Some Thoughts on Following your Heart
It 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? 🙂