To follow your dreams, or to half-ass them? Yes, that is the question we must ask ourselves today. This is perhaps the most important question you will ever ask yourself. For if you are not the architect of your own life, then who will be?
I am at a crossroads right now, personally. I can see two roads emerging like a Robert Frost Poem. When I think about my job this year, this has easily been the most frustrating year of my life. Allow me to rephrase that. Frustrating is optimistic framing, since it hurts me to think that I might actually hate my life. I have been at times miserable in my job. I have lashed out several times this year in different ways, something incredibly uncharacteristic for me.
I have lived abroad for 3 years of my life, and by nature I am an adventurous person. But I am in a career where I will be rewarded for stability and staying at the same institution. Once I get in somewhere good, I can move up the ladder and watch the paychecks get gradually bigger. With little threat of me getting fired. Stability. Stability. Stability.
I have two options: I can go red pill all the way or I can swallow the pill halfway down and choke on it for a bit, still wondering if it will go all the way down or want to come back up. I can zombie on at a job that I half care about and often don’t want to wake up for. Or I can burn all bridges of a past life and pour all of my energy into a business that I have been dreaming up for the past year, and just go full tilt at it. Follow a dream. Realize that I am 26, and this passion and energy I have for an idea might be my chance. The chance I’ll always wish I took.
Or I can suffer during the day at a my normal job, and try to make the business work on nights and weekends and back out of my normal job when things seem a bit more secure. The standard route. Use my liberal arts degree that I paid an arm and a leg for. Pay off my damn student loans. This way, things won’t seem so scary. I won’t have to jump off a cliff, so to speak.
On the other hand, no one ever became great by playing it safe.
Just two days ago I picked up a classic book that I should have read a long time ago: Think and Grow Rich. (Kindle version is 99 cents on Amazon, just an FYI). One of the main tenants of the book is that if you want to be great, you must indeed burn all bridges to your past life and ways of thinking in order to do it. Your old job, most of your old friends, they tie you to a previous you, the mediocre you, and you must leave them behind if you want to be something great.
To be honest, in my current mindset this is scary to me. But I’m actively trying to eradicate that mindset. Forces within me fight a battle. It is security vs. adventure. Old vs. new. Past vs. Future. Sheep vs. Wolf. Boredom vs. Loneliness. Stability vs. freedom.
* * *
Just as I have been poring over this thought, Samseau wrote a timely post on ROK about one of the Godfathers of the Manosphere, a fellow named Pook. Having discovered the manosphere just last year, I had never heard of Pook, but I was instantly struck by how much his writing coincides with my own thought process at this crossroads in my life, as the red pill tries to work it’s way down my esophagus.
I am going to quote Pook at length here. If you have already read this post you can scroll down to read my final analysis. Also check out the original post.
“Two paths in love and life. Live your dreams or live other people’s dreams. One path is HARD. The other path is EASY. One path leads to SECURITY. The other path leads to FREEDOM.
Permit me, for this paragraph, to use the analogy of money to love and life. We know how rich people live and what they drive. And let us assume, for this paragraph, that all people want what the rich have. There are two ways (in this paragraph at least) to obtain it. One is to buy the super cool car, big house, and everything else on bad debt. The other way is to obtain the assets and wealth to actually buy them. One way is EASY. The other way is HARD. One way requires little to no risk. The other takes a lot of risk (obtaining wealth and assets takes courage to go out and create. Bad debt does not). By going into bad debt, you end up literally working for those who lent you the money. And you know what? The world encourages you to get into bad debt. You can easily get a loan on a house you cannot pay off within 30 years. And look in your mailbox. Is that another pre-approved credit card? It’s the third one this week. There are lots of people who ’look rich’ but they are in major debt. I ask you, ‘Are they free?’ They will be working for the bank and car companies to repay the debt with most of the days from their life.
