|Do It.Let's Get Off Our Buts|
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When you get there, there is no there there. But there will be a pool.
This section will make more sense when you've had a chance to live the first five sections for a while. In following the suggestions in those parts, you either have achieved your Dream, or are well on the way to achieving it.
The question arises, "What next?"
That's what this section is about. "There are two things to aim at in life: first, to get what you want; and after that, to enjoy it," wrote Logan Pearsall Smith.
"Only the wisest of mankind achieve the second."
As Miss America, my goal is to bring peace to the entire world and then to get my own apartment.
When your Dream is almost realized--but not quite--it's time to choose another goal.
The goal may remain the same, but the quantifying factors are raised. The goal to conduct an orchestra remains intact, for example, but the yearly salary increases from $100,000 to $200,000. Or, the goal may change entirely.
"Life affords no higher pleasure than that of surmounting difficulties," wrote Samuel Johnson, "passing from one step of success to another, forming new wishes and seeing them gratified."
Just as the comfort zone knows no limits in keeping you from fulfilling your Dreams, it also has no limits on how much it can expand. Our goals may move from one area of life to another, or they may stay in the same area. In 1980, Sting said, "Given the choice of friendship or success, I'd probably choose success." He got it. In 1990, he chose again: "Friendship's much more important to me [now] than what I thought success was."
Now that you know that all the techniques in this book work, you can be truly bold in following your Dreams. Reread the book from the beginning. It will make a lot more sense. Do the exercises. Choose another Dream. Dream on.
A man is rich in proportion to the number of things which he can afford to let alone.
When you tell most people, "Nothing outside yourself is going to make you happy; you must make yourself happy," they nod approvingly, and more often than not think, "I'll make myself happy when I have a new house, lover, job, meditation blanket, etc."
The shock that takes place when someone realizes, "I have my Dream and I'm still not happy," can be either depressing or enlightening. Depressing, if one thinks, "This was the wrong dream. I need to find the right dream --then I'll be happy." Enlightening, if someone says, "Maybe my happiness does depend on me," and begins the journey.
"Not the fruit of experience," wrote Walter Pater, "but experience itself, is the end." Robert Townsend said it for our generation: "Getting there isn't half the fun--it's all the fun." Elizabeth Taylor has a needlepoint pillow in her living room. It reads: "It's not the having, it's the getting."
What's the true value of setting a goal and achieving it? It's not obtaining the goal, but what we learn about ourselves along the way. To get to our Dream we must be focused, disciplined, persevering, caring, worthy, excited, enthusiastic, and passionate.
What do we learn about ourselves? How to be more focused, disciplined, persevering, caring, worthy, excited, enthusiastic, and passionate. Goals come and go, dreams fade, but these qualities travel with us wherever we go.
"There is no end. There is no beginning," said Federico Fellini. "There is only the infinite passion of life."
This is our true wealth--the riches we take with us, the joy we carry inside, the support we learn to give ourselves, and the self-loving that flows as a natural by-product of that support.
There is only one success to be able to spend your life in your own way.
To the degree we can live without the things of this world, we are wealthy. The key word in that sentence is "live." I'm not talking about austerity or sacrifice. I'm talking about living.
When we know how easy it is to fulfill a Dream (easy compared to how impossible most people believe it to be), we know we can take it. Once we are free to take it, we are also free to leave it. "You never know what is enough," wrote Blake, "until you know what is more than enough."
Do not, however, turn the idea that you can live without many things into just another wonderful-sounding excuse for not pursuing your Dream. "The comfort zone hath power to assume a pleasing shape."
Go fulfill a few Dreams. Know you can do it. Have fun. Then decide what you can live without.
Is this madness? Sure. "You have everything but one thing," Zorba the Greek told his young friend, "madness. A man needs a little madness or else--he never dares cut the rope and be free."
Concerns for man and his fate must always form the chief interest of all technical endeavors. Never forget this in the midst of your diagrams and equations.
On the way to your Dream, others helped you--others whom you couldn't possibly repay. The old saying comes to mind, "Don't repay a kindness; pass it on."
After fulfilling a Dream or two (or twenty), we will be called to pass on some of what we have learned to others. Just as, "When the student is ready, the teacher appears," so, too, "When the teacher is ready, the student appears."
Go out and do, learn from the doing, then teach from the knowing. If you just read a lot of books on a subject, memorize a lot of platitudes, and set yourself up as guru, that's not teaching; that's deception.
When you know from experience, others will recognize it, and they will know to ask the right questions. And, as busy as you might be, you will stop and give them the right answers. Why? Their intention pulls it from you. Also, you'll be an even nicer person.
