“Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”– HOWARD THURMAN (SOURCE: THE LIVING WISDOM OF HOWARD THURMAN: A VISIONARY FOR OUR TIME)
I know what you’re thinking.
You’re thinking, ‘what do you mean the ONLY THING the world needs from me?! The world demands EVERYTHING from me!!!’
‘It expects me to be a teetotaling, super-ripped, enlightened, buddhist monk who lives in a mansion with 5 cars yet gives everything to the poor, can speak 6 languages, hold 3 full-time jobs with an additional 8 hobbies on the side while also caring for the elderly with the abundance of spare time one must have available.’
‘On top of which I must also find a cure for cancer, prevent global warming, travel the entire world, read 8 books a day, find the time to study for a 4th profession, have the perfect life partner, raise straight A children who never fart in public, cook the recommended 12 meals a day, eat only the finest imported wagyu beef, be a vegan, own the latest model of smartphone while also find a suitable replacement for plastics.’
‘Should I go on?!!!’
You could but I think we get the point.
Yes, unfortunately, this is but a modicum of what our fucked up society expects. That said, this is exactly why we need to be very clear.
What the world needs from you and what society expects are two very different things.
One you need to trust in. The other you need tell fuck off!
Society’s ridiculous expectations have flooded our brains with too much information. We’re constantly being pulled in a million different directions that’s left us paralysed in one. We can’t see through the sea of bullshit to understand what we’re supposed to do. We’re lost wondering which way we should paddle with no land in sight.
The problem isn’t what society thinks, of course. The major problem we have is making society’s expectations our own. In doing so we play a game we can’t possibly win. As a result of not being able to meet these impossible expectations – because none of us can – many of us simply give up.
What we need to do is set ourselves free. We need to cut through the noise and focus on our major purpose in life. We need to follow our calling. Then say ‘fuck it’ to the rest. I truly believe this will benefit the world far more than trying to meet society’s expectations. That’s provided you can shift through all the bullshit and follow what your calling in life actually is. As in, not society’s. Not your parent’s. Not Barrack Obama’s. Certainly not Donald Trump’s. Yours! Your own unique calling.
This is the only thing the world needs from you.
I think that you know this of course, the question is how?! And also what the fuck?
I’m not going to pretend I have all the answers but I’ll give you a few more thoughts you should probably ignore.
Fuck what society has to say about who it thinks you should be.
You and only you get to decide what success looks like. Don’t let society do that for you. Don’t make the mistake of thinking your life has to look good on paper, so some top level exec can commend you on your perfect CV to only then give the job to the slightly less qualified white man because you’re black, or a woman, or a black woman…
To be clear I’m not saying give up. To not be a better person. To not go after what you want despite any disadvantages you may or may not have.
What I’m saying is to be clear about what success actually means to you, to be clear about what you actually want. Don’t go chasing someone else’s goals. If you want to wander the seven seas as a pirate – if that’s what makes you feel alive – then who the fuck am I, or anyone else for that matter, to judge you? At least if you fail as a pirate (highly probable) you’ll have loved life.
We spend far too much time thinking about how our life choices will be viewed by others. We need to wake up and follow what we know in our hearts will make us happy.
A stressful life chasing other people’s version of success is what has turned us all into robots. We’re simply going through the motions so we can reach our end goal. We say to ourselves, it’ll all be worth it after I have secured financial independence for the last 10 good years of my life. After I have broken my body, sold my soul and lost all sense of aliveness in the mean time.
Is your retirement really worth that much? To slave away so that one day you might get to live in the knowledge that money is no longer a problem for you, for the last 10 years of your life?
Let me tell you something that society doesn’t want you to work out. Money is but one problem.
When Jay-Z rapped about 99 problems I suspect they were all related to having money. Bitches weren’t one of them admittedly, because of the money, but even so. The point is be careful what you chase after in life.
The world really doesn’t need you to be rich and famous. It doesn’t need you to solve all its problems. Society has made this an obsession of yours but it’s bullshit.
The only thing the world needs from you is to come alive. That comes from chasing the dreams that you alone have defined. It comes from following your heart.
I’ve got a new rap song. It goes, I’ve got 99 problems but the dream ain’t one. (How white am I?) If you can sing that you’re winning my friend because you’ll always have 99 problems. Don’t make not following your dreams one of them.
Thanks for reading everyone! I’m acutely aware that talking about chasing your dreams can come across as somewhat rich (pun intended) as a privileged middle class white man, especially when survival is the only thing that millions can ever consider, but I also wonder if, for the same reason, I don’t have a responsibility to chase my dreams? After all, my worst case scenario is far better than most. What do you think? Is the idea of following your dreams overrated? Is it not better to follow our heart if we have the choice? Thoughts and comments very welcome below.
