The Pursuits of Life are basically the pursuits that drives a life and gives meaning to it, these pursuits are divided into several parts that we will talk about it in the ascending order.
First of all, we will discuss what the civilized world dream is? that is life, liberty and pursuit of happiness. Why Happiness is the fundamental crux of modern society? whereas CONTENTMENT should be the ultimate goal.
Happiness and contentment are two different things, being happy and being at peace have totally different meanings. Some studies in psychology have also shed some light on this entire talk. So let’s talk about the first and lowest of all pursuits i.e.
The Pursuit of Happiness
Someone get a call from work that since its a snow day they don’t have to come in, or some kid played video games in spite of his migraine and beat the game with a high score so guess what? they’re happy! It doesn’t take much to be happy especially in small things whereas happiness in relations is difficult.
Getting your parents to be happy with you is very hard, making your wife happy… let’s leave that alone…okay, but anyway for yourself attaining happiness can be as simple as watching a movie, meeting some friends or going to your favourite restaurant, it doesn’t take much but you know what? It comes and it goes, you get bored again, frustrated again and you want to be happy again, so people keep going after this Drug of Happiness which keeps leaving them and doesn’t stay with them.
That’s the lowest of all pursuits so, when someone says I just want to be happy, I don’t understand what that means cause nobody is always happy, we have a huge course of emotions in life and they are all part of a healthy life. Happiness is just one of them.
If someone just pursues happiness they are actually in for a lot of disappointment, nobody can live in constant state of happiness, that’s not how it works, I am not saying that they will be depressed but life is about struggle too like when you are studying for finals or working out you are not happy but after getting desired results you will become happy.
The Pursuit of Cool
Pursuit of Cool means I am gonna blend in with everybody so nobody is gonna point at me and question about my dressing, my looks, my lifestyles or the people I hang out with. So, to avoid that, you wanna fit in and not be the object of anybody’s criticism, become cool like everybody else and that takes work. Those who are in high school, how you are dressed is really a big deal and actually, before taking your shirt and shoes out of that closet the thought goes through your mind that who’s gonna be commenting and making fun of you wearing these!
When you go shopping the decision to buy whatever clothes/shoes you buy actually a lot of it is driven by what a lot of people are going to think of you when you wear this. This is your pursuit of cool and it takes work to blend in, it’s easy to be the weirdo that everybody finds strange. A lot of people has to give themselves up, they have to pretend they are someone they are not just to fit in.
The Pursuit of Popularity
Someone who wants to stand out and be the coolest person there is, is going after Pursuit of Popularity. These people wanna be that everybody else wants to be friends with, the loudest one on the lunch table, making fun of everybody else before anybody else makes fun of them, everybody is scared that they are gonna be the next target so they’re like come under their way so they are not the next target.
It happens with adults too. They want to be most talked about and be the centre of attention for everybody so they post a picture, tweet something or make a video so that people are talking about them and every time the commentary starts going down they do something new that brings back the attention to them.
Pursuit of popularity is a strange thing that makes people humiliate themselves. For example in a music industry where an artist’s album went platinum, everybody is downloading their songs but if they are no longer popular they start getting into controversies or you know the tabloids about them at least those are popular because they are not popular by their talent anymore.
The Pursuit of Prestige
Prestige means someone who wants to associate themselves with something that’s very valuable, like someone telling people that he went to Harvard (he doesn’t tell them he went there on a weekend to pick up a friend) just to have his name associated with a prestigious institution as Harvard or wearing clothes of a big brand to associate their name with that brand and if that brand label is not there they wanna have the conversation with people forcing them to ask where did they get that? and then they say well, that’s Armani or something and everything from clothes to cars to people you are associated with.
People don’t take a selfie with someone because they wanna remember them, they click a selfie just so they can post it so other people may feel like they are more important because they are standing next to this person as it becomes a matter of prestige (if its just for them, its great but its usually more about letting other people know how awesome they are by association, not by accomplishment).
In Desi communities, when a person becomes a doctor, parents turn them into a trophy and tell everyone, you know my son is a doctor or someone wearing google badge everywhere to showoff they got a job there to let people know what they have accomplished, this is the desire to show others what prestige they have.
