What if you got everything you ever dreamt of?

Published on Nov 19, 2020

Sometimes our dreams seem far away and almost unreachable. However, imagine that you've reached whatever goals you set for yourself, be it the dream house with pool and garden, the family with the healthy and adorable kids, the thriving startup or living abroad.

How do you imagine you'd feel once you got everything you ever dreamt of?

For a while, you might enjoy your accomplishments and new lifestyle. However, as humans we quickly get used to a status quo and then want to move on to the next thing. We are wired to strive, like solving challenges and setting ever-higher goals. As soon as the excitement is gone, we'll probably think of what's next.

What do you imagine you'd do once you got everything you ever dreamt of?

Maybe, you'd take some time off for. Then, you'd get bored and would want to do something useful, something that you enjoy. And if you're lucky to like your work, your back working in no time.

What if once you've realised your dream it turns out it doesn't satisfy you?

Chances are that once we've achieve a goal, we are disappointed. I know I have. Most people don't know what they want. How should we know, if we've never experienced what it's like to be [insert adjective or role, like famous, rich, a startup founder etc.] or have [insert things, like car, house etc.].

We imagine our dreams make us happy. We place a lot of expectations on the dream destination. What we forget is that we'll be the same person. We won't be happy all the time, we'll most likely feel frustrated, sad and angry just as much as today.

It turns out the question 'What if you got everything you ever dreamt of?' is the wrong question to ask. It assumes we'll be happy when we've realised a dream. However, if that were true all the successful people should be happy. But we know a lot of successful people who aren't happy.

The better question to ask is:

Why isn't what you have today good enough for now?

To finish, I'd love to share a poem from the New Yorker (2015). I first read it in Ryan Holiday's post. It's from an exchange from the writers Kurt Vonnegut (Slaughterhouse Five) and Joseph Heller who were at a glamorous party outside New York City.

As they are in the mansion of of the billionaire host, Vonnegut begins to tease his friend:

“Joe, how does it make you feel to know that our host only yesterday may have made more money than your novel Catch-22 has earned in its entire history?”

Joe said, “I’ve got something he can never have.”

And I said, “What on earth could that be, Joe?”

And Joe said, “The knowledge that I’ve got enough.”

What are you grateful for that you have and do now? What do you have enough of today?