You can see find more of AP2’s nonsensical world views and poor self-help advice here at: https://clear-air-turbulence.com
84 thoughts on “The Only Thing The World Needs From You”
we all have the right to chase our dreasm and it’s sad if we don’t.
I agree we should all have the right to chase our dreams. Sadly I believe dreams are simply that for many who are simply struggling to survive. For those who can chase their dreams but don’t out of fear – that really is sad. My feeling is the chance of failure is just as great whatever we pursue. Might as well do what we love. Wishing you well 🙏
I can see where many people in circumstances don’t focus on dreams becasue they have to focus on living each day.
Perhaps the true dream is living moment to moment? My thoughts on chasing your dreams are more to do with the fact that you should enjoy the journey – you should enjoy and appreciate the moment. It’s less about achieving the dream itself (or the perfect retirement for that matter.) Doing what you love increases you gratitude and joy for the present. If we truly do – everyone stands to benefit. Of course survival has to come first – I appreciate that. But for many it’s the fear of failure that prevents them from taking risks. In my eyes you run a risk either way – perhaps a bigger one by not attempting to chase after what it is you truly want. Or at least attempt to find out what that is. Thank you for your comment 🙏
It’s sad that many people don’t Even know what their dreams are…
It’s hard for some to ascertain through all the noise. I think we have to trust our intuition for that reason. Part is us already knows provided we are willing to take that leap of faith in order to find out. Of course that’s easier said than done…
That post rings true to me. Finding what makes you happy isn’t hard just keeping focus with so much choice is the hard part.
Yes I agree – distraction is a big problem today. In a strange sort of way it’s as though there are too many opportunities nowadays (at least there were pre covid). It’s become increasingly hard to know what exactly we should chase after. Eventually though I reckon you gotta say fuck it and follow your gut. You’ll soon know whether you made the right choice or not. Life is too short to not take risks. Thanks Neil. Wishing you well 🙏
“…be clear about what success actually means to you,” Yes!
There’s a middle-road that requires a great deal of honesty and genuine insight in directing the effort of building a life. On one side are those engaging in a desperate race that nobody “wins”. And on the other is self-excuse for doing nothing at all while complaining about the result. Regardless, it’s a Hella-lotta work, no matter what. So either way, it’s a shame to wander off-center and do it for another’s ideals… or simply not to try.
Completely agree. Life’s too short not to put yourself out there. We stand just as much chance of failing whatever is we decide to chase after. Equally things could end much sooner than ones perfectly planned retirement. Gotta do what you love. Or at least, try our best to figure out what that is. Thanks V. I always appreciate your insights. 🙏
My skin colour does not do my thinking, nor does it apologise: it’s just skin, ffs! Part of the problem with pursuing your Bliss is the act of pursuing. I believe the confusion of how to pursue or even justify pursuing our bliss lies in the seperation of that feeling and of the being. Bliss seems to me more like an epiphany; a few precious moments of being aware of this immaculate feeling of happiness. Some things or situations can enable that to happen more often, but I wonder if that’s due to what we’re actively doing, or just a bubble of happy awareness within that situation? Just overthinking, as usual. Your post made me do that today, and thank you. 🙂
I agree KJ. I think we should chase our dreams because we will enjoy pursuing them more we will enjoy pursuing someone else’s goals. Many people pursue goals for the reward at the end of it. I believe they miss the point. We’re meant to enjoy the journey just as much, if not more than reaching the destination itself. The “making it” part is only ever momentary anyway. And we will have set backs and heart breaks and frustrations along the way. But at least if we’re chasing what we really truly want – the lows become more bearable and the highs more rewarding. I also believe we will increase those chances of bliss – but also will gain a more lasting meaningful happiness along the way. Thanks KJ. I always value your insights. Thank you for making me overthink as well. 🙏
I agree! I think it is our right to do what we want without taking into consideration society’s expectations and judgments. Taking opinions is a different thing and following what other’s say blindly is different. I,for one, am a person who truly believes in doing what I really want. And as for dreams, its difficult to survive without them. So, keep going and be hopeful is what I suggest.
It is a cliche to say you should chase your dreams but I believe it’s the right thing to do – provided our intentions are pure. Only we know what we truly want and only we can find the courage to chase after it. Often it require saying fuck it to a lot of other things – but life is too short. We have to be clear about what we really want. Our heart is always telling us subtle hints. Listen deeply. We have intuition for a reason. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. Wishing you well on your journey 🙏
I agree! thank you
I am finding what is actually most satisfying, is a leisurely walk outside, observing and having reverence for the rhythms of nature-I’m enjoying it now and try to encourage my kids to appreciate it, so they don’t miss what I did along the way.
