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Saturday, February 21, 2015

Let a Little Adventure into Your Life


I’m half way through reading the book “The Happiness of Pursuit” by Chris Guillebeau.

I really love the title of the book. Instead of the more common phrase “the pursuit of happiness”, which by the way is a phrase from the United States Declaration of Independence*, the title of the book turns it on its head and put it as “the happiness of pursuit”.

Just by reading the title of the book, something “clicked” in my head.

Suddenly, I understood why I still keep to the tradition of setting New Year resolutions, and why, from time to time, I keep setting impossible goals for myself. There was something about chasing after a specific goal that was very invigorating and exciting. Just dreaming about a big, hairy, audacious goal is thrilling by itself. When you see yourself making progress, that’s when things become doubly exciting.

Of course the author, Chris Guillebeau, does not call the dreams “goals”. Instead, he called the “thing” that you are chasing after a quest. His book had one and only one simple message: “Go on a quest. It makes your life more interesting and adventurous.”

Adventure comes in many forms. You can go visit every single country in the world, which is what the author did, or just decide to knit or crochet 10,000 handmade hats. You can circumnavigate the world’s ocean on a 38-foot sailboat, or you can cook a meal from every country for your family. The idea is to just think of a crazy idea, and go do it!

Reading the book makes me feel very much like going on a quest myself. It is the kind of book that is very, very dangerous. It incites you to dream.

Alas, from someone who has repeatedly made audacious goals for myself, and not achieving them at the end of the day, I have a different take about goal setting. I think that setting the goal is the easy part, putting in the effort to do it is a different thing entirely. Take running a marathon, for example. You have to train for the marathon first, and that involves running three times a week for 10 km, 20 km and longer and longer distances progressively. If you speak to the runners, while many talk about the thrill of completing the race, not many talk about the monotony that comes with the task.

Don’t take me wrong. I think it is good to dream, even better to dream BIG. As the book shows, so many people have dreamt and achieved their crazy ideas. However, if you do embark on a dream, be prepared that achieving it will be very boring, very tiresome, and you will want to stop. As Colin Powel puts it, a dream does not become reality through magic; it takes sweat, determination and hard work.




And with that scary advice, I will still say: This is a godamn good book! Read it, be inspired, and just go and embark on your dream. Better still, don’t read it, and still go and achieve your dream.

* The sentence from the United States Declaration of Independence states that: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
Credit: Determination image rom alainanelson.blogspot.com

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Hi, I would be very happy if you could leave some comments or words of encouragement!