"The common idea that success spoils people by making them vain, egotistic, and self-complacent is erroneous," wrote Somerset Maugham. "On the contrary, it makes them, for the most part, humble, tolerant and kind. Failure makes people bitter and cruel."
Cast not ye pearls before swine--but it's noble to pass on a few gems to properly eager pearl divers.
We are here on earth to do good to others. What the others are here for, I don't know.
W. H. AUDEN
When people give to themselves--when they fulfill their own Dreams--they are filled to overflowing. The overflow has two interesting characteristics: (1) it is abundant, and (2) it can't be stored. What can one do with the overflow?
There's only one thing to do with it--give it away.
"Giving it away" is not standing on a street corner dispensing hugs. One gives of what one has. Whatever ability one has developed--in whatever area one has developed it--that's what is given.
Robert Ingersoll wrote at the end of the last century:
My creed is that:
Happiness is the only good.
The place to be happy is here.
The time to be happy is now.
The way to be happy is to make others so.
And there we have one of the great open secrets of life: giving to others gives us more than we give away. When people discover this, there's no stopping them. The idea that doing for others is a duty to be done reluctantly--like paying taxes, or picking seeds out of a watermelon--vanishes.
Giving--like fear, guilt, unworthiness, and all the rest--was put here for our upliftment.
Doing for others feels good.
Don't take my word for it. See what you think. DO IT!
There is more to life than increasing its speed.
The inner reflects the outer; the outer reflects the inner. What we learn from fulfilling Dreams in the outer world can be used for pursuing Dreams within ourselves.
After obtaining several material Dreams, you may wonder, "Where are these Dreams coming from?"
Important question. Seeking the answer to that question may begin an important inner quest.
"Try not to become a man of success," wrote Albert Einstein, "but rather try to become a man of value."
Life is short. Live it up.
Life is a game. Like all games, it's only fun when we "take it all seriously"--when we get lost in the illusion, when it seems devastatingly real.
If some butinsky stood over us while we were playing Monopoly, reminding us, "That's only paper; it's not real money. That's just plastic; those aren't real hotels. It's not a real jail they're going to send you to; it's just a square on a board," we'd throw him out of the room.
We want to believe the illusion is real, or else it wouldn't be any fun.
It wouldn't be any fun, either, if the competition weren't very good and the score weren't very close. Without challenges, life would be like playing tennis with a three-year-old. Lots of "victories," but little fun. George Leonard explains,
In terms of the game theory, we might say the universe is so constituted as to maximize the play.
The best games are not those in which all goes smoothly and steadily toward a certain conclusion, but those in which the outcome is always in doubt.
Similarly, the geometry of life is designed to keep us at the point of maximum tension between certainty and uncertainty, order and chaos. Every important call is a close one. We survive and evolve by the skin of our teeth.
We really wouldn't want it any other way.
He deserves Paradise who makes his companions laugh.
Among those whom I like or admire, I can find no common denominator, but among those whom I love, I can: all of them make me laugh.
W. H. AUDEN
As we're playing this game of life, something occasionally reminds us not to take it all too seriously. "Enjoy yourself," it says, "you'll never get out of this alive."
It's called humor.
"Humor is something that thrives between man's aspirations and his limitations," explained Victor Borge. "There is more logic in humor than in anything else. Because, you see, humor is truth."
Alice-Leone Moats described Philadelphia society in this way: "The parties all reminded me of the Gay Nineties--all the men are gay and the women are in their nineties."
Humor is truth, truth is humor.
Humor is probably most refreshing when we use it to look at ourselves.
"You grow up," said Ethel Barrymore, "the day you have your first good laugh--at yourself." Friederich Nietzsche wrote: "One is healthy when one can laugh at the earnestness and zeal with which one has been hypnotized by any single detail in one's life." (What other book in the world would have Ethel Barrymore and Friederich Nietzsche agreeing on something in the same paragraph?)
When things are going awful, terrible, horrible--it helps to remember that, in six months, you'll be telling this "tragedy" as an anecdote. You'll have your friends laughing hysterically about it. If it'll be funny then, it's funny now. By remembering that truth in the middle of the chaos, you can take a deep breath and say to yourself, "This is funny."
"Humor is emotional chaos," James Thurber explained, "remembered in emotional tranquility."
"Humor is an affirmation of dignity," said Romain Gary, "a declaration of man's superiority to all that befalls him."
We're all in this alone.
And so we come to the end of DO IT! But not really. Come back often--review the tools of achieving Dreams. Renew your passion.
Allow me to close with this from Guillaume Apollinaire--
"Come to the edge," he said.
They said, "We are afraid."
"Come to the edge," he said.
He pushed them . . .
And they flew.
'Tis God gives skill, But not without men's hands: He could not make Antonio Stradivari's violins Without Antonio.