In the same way, young men do the same for women. They look ‘rich’ because they have the women and can enjoy them, but what was the price they had to pay for it? Whose dreams are they following? And because of that choice, who is he working for? Both the seducer and nice guy work for the women’s dreams as they seem to have none of their own. It is the price for security. And just like bad debt, the world seems to want you to take this EASY path. Movies exemplify this thing called ‘love’ that you must sacrifice your dreams to. Pop songs are modern prayers to the Woman Goddess, to satisfy her and your addiction to female praise (which, today, we label as male ‘love’).
Let me show a chart to illustrate the point.
Pook drags a display up onto the stage.
Turn on the light, please. Thank you. This, gentlemen, is what I call the Security Path, the easy path that is default in 90% of young males:
Time Difference in the Security Path
Girl: Has girlfriend, multiple girlfriends.
Friends: Hang out with old buddies.
Job: OK job. Steady paycheck. Pays the bills.
Family: Loves you.
Girl: No girl or same old girl.
Friends: Same friends.
Job: Same or similar job. Promoted perhaps.
Family: Loves you.
Pook hits the chart with his pointy stick.
In both current and later states, his family and friends are pleased with him. After all, he has a girl. He has his buds. He has a steady job that more than provides. And his family loves him. After all, he repeated exactly what his Dad did. So what more could he want?
Now scroll your eyes over to the ‘later’ side. He will one day wake up and realize he is now ‘average’ in life. He has not grown at all during the time difference. He is what he was with just an aged rotting body. Where is the dream?
All right guys, bring out the next chart.
Time Difference in the Freedom Path
Current Girl: No girl.
Friends: Left many behind.
Job: Transitional. Sometimes jobless.
Family: Thinks he will become a loser.
Girl: Has girl (or girls) who likes his life and him. (Life gets richer because she is with him because of the dreams he embraced, not to be a mere workhorse.)
Friends: New friends. (Often smarter, cooler, better people).
Job: Got the job or made the business/investments he always wanted.
Family: Often despises him for his success.
Pook tapped with his pointy stick.
Here, he seems like a loser currently. Yet, he wins in the end. It is painful and hard to not go for the nearest girl but rather for the girl who likes what you like. (Note: why is so much attention on obtaining the girl but neglecting ourselves? The answer should be obvious.)
Look at his friends! He had to leave them behind. It is painful for sure. But he made new friends which helped develop himself into a better character.
Oh, and there is the job. He was transitional. He was trying out different jobs. He was starting businesses.He was making mistakes. The Security Path is scared of making mistakes. In fact, the Security Path praises itself because it is mistake-free! But in the end, the Freedom Path gets to work in his job of choice.
What I find particularly noteworthy is how there is the frustration that starts early in the Freedom Path, it vanishes over time. However, in the Security Path, the initial pain is not there but accumulates over time. The poor soul either suffers or lies to himself: i.e. “I have done the honorable path.” But you did not honor your dream and so committed treason against your Gift.”
* * *
The quote that struck the biggest chord with me was the very first part:
Two paths in love and life. Live your dreams or live other people’s dreams. One path is HARD. The other path is EASY. One path leads to SECURITY. The other path leads to FREEDOM.
Bam. That’s right where I am at.
The question gets even harder, than, however. Okay, so I should live my dreams. What are my dreams? Parents would say to find a good girl and an honest job and have a family. Five year old me would tell me to go play baseball. John Lennon would say to make lots of music. The PUAs would say to go forth and have lots of sex with lots of women.
But none of those are your dream. So wtf is your dream? How do you find it?
I’m not sure, but I do know this: it’s not easy to find it. It takes trial and error and failure and fate and who fucking knows? But it’s only possible to find it if you seek it. It is, however, not possible to find your dream if you are scared to seek it. And that is the danger of not following your dream(s): if you don’t follow it, you will by default be living someone else’s dream. You will end up a grumpy old man, or you will rationalize, and find a way to say that what you lived was your dream, in spite of logic. The male rationalization hamster.