Let’s talk about a game you might have never played, but most psychologists have. A game of a mouse in a maze. (Not sure why, but whenever mice are involved, psychologists always come to my mind :P)
In this game, your aim is to make the mouse go anywhere you want to. For doing this, you place little cubes of cheese (just a tom & jerry thing, you can keep whatever mice like to eat) along the pathway you want the mouse to take. The mouse very happily would eat up the cheese along the way and go wherever you bribe it to.
Now a similar thing happens with humans. Think of the mouse as a human and the cheese, the bribe in the form of monetary rewards or your job salary. This reward can make the human take any path along the big maze called life just like the mouse. Think about this reward as your salary if you do a job, which can take you ways you wouldn’t have ever thought you would take. That is the cheese thrown in by employers or rather the system in general. It’s just that there’s one problem here. Unlike mice, humans don’t always live to eat cheese.
No, not at all. They want something deeper, something much more meaningful, a fundamental difference between animals and humans due to evolution. This search for a deeper meaning to everything often conflicts with the hunger for mere cheese in humans and is a precise reason for the big question everyone faces in their lives. Should I do what I love, follow my dream career or should I just stick to my safe, constant supply of the limited amounts of cheese from time to time?
To do what you love, to follow your dreams, not everyone has the guts to make it happen. A majority of the people do what they think will give them a secure life and yearn for security. They just don’t want to take risks. Have a stable job, get married, have kids, ensure your kids get a stable education and job and so on. That has been the “Story of my life” for most of the human population.
But the thing to be noted here is that most of the human population is mediocre, in the sense that they live mediocre lives, both in terms of material as well as not so material aspects. Sure they may have stability but being a salaried employee your entire life……well, then you just got to be satisfied with the mediocrity of your life. Be happy to be the average Joe!
Now there is nothing fundamentally wrong in this. Yearning for stability and wanting mere salary as a bribe to forget your dreams, to forget something that makes your blood boil, something that makes your nerves go wild, something that triggers the dopamine in your brain, something that stimulates the reward system in your brain, well is just your life decision. Entirely depends upon you. What also depends upon you is whether you choose to take the road less travelled.
That percentage of the human population which the other majority of the human population looks up at is there because they have taken the road less travelled. It is because they have taken risks. It is because they have dared to dream. And not just dream, they have made the day and night one be where they are.
There goes a saying, “If you want something you never had, you have to do something you never did.” Following your dreams is not easy. And some people do get messed up along the way. But think about what Steve Jobs used to say facing the mirror every day when he woke up. “If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?”