thing or that there aren’t people who attain the exact dream that they envisioned since being a young child. There are. We are merely saying that most people forget how to be happy if they do not get what they want. They often end up forgetting the basic reason why they wanted to pursue their dream in the first place and end up feeling like they are settling.
We often end up setting such high expectations that they become unachievable. We view our dream as something that can never be molded or reworked. We get so easily disappointed that we throw our enthusiasm out the window and give up on our dream entirely. We become scarred by it. We are not taught how to reshape our life when it doesn’t go our way or how to recover and renew our self-esteem as it relates to our work, when it shatters on the floor.
Obviously no one has all of the answers for how to be happy or how to find work that will make you the happiest but your attitude will shape a lot of how you view your life. Take a moment to envision how you want your life to go from this moment on. Think about the positive emotions that arise when you envision this life. Think about your senses. What does it look like? Taste like? Smell like? Ghandi once said, “Happiness is when your thoughts, your words, and your actions are in harmony with each other.” By imaging what happiness feels like to you, you realize that it doesn’t have to do with a specific story line. It may even be a feeling that you already have every day of your current life.
There are potentially hundreds of jobs that can make you happy if you only allow yourself to be open to them and stop expecting your dream to turn out a specific way in a specific role. When you do this, you can actually relax and enjoy your life as it occurs, instead of feeling constantly dissatisfied with what you are not getting out of it. You can let go and enjoy the ride.