It is not in the pursuit of happiness that we find fulfillment, it is in the happiness of pursuit.
What is pursuit?
When I looked it up on Google, this is what I found:
Pursuit is “the action of following or pursuing someone or something.”
Synonyms include: striving toward, quest after/for, search for
What are you pursuing?
Better yet, are you pursuing anything?
People pursue happiness, success, and wealth. They pursue the American Dream. Or they pursue inner peace. Are these the right things to pursue? I suppose you could argue either way.
A few weeks ago, I wrote a note to myself in my journal:
“Am I pursuing safety, or am I willing to take risks and to be dangerous to live a life that matters?”
If I’m honest, I pursue safety, and this has been my pursuit most of my life.
When I was a little kid, I was the cautious one. My brother and my best friend (both named David) were the adventurous ones. They were willing to go off the high dive. They were willing to swim to the bottom of the pool. They weren’t afraid to do anything. Me on the other hand, I was chicken. I remember crying when my swim teacher tried to get me to go off the low diving board. I was absolutely terrified I would drown in the deep end of the swimming pool.
Sometimes I wonder if my childhood tendencies to avoid danger traveled with me down the road into adulthood.
I still seek the safe choice more often than I take a chance on doing something that might be dangerous.
I pick the safe choice when it comes to my investments, my career steps, and in other areas of my life.
Am I missing out because of this tendency – this desire – to stay safe?
I don’t know about you, but I want to live a life that matters. I want to make a difference, and I want to bring glory to God by the choices I make and the actions I take each and every day.
On this day when we celebrate the life of Martin Luther King Jr., I thinks it’s safe to say that MLK did not pursue safety, and he lived a life that matters.
The only place we will really find safety is when we are in the arms of God and when we are following Him.
Chuck Swindoll said it well, “The world has changed and it’s going to keep changing, but God never changes; so we are safe when we cling to Him.”
Finding safety in God doesn’t mean we were meant to avoid taking risks. In fact, I think there is a certain aspect to risk taking that gives us the opportunity to fulfill our purpose. I’ve mentioned it here before, and it’s worth mentioning again. Several years ago, sociologist Tony Campolo responded to a survey taken by people in their nineties. Campolo concluded that the survey respondents which they had taken time to reflect more, to risk more, and to take actions that would leave a legacy.
I’m not in my nineties yet. There is still time for me to live differently. I want to make a difference even if it means doing something a little dangerous.
In his commencement speech to the class of 2014 at Maharishi University of Management, Jim Carrey challenged graduates to take a risk:
“Fear is going to be a player in your life, but you get to decide how much. You can spend your whole life imagining ghosts, worrying about your pathway to the future, but all there will ever be is what’s happening here, and the decisions we make in this moment, which are based in either love or fear.
So many of us choose our path out of fear disguised as practicality. What we really want seems impossibly out of reach and ridiculous to expect, so we never dare to ask the universe for it. I’m saying, I’m the proof that you can ask the universe for it — please! (applause) And if it doesn’t happen for you right away, it’s only because the universe is so busy fulfilling my order. It’s party size! (laughter)
My father could have been a great comedian, but he didn’t believe that was possible for him, and so he made a conservative choice. Instead, he got a safe job as an accountant, and when I was 12 years old, he was let go from that safe job and our family had to do whatever we could to survive.
I learned many great lessons from my father, not the least of which was that you can fail at what you don’t want, so you might as well take a chance on doing what you love.”
I love these words. If you’re like me, your fear of failure is keeping you on the safe path. Perhaps, it’s time to take a leap of faith so you can do something that matters.
(One thing worth noting, pursuit implies going after something or someone with all you have. Whatever you are pursuing won’t just be handed to you. You have to go get it!)
Are you missing out on something because your pursuit is too safe? What can you do about it today?
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