The Pursuit of Money
Those who are in pursuit of money don’t care about happiness, cool, or prestige, all they care about is money and they know how to make a lot of it. They are people wearing old t.shirt, ripped off jeans, driving some old car because they are making a million a month and you won’t know that homeboy has this amount of money because he is just doing his thing. He doesn’t care if his hairs makes him look he is homeless he doesn’t care cause he knows hows to do business and he is amazing at it and that’s all he ever thinks about, he thinks how he is gonna increase sell, expand his business, new house, do this, do that.
These people are incredible human beings, they don’t take a break and it takes more effort, grit and more pain to move ahead.
As we are moving up the ladder it is getting harder as it requires more and more work.
The Pursuit of Excellence
People with this kind of pursuit want to be at the top of whatever they do in life, they want to be not just a student but number one student in the class, not just a programmer but number one programmer in the company and likewise. They are never happy with themselves until they keep pushing themselves harder and harder, they pursue excellence in whatever they do, they compare themselves to the person they were yesterday, they know they could have done better, so they never sit back. They seem unaffected even with all those praise and admiration from people cause they know they could have done better. For instance, Michael Phelps wasn’t after prestige, he was after excellence so he kept pushing himself like a machine going forward, accelerating, never satisfied.
There are very few people with this kind of pursuit.
The Pursuit of Impact
People with this pursuit have an attitude like they don’t care what they get in return if they are making more money or they are number one or not, they want to do something that would benefit others with an approach of leaving a legacy as they have a limited time on this planet so they want to make an impact and leave a mark of their presence.
People with this approach comes to human welfare organization bearing major pay cut but they don’t care about money like doctors who make lots of money but going doctors without border worry about impact and such selflessness is very very rare. Incredible human beings like Nelson Mandela sacrificed himself for a greater cause. These people are way even above the people of excellence because excellence is their bi-product. To make that kinda impact they have to have that excellence in them.
Above that is the ultimate pursuit, that is the
The Pursuit of Truth
People with the ultimate pursuit of truth seek justice and there is no full justice in this world, it’s not possible but somehow they pursue it and it is the hardest thing to do. If a little of impact is created people get encouraged that pushes them further but when you work through an idea, the cause of justice, they may not see justice ever, how are they working towards something they have never seen? These are the most incredible, resilient kind of people. Once they believe in an idea they don’t care, they keep going. The Legacy of Christ and Muhammad was actually pursuit of truth, they cared about sharing the truth with people.
Now, you know why people of excellence are never satisfied? because every single one of us should be among the people of impact, thinking for others than their own self, we have more responsibility than we realize because we have more Potential to do better and prove our self and as we know the pursuits of life, let’s go through them one by one again;
- Happiness is just the side benefit, it comes when we choose the right pursuit.
- Being cool is lame like everyone else is a loser so we want to be one of them.
- Popularity, people who have no idea of their purpose in life, if someone is popular in their eyes, they are just the dumbest of them.
- Prestige is something that comes from God, homeless people may have prestige too, we just have the wrong definition of prestige, we are associating it with the wrong things using our materialistic approach.
- Excellence should be pursued by every one of us, we should keep pushing our self to do better with whatever we are doing. Especially youngsters, it’s not their time to waste, responsibilities come after marriage and kids, but right now they have the freedom to do their thing. The world is waiting for the impact they will have, they should be thinking about excellence and impact.They should realize their talent and use it to impact the world.
Realize that we should be working towards Contentment, we should have the best sleeping, best dietary, best exercising habits, if studying or working we need to be at the top of whatever we do in life.
When people see you they think I want to be like him whatever he does is awesome. These kinds of people will make an impact.
Parents usually push their kids to the pursuit of money and prestige, what about excellence and impact? who is going to push them to that? It’s time we change our Preferences to guide our kids better.
When you have a pursuit in life, it gives your life meaning and when it means something, it makes you happy. No matter how much music someone listens to or go hang out with friends or party, they always get bored, and not be happy with them self. So. the only solution to it is; they have to Internalize the Right Pursuit.
*This article was inspired by brother Noman Ali Khan.
Faiza Ahmed is an Insightful person, who forgets every little thing but remember details of centuries old incidents, careless, clumsy but a mindful life-liver, wants to make life simpler and understandable. Enough talking- I need a nap now.