Aside

Avoiding Depression

Don’t we all have an aspiration?

I believe we all do.  Perhaps many.
But we can deny them. Sometimes we ignore them, to believe they really don’t exist. Sometimes we allow them to be, but refuse to act because we think the aspiration is unrealistic. Most often, we see our dreams or aspirations as something we “cannot” pursue.  Pursuing that aspiration would perhaps mean tough choices. We might, for example, need to downsize from our big house and expensive cars and right-size our lifestyle to match the new economy. We would perhaps need to leave that corporate job with its health care, even though it is not fulfilling. We would perhaps need to be bigger than what our friends or partner think we are. Perhaps it would mean we face our fundamental fear of failure.

And here’s the rub in that. The gap between what we are doing today, and our aspirations creates tension. And the tension can be a source of deep creativity. Or, we can leave that gap open. But the longer that gap is left open and the wider it is, the more depression can move into that space.

Serving the aspiration means we ultimately allow ourselves to be free. It’s a choice to serve it or not.

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2 Responses:

  1. Swarna Podila. October 19, 2010 at 11:41 pm  |  

    I couldn’t agree with you more! I was just reading an article on Yahoo! yesterday (http://finance.yahoo.com/career-work/article/111055/the-corner-office-and-a-f…) and was thinking about aspirations and the number of sacrifices/compromises (by the aspirer and their near-and-dear) that have to be made to get there! It is easy to say (or read the article/stories), but so hard to execute. However, the happiness derived from the fulfillment is worth every pain.Thanks for wonderful message, Nilofer.

    Reply
  2. Nilofer Merchant. October 20, 2010 at 12:19 am  |  

    I have this sense that when we start out, our aspiration and our being are the same. Somewhere along the way, we can drift away from listening to our aspirations to guide us.

    Reply

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