Chasing Vapor

by | Motivation

Do you have real goals or do you simply have vaporous visions of some distant, ideal self?

Many people wish that they could introduce themselves in a certain way at social gatherings or be seen as a certain kind of person, but when it comes to the actual doing of the work, they’re really not all that interested.

I was in conversation with a friend a few days ago about his aspirations and I asked point blank “do you really want to be a writer, or do you just love the idea of being a writer?” It’s a question that some people don’t really wrestle with and as a result they spend months or years chasing vapor. (Or worse, they get what they thought they wanted and it wasn’t at all what they expected. Hello bitterness.) During my time in the music business I met a lot of newly famous musicians who hated life. Why? Because they loved the idea of being famous more than they loved the idea of being on the road 300 days a year playing the same songs night after night. They didn’t love the music. The music was just a means to an end. And once they arrived at the end, it wasn’t quite what they expected.

Many people love the idea of themselves as self-employed, but don’t want to actually do the hard work of developing a business plan. They just like to fantasize about the lifestyle of a business owner.

Many people love the idea of themselves as a writer, yet they don’t write everyday. They just like to think of how they would be perceived. They want to be known as a writer, but they don’t really want to do the writing.

Many people like the idea of being a good parent, but they don’t have basic disciplines in their life to support the relationships within their family.

If you really want to do things – not just be enamoured with the idea of doing them – you must begin today to do the small things that others don’t. You must choose today to do the work, whatever that is in your case. If you don’t, you may find that what you’re chasing only holds false promises.

Are you working toward concrete goals, or are you chasing vapor?

(Photo Credit: Vincepal)

Todd Henry

Todd Henry

Positioning himself as an “arms dealer for the creative revolution”, Todd Henry teaches leaders and organizations how to establish practices that lead to everyday brilliance. He is the author of five books (The Accidental Creative, Die Empty, Louder Than Words, Herding Tigers, The Motivation Code) which have been translated into more than a dozen languages, and he speaks and consults across dozens of industries on creativity, leadership, and passion for work.

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