It is not just a cliché, is it ? The grass apparently indeed appears greener on the other side. I know of single people who wish they were married, and married people who wistfully remember their bachelor days. You know busy executives with lots of money but no time who are looking for ways to get off the grid just so they can enjoy their wealth for a few days, and the world is replete with eager souls who have time on their hands and are trying hard to find out how to make a few bucks.
Think back to a moment when you really wished for something, and chances are it was framed strongly in the context of what you don’t have rather than as an extension of what you are fortunate enough to enjoy. And yes, we all are fortunate in our own ways. If you are reading this, to begin with you know how to read and write. And have access to a computer and the internet. And a curious mind, and some spare time – perhaps in the comfort of your home, office or an internet café. And the cognitive powers to discern and reflect. I could go on, but you get the drift – if we are honest with ourselves, for all that we may not have or still wish to have, we certainly have a lot. The glass is half full, and yes, the grass may be greener on the other side but we aren’t staring at it standing on a desert wasteland.
Don’t get me wrong – I recognize that the desire to better ourselves, the drive to strive for something more is what keeps us going as a human race after all. A hundred years ago, if horse and buggy carriages were good enough, we would never be traveling in cars or airplanes. From there to the other end of the century, where if Yahoo! was good enough, we would have no Google, to a large extent, dissatisfaction with the status quo and a quest to be better –whether driven by envy or aspiration- is what has propelled us a society to improve, innovate and live a life of unprecedented access to information, knowledge and convenience.
Yet, something is missing when our actions are driven solely by our desire to do better than the person next to us, or accumulate more than others have: we lose sight of our core values. In fact, we often don’t even give ourselves a chance to discover our core values. And therein lies the true loss, trying to score a goal – but on someone else’s playing field. Living life on our own terms is perhaps the best, if not the easiest, way to spend our limited time on earth. Innovation has always been driven by the need to build a mousetrap, not just in making a better mousetrap. A life that is driven by purpose and conviction that fulfils our own abilities and strengths is far more rewarding, perhaps even richer – in the truest sense of the word.
Take the time to pause, to find out what matters most to you. If you are honest with yourself, you may be surprised to find that someone else’s nectar is your hemlock. We are all unique in our own statistically insignificant, yet significantly different way. Our fingerprints are inimitable, and so can be our footprints as we traverse through life. We all don’t need green grass – some need the rustle of grainy sand under our feet, others can find happiness in swaths of concrete or puddles of rain. If we keep looking wistfully at the green grass in the distance, we may miss the flowers blooming at our feet.