Slowing down and being is extremely important. I walk everyday. Few things clear my mind as well as a walk in nature. The point of chasing your dreams is not to achieve your dreams, but so that you enjoy the journey itself. That for me is the point of going after what you really want – so you find a greater appreciation for the here and now. If we go about trying to meet society’s expectations – trying to chase someone else’s goals – we will miss everything. Thank you for sharing your thoughts 🙏
You’re right, we should all follow our dreams, unless they involve hurting someone of course. I would never tell a child molester to follow their dreams 😐. But if you’re giving up the life that would make you happy because what the people around you want, you’re doing it wrong.
Of course – Becoming a pirate wasn’t meant to be taken literally! (Molesting a child isn’t a dream – thats just a sick twisted fantasy.) I don’t believe a true dream exists without a higher purpose attached to it. It can’t simply be about a big house or a fancy car or becoming famous. I believe you’ve got to have a purpose to preserve in the face of adversity. You’ve got to give yourself to something greater. Thank you Ang. I appreciate your comments. 🙏
“Breathe,” Yes, that’s my favorite saying these days. Amazing how 99 problems disappear when I remember to breathe.
So true – all problems seem to disappear when we are present. Great point. Thank you 🙏
AP, This is wonderful advice. Not easy to put into practice, but I try. <3 Have a great weekend!
Thank you Cheryl. Indeed it’s not easy to put into practise and of course survival has to come first. After a certain point though I feel like the security we build for ourselves becomes a sort of prison that prevents us from taking the risks we need to truly feel alive. Wishing you and yours a wonderful weekend too. 🙏😊
Great post, AP. Good to see bloggers like yourself put positivity into practice. Hope all is well with you!
Thank you – I try to chase my dreams although my fear has gotten the better of me in the past. It’s been a process but with age it becomes increasingly obvious that life is too short not to take the risks we need for our happiness. Wishing you well too! 🙏
Fear is a tough thing to get through/get over… I’ve been battling my own fears recently and while tough and difficult to get through, I completely agree – life’s too short!
I think we’re most alive when we buddy up to those fears. When we conquer them by doing what we believe is right in spite of them. Thanks again 🙏
No matter how much the society things we are unable to do this and that and achievement and successfull career in their stereotypical manner is the only right thing to do. But in reality we should have the freedom, the independence to exercise our thoughts and make our dreams come alive, no matter how much time it takes. Life is very short and it’s your responsibility to make it brilliantly beautiful by living up your dreams even when you are say, 100 years old, for example (pun intended) and yes, surrounding yourself with right people is important for building your confidence in dreams and your support system and tell them those people whatever it’s their right to know so that they can help and support you in your dreams! Awesome post!
Well said – and a great point about surrounding ourselves with the people who support us in pursuit of our dreams. Thank you so much. Wishing you well on your journey. 🙏
Dude. Yes! Yesssss.
Your description of the insanely ridiculous expectations we put upon ourselves is effing on point, my friend. Why do we do this? Thank you for this wonderful reminder to stay true to what really makes us happy. 🕊
I think we all go through the process of trying to meet the impossible expectations set by society, before we wake up one day – completely burnt out – and say, ‘fuck this!’ Gotta cut out the noise and concentrate on what it is we love – here today. Easier said than done of course. Thank you as always Snap. 🙏
I’m with you on all of this. I’ve always made unconventional choices to the extent it was in my power to do so. I’ve done what I want – so many different things – and I doubt anyone would call me a success, per se. But I’ve loved most of my choices. I gave up a long time ago on what everybody else thinks is the right way. I find that where most people run to, there’s a big problem over there. I go the other way.
Success is what we alone define. I learnt that the hard way. Given what you’ve told me – I’m guessing you’re more successful than most. Society will judge us whatever we do. I believe we have an intuition for a very good reason. Most people ignore it and I believe it makes them miserable. Glad to hear you listen to yours. Wishing you well Robin 🙏
So true, I agree in toto.
Sometimes people are too distract with everyone’s expectations that even they don’t know what they want, what’s their dream, who they are!?!
Yes it’s tough to navigate through the distractions. I believe we need to sit quietly. Actively seek out solitude in order to gain the clarity we seek. Thank you DD 🙏
Needed to “hear” that today! (…I’m on job hunting currently, hahaha)
Good luck. Admittedly the job market isn’t exactly conducive to chasing ones dreams! Wishing you the very best 🙏
this was BADASSS
Thank you! 🙏
I have been thinking about this quote all damn day brother. We must be tuned in to the same vibrations. And I’m glad to report it’s the positive one for me
I totally concur. Fuck society and their expectations. I’ve come to understand everyone is busy with their own life to care how their expectations can have a detriment to how you live your own life so the best thing is to just stick out the finger up high and continue doing what you love doing. Be deaf to the opinions that hinder you from your happiness as long as you’re not hurting people or causing suffering. Then, just do it.
