“When others demand that we become the people they want us to be,” rather than supporting our dreams

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Dec 18, 2016 “When others demand that we become the people they want us to be,” rather than supporting our dreams

All of us have dreams. For each dream we have, a person exists who is ready to try to dash that dream. That dashing effort is the other person’s trip, and needs not be any part of our dream.

One of my longtime dreams was to become my own boss sooner rather than later. I did that in 1998, and never looked back, despite our partnership agreement-drafting lawyer skeptically asking whether we were “actually going through with this.” Hell yeah we were going through with it, and we never looked back.

That is not to say that a person should go blindly in pursuing dreams, but does mean that a person might suffer dissatisfaction, stress, and neurosis to lost sight of those dreams and to try to live up to others’ expectations at the expense of living one’s own life. Dissatisfaction, stress and neurosis sometimes leads to behavior that gets people arrested and leads them to my door.

I previously blogged about everyone’s seeds for greatness. Here are some items to encourage following one’s own path in life:

– In 1968, Jim Morrison aptly told Lizzie James: “When others demand that we become the people they want us to be, they force us to destroy the person we really are. It’s a subtle kind of murder….the most loving parents and relatives commit this murder with smiles on their faces.”

J.K. Rowling was on welfare before publishing Harry Potter. She is astonished by her writing success.

– Despite his personal faults — plus his encouragement by example not to let those faults debilitate one from moving forward — Steve Jobs’s story shows that one does not need to pursue a “safe”, well-worn path to life and career success. A college friend once LinkedIn-posted an article criticizing Jobs’s Stanford speech as being too out of touch with reality, but even that friend followed his own dreams of starting his own technology company.

– Steve Jobs in significant part fascinates me for having turned East as a key part to his personal development. As but part of that story, in 1974, at around 19 years old, Jobs went to India searching for my teacher Ram Dass‘s teacher Neem Karoli Baba, only to learn that Baba had died shortly before Jobs’s arrival. All was not lost, though. Jobs became close friends with Baba’s student Larry Brilliant, he pursued meditation, and read the essential Zen Mind/Beginner’s Mind by the essential Shunryu Suzuki Roshi, and found his Buddhist teacher Kobun Otogawa, who tragically died nine years before Jobs died, while Kobun tried saving his drowning daughter.

For me, my defining moment in integrating Buddhist and taijiquan principles into my life began in 1991 — six years after my first visit to Japan — when I met my key peace mentor Jun Yasuda, a Nichiren Buddhist nun who at the time was fasting and praying for peace across the White House during Gulf War I.

– Any time a person wants to conform, s/he may wish to listen to Malvina Reynolds’ “Little Boxes“, which Pete Seeger performed particularly well.

Deeply thanking and bowing to Jim Morrison, Steve Jobs, Malvina Reynolds, and everyone else who encourages me always to follow my dreams.


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