Thursday, July 22, 2010

Remembering what to forget

"…and that’s exactly how you make people forget - keep parsing the facts in half while folding in newer, harder to understand information until no one piece of data serves as a salient point anymore. Think of it as dispersant on a mental oil spill."

So this was John Mayer talking about BP's oil spill* in the Gulf of Mexico, but this resonated for me in so many other contexts, most prominently in the area of work/life.

Remember when you were a kid and you dreamed big? You dreamed of becoming a ballerina, or an astronuaght, or a prince/princess. Some parents may have reinforced these dreams - assuring you that anything was possible if you beleived in yourself - other parents may not have been so supportive. Whatever the case, you were sure as sure that when you were a big person you'd live out these dreams becuase dreams are possible.
And now you're all grown up and living that dream, right? No? I thought as much. Yes, it's true that as a child you really are just dreaming - it would be pretty tight in Windsor Castle if all the little girls in the world really grew up to become princesses. But what about the dreams you dreamed in high school, or at university, or even last year? How many of those did you fulfil? How many did you even honestly believe you could succeed at? Not many, eh?
Why? Probably not because you tried and didn't succeed. Probably more because you didn't even get around to trying, after someone told you you couldn't succeed. You see, that's how it is with success - there's all these people out there throwing reasons at you as to why you can't or won't reach that goal, telling you why you just aren't capable enough, imploring you to look down the safe road or the easy path. And eventually you forget that once upon a time you really could do anything, and the small child inside you gives away their fantastical dreams in favour of a 'more practical' profession.
But it doesn't have to be that way. Yes, we need lawyers, accountants, doctors, and the like. And I'm sure there's someone out there for whom that is honestly their dream career. But if it's not yours, why do it? Why spend such a large part of your life turning up to classes, cramming for exams, and sucking up to the big boss if in the end all it's going to get you is a pat on the back and a lot of regrets? Forget it. It's not worth the hastle.
Instead, take that big bowl of BS everyone's been filling with reasons you can't succeed, toss it down the sink, and forget about it. Then figure out what you really want to do, what really excites you here and now, and figure out how to do it. Maybe it won't work. But maybe it will and you'll be the next big self-made millionaire. Or at the very least you'll be doing what you love.

*I know, Wiki! But it does have quite the extensive explaination.

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