Some dream shouldn’t be followed

Banksy - Follow Your Dreams // Cancelled

I only recently discovered Mark Manson. I’m sure theres quite a few of you guys who will be thinking geez I’ve been reading his stuff for ages. But I can’t even remember how I came across him. One of a whole load of posts he wrote is the controversial “Why Some Dreams Should Not Be Pursued.

Mark breaks it down with decent examples and some deep thoughts behind it and the self help industry.

We are all beaten over the head that we should always pursue our dreams, always follow our passions, always turn reality into what we believe will make us happy. Most marketing and advertising is based on this. The majority of the self help industry pushes this. And with the rise of Tim Ferriss and “lifestyle design” obsession of this generation, it has become a borderline religion…

I know what he means, the lifestyle business has grown and grown.

There is this conflict I have in my mind. Its a conflict between community (doing what people think you should do) and individualism (doing what your dreams says). I don’t buy all this self help crap but I do want to be happy (heck who doesn’t want to be happy?). When I say happy I don’t mean this crazy Hollywood style happiness you see on TV or they shovel down your throat any chance they can. Be Happy / Buy are shit… Roll the Fight club ikea montage.

Back to Mark…

But it’s not just materialism, the “follow you dreams” mentality dominates our relationships as well. It’s only in the last couple centuries that romantic love has been championed as the sole prerequisite for a happy relationship.

Lonely? Just fall in love and then live happily ever after! Duh.

It’s reached the point where practically all of our pop culture is based upon the idea that romantic love is a justification for just about any neurotic behaviour.

Another conflict… (damm Mark is right on the buzzer) My dating… I enjoy it but I do want to find someone special. When I say special I don’t mean perfection, I mean someone I would spend the rest of my known life with. Its important to me (yeah how selfish of me) but having gone through a divorce, I’m not a believer in there’s one person for everyone (something which the media seems to push down our throats). So on an individual level someone who connects with myself. Don’t get me wrong I do sometimes think about what it would be like to have someone very different (don’t ask, i’m not telling)

Some friends say why go out dating, if you just leave it it will happen. I say balls, and I actually kinda of enjoy it. As a friend who turns out reads my blog said, Its part of you… When she said this, I was kinda of thinking maybe shes got a point. I like meeting new people and enjoy dating, so it works. From an individual level again, its all good times. From a community point of view its a little different.

Maybe this is another reason why I’m writing this book, the life & opinions of a modern geeky gentleman… Putting the dream aspect on paper rather than in reality.

Mark’s example of the young woman from New York City who had the recurring sexual fantasy was certainly the icing on the argument. Some of our dreams should never happen and its really important to remember this (this story has to be read as its not very safe for work).

Losing control in reality is dangerous. Despite how arousing it may be, one could get hurt or killed. It’s only possible to lose control and stay safe within the confines of one’s own mind.

The reason not every fantasy should be pursued is because fantasies never have negative repercussions. Reality does. You’re able to feel fear and terror without ever actually being in danger. You can feel excitement and adrenaline without ever actually risking anything. You can experience the joy and pride of a great success without actually suffering through the hard work.

Absolutely! I wanted to be big name DJ many decades ago. Traveling the world playing the music I love and being paid for it. I guess its like the rockstar thing Mark talks about. But it was about 16 when I realised the reality of the pursuing such a dream. The daily drudgery, playing in crap venues, playing crowd pleasing tunes just to make it up the DJ ladder. Screw that…! As Mark says I might have been in love with the result not the process. Seriously settling down and getting into the internet was one of the best moves I’ve done.

I don’t like to climb. I just want to imagine the top

The process and the details is whats missing from our dreams. In actual fact thats the fun part… In my great BBC job, the details all matter and the result isn’t the be all and end all… But maybe somewhere in this messy post, I can mentally link my dating with the process and details.

Next time someone says just fall in love, maybe I should say… “don’t you see I’m in the process of doing so and loving it” *smile*

Maybe I’ve fallen in love with the process of falling in love, not the result and actually this is perfectly natural? (Don’t all scream at me at once…)

Author: Ianforrester

Senior firestarter at BBC R&D, emergent technology expert and serial social geek event organiser.