Right on. I think a true dream needs a higher purpose attached to it. I think that’s part of what makes us whole. If you ask me a true dream should never cause suffering to others.
Cheers Francis. Wishing you well 🙏
Wishing you only the best!
I would point back to Thurman’s quote: do what makes you come alive…. That can be different from one’s dream or even one’s ‘happiness’. What it is (imo) is closer to the spiritual quality of ‘bliss’. When we are truly alive, leaving the false tapes behind about who we are – society’s or our own. Instead when we are reuly alive everything makes us ‘happy’ even the challenges and struggles in life because they teach us about what more we may need to leave behind – and is especially true for those of us with the most amount of privilege handed to us by luck of birth (or karma, if that is your belief).
I tend to believe that chasing ones dreams has very little to do with achieving ones dreams. It’s about doing what makes you feel alive. It’s about the journey. About the here and now. That’s the point of chasing your dreams in my book. By chasing them you cultivate greater joy and gratitude for the present moment. You increase the opportunity for you to feel that bliss. When you’re doing what you love and truly in the moment success become more rewarding and difficulties become more bearable. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts. 🙏
“What the world needs from you and what society expects are two very different things”
This is so true.
A lot of people have missed this.
What a post!
You nailed it, AP.
Yes. I get to decide what success looks like, not society. Just like you said, we can’t win if we let society dictate how our life should look like.
Loved this post.
Thanks freethinker. Your praise as a writer I greatly admire means a lot. Wishing you well 🙏
This post is really really important! More people need to read this! Wonderfully written!
Thank you Shruti 🙏
Your way of presentation is really awesome. It’s catching. To find the purpose of our lives and to accomplish it should be the goal of our lives.
Thank you so much and well said. Finding our true purpose is our most important goal in life. 🙏
I don’t want to work. I want to bang on my drums all day.
And now…..that song is totally stuck in my head for the rest of the day. Excellent!
Great song 😊
This post motivated me to go write and personally that’s the highest compliment I can pay another writer!
I try not to let myself feel good when people compliment me but that has forced a smile I must admit. If my words have inspired others then that really is the dream. Thank you Rachel 🙏
I needed this today. Thank you.
I’m laughing because you write with so much humor (about a serious topic)! I love the message as well: listen to your inner voice, don’t live your life according to societal expectations. 🙂
I believe we have an intuition for a reason. We must trust our heart over our head sometimes. Thank you for your kind words. 🙏
Beautiful thoughts! I believe intuition tunes out external noise & societal programming and speaks our most authentic expression. 🙂
Thank you spiritual fantasia! Wishing you well 🙏
You too, AP2! 🙏
Wow, I got so pumped after reading this article. I need to follow along to your blog because it just feels like that one friend who always talks straight truth to you that you really need to hear. Lol! Keep up the great work.
Thank you so much! I place a high value on honesty (sometimes this gets me in trouble of course). Wishing you well 🙏
it’ really good post. sometimes the society’s voice is to loud than inner voice. we sholud hear our self first
Thank you 🙏
Yes!!! Amen to all of this, chase away my friends and be who you are!!!
I recently started my blog here and after reading this, all my doubts and apprehension have vanished in thin air!!
This is super awesome
I’m so pleased to hear it helped inspire you. Thank you for your kind words. 🙏
Quite existentially philosophic and motivational
hell yea, message well written. thats whats up.
Some good points! Finding what brings us happiness and joy outside of what we are shown or what others expect from us. I agree with on F@!k what society thinks. This post made me giggle. Thanks for sharing 😊
I’m glad you enjoyed it. Thank you for sharing your thoughts 🙏
I think you’ve hit on many good points here, so many that I’ll have to choose two to focus on.
The first: money. Society has overvalued money for a long time. Yes, in the current world we live in, for many of us having *some* money is important. A few years ago I made the conscious decision to seek only as much as I needed, and to ensure my friends and family knew when I offered to pay for things there was never any expectation of there being a requirement to pay it back. I value the time spent with them infinitely higher than some paper or metal with financial value.
The second: chase your dreams. Whatever our dreams are we must seek them with all our heart. This will differ for each of us. Sometimes it will be out of necessity, other times it will be what ignites the fire in our soul. What doesn’t change is the hard work that will be required to reach the goal (including of course intelligent, intentional rest).
As always, thank you for such a thought provoking post.
Oh, dear, that quote at the beginning hit me so hard! At this point in my life, I absolutely needed to realise that! It’s a bit hard for me right now to go chasr my dreams, as the people whose support I need won’t even take into consideration my dreams, but I will go chase them anyway, sooner or later! Thank you for such an eye-opening article! We needed that!🤗
If it inspired you then I’m happy 😊. Thank you for sharing kind words. Wishing you all the best on your endeavours 🙏