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follow your heart

Some Thoughts on Following your Heart

follow your heartIt is funny how through reading inspirational stories we often make discoveries about ourselves. I mean we hear all the time about importance of following our heart and staying true to ourselves, but this advice often sounds too cliché to be taken seriously.

Recently I read a great story that made me look at the same concept from a different perspective.

It went like this:

“One day an old Emperor from the Far East gathered together all the young people in his kingdom and announced that one of them would be his Successor. He gave each of them one seed and asked them to go home, plant it, water it and come back the following year with what they had grown. The next Emperor would be chosen judged on the plant that they brought with them.

A year passed by and all the young people came back to the palace with beautiful plants and flowers, except for one little boy. He was standing at the back with an empty pot, his head low. Some of his friends openly mocked him, a few felt sorry for the poor guy. But everyone was hoping that his plant would catch the Emperor’s eye.

Finally the Emperor arrived. He scanned the room, congratulated everyone on the beautiful and exotic flowers that they had grown, when he suddenly spotted the boy with the empty pot. He walked up to the boy, took his hand and declared “Behold your new emperor!”

To everyone’s shock the Emperor continued, “The seeds I gave you a year ago were boiled and could not grow. Each of you has substituted my seed with your own, except for this boy. He was the only one who had enough courage and honesty to bring me my seed. You deserve no better Emperor!”

This story made me think, how much we try to impress people, even at the cost of “tweaking the truth” or making the facts sound more interesting or more appealing. We are so busy worrying about impressing others that we do not take time to reflect on why we want to impress them in the first place?

Let’s take my work, for example. I could say that I am a writer. That I have written a few best-selling books on Goal-setting and Positive thinking. That I am blessed with having more than 70,000 subscribers that receive my emails and follow my work. And this would actually be the holy truth.

But if someone could see me at work, they would probably remain unimpressed, if not disappointed. There is no fancy office on the top floor, no secretary, no glamour, no muse that whispers words in my ear and no crowd of cheering fans (Phew!).

It is just me sitting on the balcony in front of my laptop with a cup of warm(ish) mint tea and an opened can of sweetened condensed milk (I have a sweet tooth this morning :)). Nothing exciting.

This is one of the reasons why I liked the story about The Emperor and the boy with the empty flower pot. It made me reflect that maybe it takes courage to follow your heart and do something you love even when everyone else finds it ordinary and dull? Maybe it takes honesty to look at yourself in the mirror and say “I screwed up, but I am going to start over”? Maybe it takes great love to give up your promising career and settle for a part-time job so that you could dedicate more time to your family?

I think it does. And I also think that the less time we spend worrying about “being cool”, “sounding knowledgeable” or “transmitting confidence and power” and the more we concentrate on doing what we like, on expressing our creativity and on making a difference in the lives of other people, the happier and the more contented we will be. After all it must be really stressful to live in constant fear of falling short of other people’s expectations, of not being taken seriously, of showing your weaknesses, of having an unimpressive and boring job.

But you know what is even scarier than that? To spend years constructing a picture-perfect life that impresses everyone around you, only to realize that you are bored out of your mind.

But this is what I believe in. What are your thoughts?

When it comes to making serious life decisions do you prefer following your heart or your mind? 🙂

  • Nyvs
    September 15, 2011 at 7:45 pm

    I agree completely with ‘follow your heart’.
    There are so many times I have NOT followed my heart, and end up getting hurt by not doing so.
    I have finally learnt to do what makes me happy and not take on board other peoples opinions and thoughts.

    It isn’t easy to change and just be YOU.
    It takes time, patience and a whole lot of effort, but it is worth it.

    If you look back you will see that no matter what you did there was always someone who didn’t like what you said or did, so why fake it anymore.

    If your having a sad day, then so be it.
    If you are having an exhausted day, then so be it.

    I for one am sick of making out I am coping and happy and strong, when at times I am not.
    I am now just being me and accepting that I cannot always be what others think I should be.


    • Arina
      September 19, 2011 at 5:32 pm

      Thank you for your sharing and for the words of inspiration, Nyvs. You are right about two things – 1) it is not always easy to stay true to yourself and 2) no matter what you do, there will always be someone who will not agree or fully approve or your actions. There is no win-win situation – you can either invest your time and effort in trying to discover what makes you happy (and possibly make mistakes down the road) or you can invest it in trying to impress others. The first option makes more sense to me. 🙂

  • Suryavanapalli
    September 16, 2011 at 4:14 am

    What a Beautiful story!!! It inspired me a lot. From now on … I follow my heart when making decisions. I just work my   self and don’t try to impress others. I just love my work. THANK U ARINA… 

    • Arina
      September 19, 2011 at 5:17 pm

      Hi Suryanapalli! 
      I’m glad that you felt inspired by the Emperor story and I’m glad that you love your work. What is it, by the way? 

  • leenah abdul Ghani
    September 16, 2011 at 6:13 pm

    i prefer mixing both but my heart leads (after Allah’s approval)

  • Jeff
    September 21, 2011 at 11:52 am

    Wonderful story & reflection on your part.

    I worked (I say it in past tense because my belief has changed but remain in the same job) in a highly competitive sales career. I thought that in order to “compete” I had to have all of the success accoutrements – the lavish car, expensive ties & Italian shoes and the rest of the pointless things. What I found interesting was all of that stuff sort of disappeared when I began the actual work. What the clients saw was a highly capable & educated man (in my field) and the “stuff” didn’t really make a difference.

    I let go of all of those trappings & distractions, which is exactly what they were, & today feel totally free. I discovered a passion – independent of my work, as a result of releasing the aforementioned mental & material bondage. People can now see the more complete me with better clarity because that’s how I now see myself. Funny how that works eh?

    • Arina
      September 21, 2011 at 3:43 pm

      Thank you for your sharing Jeff. It is funny how when you get rid of all the distractions and glare people start to pay more attention to who you are and less to what you own, have or wear. 🙂

  • Chris
    September 24, 2011 at 9:18 pm

    As an aspiring writer to an accomplished one, I sometimes struggle with balancing self-expression with providing what my audience wants. Is the key some hybrid of the two?

    • Arina
      September 26, 2011 at 8:03 pm

      Thank you for a great question, Chris. 

      I really have not thought about it this way before, but I believe that you are right – the key to successful writing is the hybrid between self-expression and providing to your readers information that is both interesting and useful to them.I read about 10-20 articles a day (and I am sure you do the same). I gladly read through the articles that talk about the topics that interest me, even if they are impersonal and “business-like”. But the ones I truly enjoy reading are a mixture of both – information and personality.So I’d say, write about what interests your readers, but let your personality shine. :)ArinaP.S. I loved the title of your article “Niche and Easy”. Great word play. 🙂 

  • Craig
    October 14, 2011 at 1:14 am

    From a spiritual perspective, following your inner guru (Holy Spirit) will always lead you in the direction of bliss.  Unfortunately most of us get caught up in the trap of following society’s idea of what we should do.  Blessings, Craig

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