The Big Lie: An Honest Conversation about Grasping Opportunities and Reality Checks

Posted on by Alyson Jones. Posted in Honest Conversations.

There is a great big lie out there, and nobody really wants to talk about it. Our North American society in particular, has groomed a whole generation of people with this lie. We look at “the American Dream” which promises that anyone can accomplish a dream if he/she works hard enough and tries hard enough. We are told we live in a land of opportunity, and if you are strong enough to grasp the opportunity then you can be anything you want to be and succeed. I believe strongly in grasping the opportunities in our lives, but I also believe that we need to pay attention to the reality checks and which opportunities are meant for us to pursue. There is truth and value in working hard to accomplish our goals. In order to achieve our goals we do need to pay attention to the opportunities in front of us. Opportunity is a core principal of the MORE philosophy but the lie is in telling our young people that they can be anything they want to be in this world. Hard work can pay off, but not everybody can be anything they want to be, nor should they be.

The true opportunity lies in understanding our strengths and assets and being real about what we have to contribute in this world, and what we need to develop in ourselves to accomplish this. The modern lie of ‘you can be anything you want to be” is just that, a false fable that can take you right to disappointment and disillusionment. This fable appeals to all of us as it tells us that anybody can get the prize, but we need to ask ourselves which prize are we seeking, why we want this prize and is this a realistic prize to pursue. It can also set us up to feel that we are a failure if we do not accomplish some magnificent goal or fantasy. We need to accept the reality checks in life, and be honest with ourselves and others. Although it sounds encouraging and politically correct we need to stop telling our young people that they can do anything they want in this world because not everybody can be anything they want to be! Finding our passion and purpose does not always match up to the fable or fairytale of being anything we want to be. In fact too much focus on what we want, rather than on what we have to give can keep us away from success and satisfaction.

There are many factors that influence success, and you are not in control of all of those factors. Not everybody is meant to be a rock star, nor is everybody able to be a successful CEO of a large company. Not every little girl grows up to be a ballet dancer, and not every little boy grows up to play professional hockey. We cannot be anything we want to be, but rather we can find our passion and find what we can truly contribute, and with hard work and realistic expectations we can achieve great things. These things are realties, not the fantasies of a young and romantic mind. Satisfaction and success do not necessarily come from being what you “want” to be, as this is a very childlike way of looking at things. Satisfaction and success come from allowing yourself to develop through honesty and awareness and then contributing what is within you. Not everyone has to be, nor should be pursuing dreams and fantasies.

Too many young people today are giving up before they have even tried as they fear that they cannot accomplish this fantasy. If they take themselves out of the game they do not have to live up to those expectations. There is a lot of pressure attached to this concept of being able to accomplish anything. Some people feel as if there is something inherently wrong with them if they are not doing exactly what they “want “ or “wanted” to do. So maybe we need to give our youth and ourselves a more realistic goal. Be who you are. Work to be the best you. Be open to growth and learning. Follow the things that interest and excite you. Prepare for the unexpected. Pay attention to the opportunities. Know your strengths and know your vulnerabilities. Life will have disappointments and you will be able to handle it. Learn from your mistakes. What you have to contribute is important. The relief of all of this is that who you are is enough. You have it in you to contribute your special spark to the world and live an exceptional life that is based in reality. A real life is a much more interesting and satisfying experience that trying to live up to a fantasy. There are things the world needs from you, rather than the focus being on what you want in the world. True satisfaction comes from meeting the needs in others and in the world rather than focusing on being and doing whatever you want in the world.