One of my favourite stories from the Brothers Grimm is The Fisherman and his Wife.
A poor fisherman helps an enchanted fish who grants him a wish in gratitude. He wishes for a house. His wife complains and makes him go back and exchange his wish for a new one.
He wishes for a mansion. His wife complains and makes him go back… and so on and so on.
Inevitably the wife takes it too far and has the hapless fisherman ask the enchanted fish to make them into Gods. The angry fish takes away all their wishes and the fisherman and his wife end up back in their original shack.
I sometimes wonder,when do you know enough is enough?
Ambition, challenges and stretching personal boundaries are all encouraged in our society. You can end up pursuing something because at some level it satisfies a need but it’s still not getting you what you want.
Could it be that you’ve lost sight of what you want?
Trying new things is great, letting go is an important part of the process too.
I lost my way with twitter. Being self-employed and working alone, I used to use it as a light break, nothing important. Then I hired a marketing guy who convinced me to use twitter to promote “my brand”. He told me to stick to certain topics and taught me strategies to “work” twitter.
It never really gelled with me, I began to hate twitter and blogging. It didn’t feel natural anymore, too contrived and forced. I was quite relieved when I moved to Dubai and other things took priority. I deleted all my tweets, abandoned all the self-promotion and immediately felt so much lighter.
You have this set of drivers in your mind that set your ideal flavour for how things need to be for you. It’s an image that imprints itself like wallpaper in your mind and just like real wallpaper, it can become invisible. But although it’s invisible, you can’t escape what drives you.
It may well be all about money for you, but I’m willing to bet that there’s more to it than that. Respect, Safety and Acceptance are just three drivers that keep us pushing for more.
We can get so caught up in the pushing that the driver is lost. Working late nights on the latest deadline may bring you promotions and riches,but how are they fulfilling your desperate, albeit stifled, need to create and express and leave a legacy that means something to you.
That need never goes away. It can be dulled and dimmed and you may never express it but you’ll always know something is missing.
I wonder if the fisherman’s wife really knew what she wanted.
What’s your driver? How can you channel more of it into your life?