I have been doing some pondering lately, mostly about five-years plans and ‘perfect’ days, and I think I may be chasing the wrong rabbit.
Society has convinced us that we’re meant to run in circles chasing a prize agreed upon as ‘sufficiently rabbit-like’ and we spend our formative years in anticipation of running that race. Once we’re let loose on the track we do our best to run the way we’ve been taught. If we succeed or fail… we just line up and do it all over again.
So why don’t more of us start chasing the real rabbits when given the chance? (Only one of the dogs in the photo swapped targets).
Because no one else does.
We are all individuals, unique little snowflakes in a blizzard of humanity, but most of us aren’t meant to live individually. We survive and thrive because of the people around us (and sometimes in spite of them), but it’s finding acceptance in a group that really motivates our little lizard brains. We chase the fake rabbits because the crowd only cheers when we’re running in circles.
Think of the last time you were really proud of an accomplishment at work, or school, or in your personal life. Were your friends also proud? Your family? There’s a good bet that someone you value was doing the happy dance right along with you.
Now think of how you would have felt if no one else was cheering.
Sure, we’re told we should only please ourselves and that living our lives to please others will only end in Doom, but do you know anyone who has managed to please themselves without pleasing others? (We’re not including sociopaths here, for obvious reasons.)
That’s why experts tell you to exercise with a buddy and to surround yourself with positive people, to find friends that emulate the traits you’d like to have. They’re the kind of people who will celebrate your shared milestones, because pleasing yourself isn’t enough.
Maybe I don’t need to focus on finding just the right rabbit– maybe I need to focus on finding people who have already found theirs.