Saturday, February 10, 2007

Happiness and Risk

There are people who have theories about capabilities and reasonability. Specifically theories about categorizing what we should be capable of doing and those other things which are beyond our reach. Conventional wisdom says that a large part of happiness is found in being successful at the things we endeavor to do. The logic then says that if we reach beyond our grasp, more than not, we will fail to obtain happiness. So the wisdom advises us to do only those things that are within our reach.

There is no doubt in my mind that there is some truth in the wisdom, but not the whole of the truth. If we accept the definition of happiness as feeling good about ourselves, than the logic makes sense. But isn't happiness so much more than that? I cannot help but reflect on my past and regret those times when I accepted this wisdom and stayed within my reach. Indeed I experienced the satisfaction of achieving a goal, but I also felt regret that maybe I could have done more. I felt like I sold myself short, I didn't give it all I had. I sacrificed great dreams for earthly success and a feeling of happiness. This lingering disappointment I experienced ruined my happiness. Outwardly I was smiling and shaking hands and accepting praise, but inside I was pondering what I could have done if I risked failure.

The experiences of my past have shaped who I am today, and now I find that I cannot accept the wisdom laid out above. I can no longer stand to settle for less; to go only half way. I dream great dreams these days, I will not sell myself short. This has indeed led me to many failures, disappointments, and lack of earthly success, but now my disappointments do not have to do with half-heartedness or lack of risking failure. I still deal with criticism for reaching beyond my grasp, but I proudly accept it because I would rather risk great things and fail then settle for a life of mediocrity.