Ive recently come across a blog entry of Paulo Coelho about “The 3 Symptoms of Killing our Dreams”.
As I was reading the essay, I agreed and was inspired with everything he said until I read the 3rd symptom. It made me think twice about its validity for me, at least philosophically. Heres what it said:
“And, finally, the third symptom of the passing of our dreams is peace. Life becomes a Sunday afternoon; we ask for nothing grand, and we cease to demand anything more than we are willing to give. In that state, we think of ourselves as being mature; we put aside the fantasies of our youth, and we seek personal and professional achievement. We are surprised when people our age say that they still want this or that out of life. But really, deep in our hearts, we know that what has happened is that we have renounced the battle for our dreams – we have refused to fight the Good Fight.”
I was a bit bothered by his bold statement. What is he saying? That those mothers who have given up dreams to rear children up have refused to fight the good fight? Or those fathers who labor 24/7 in blue collared jobs in order to feed their families have renounced the battle for their dreams? Sometimes, ones dreams may not be in line with what the world calls and needs us to do – but does that mean one has refused to fight the good fight? Should we put them one on the category of “people who have renounced their dreams and didnt fight the good fight” and perceive them as quitters and throw a pitiful eye on them? Sometimes renouncing ones dreams is not even an act of cowardice but an act of selflessness – because one knows there are things more important than his own desires.
“When we renounce our dreams and find peace, we go through a short period of tranquility. But the dead dreams begin to rot within us and to infect our entire being.
We become cruel to those around us, and then we begin to direct this cruelty against ourselves. That’s when illnesses and psychoses arise. What we sought to avoid in combat – disappointment and defeat – come upon us because of our cowardice.
And one day, the dead, spoiled dreams make it difficult to breathe, and we actually seek death. It’s death that frees us from our certainties, from our work, and from that terrible peace of our Sunday afternoons”
Does this really apply to all? Is he saying that those who do not fight for their dreams will end up being bitter and cruel? Does our life revolve around solely on our dreams? Arent people different? There are those who are ambitious and find contentment in success and there are those who are easily content and find happiness in simple moments. Both are good but neither one is better than the other.
What is it really in dreams that we are so desperate to achieve them? Is it the dream itself or is there something common that we all desire hidden behind different dreams? Will fulfilling our dreams really make us happy?
What is wrong with Sunday afternoons? What is wrong with asking for nothing grand? What is wrong with simplicity? More importantly, what is wrong with being at peace with how life turned out to be? Is it not finding peace the ultimate dream? Some people have had their dreams come true and yet are far from the rays of peace. Will fulfilling our dreams make us really happy? At the end of the day, when you’ve done and achieved so much, do you not wish for that peaceful Sunday afternoon? I think more than dreams, we all share the common desire of finding peace and happiness. Pursuing our dreams may be an avenue to finding happiness but it is not the only way. There is more to life than ambition and dreams. There ais love, there is responsibility, there is compassion and there is finding peace where ever point you are in your life. Not everyone will fight for, can fight for and will reach their dreams. But we can always find peace and happiness in the end. And that I believe is what we all must strive to achieve.
Authors note: I know Coelo’s main point really is to keep fighting for our dreams or at least try to reach them regardless if we fail or not. Its actually a beautiful message. My point I guess is just this – do not let dreams own you. They can make you vain, corrupt or bitter. Instead, own your dreams and be at peace with the choices you make in your life.