I am one of those people who has a clear idea in mind of what I want from life. I don't always know exactly how to get there, and I don't always do the things I believe will get me closer to my vision. Over the past few months, several lights have gone off for me as I observe my behavior and notice the things I do that sabotage my own efforts.
One of those has been the realization that I have a bit of fear regarding success. I don't want to be driven to achieve things; I don't want to be spending all of my time working toward something and not enjoying the result. But when I take a look at the true vision I have for my life, I can see clearly that the drive to accomplish things is actually a distraction from what would really mean success for me. I lose focus on what is vitally important to me at the core of my being, because it's easier to work toward concrete, short-term, easily-defined goals. That these goals often do nothing to propel me forward can escape my notice when I am bouncing from one task to the next.
So where to all of these goals come from if they don't serve my vision for my life? Other people. Sure, my mind can come up with distractions and busywork to keep me treading water so I don't have to confront an irrational fear of getting what I really want, but it doesn't usually have to exert itself. Other people's vision for what I should be doing, for what they need, or for what life should be like can distract me from being aware of how my own vision quest is progressing.
And I want to be a part of other people's vision for lots of reasons: I want to make a difference. I believe in what they want for the world. I want to validate their ideas. I want them to be happy. I want to be valued. But the bottom line is, I often allow what I want most for my life to take a back seat in order to spend my time and energy on someone else's vision. Whether the other person's vision has merit or creates something good in the world is irrelevant at a certain point.
There can be something profoundly healthy about asking "What's in it for me?" In the past, I have thought of that as a selfish question. When people wanted to know what they would get out of something, I have often judged them. Now I am learning that there is nothing selfish in asking how my deepest, most heartfelt intentions will be satisfied by a certain decision or course of action. And when I look at it honestly, there is certainly no reason to fear following that vision.
Photo by Fishtail@Taipei