I’m sure you’ve heard it a million times, and probably said it once or twice as well. Imagine two people walking past one another down a work hallway.
“Hey Jimbo, how you doin’? ” asks Steve.
“Hey Steve-o, just livin’ the dream man…living the dream” replies Jimbo.
They both smile and walk away.
Have you ever told someone you’re “livin’ the dream? I’m guilty. I know I have, but last year I really started to ponder this statement and the implications. I remember working out and the song All I Do by NF came on Pandora. In the song he says, “You say you’re living the dream, no you just living a dream.”
It’s such a deep lyric. Let’s unpack it.
When I think of the lyric I relate it to most people are simply living to dream but aren’t doing anything about it. I feel like this phrase has become a cliché of sorts in order to mask our real feelings–which is that we not as happy as we appear to be.
To me it seems like we say it just to say because, well that’s what everyone else says. Now, don’t get me wrong, if you’re truly happy and living your dream, that’s great and I’m happy for you. But, let’s be honest, most people who say they’re “living the dream” are not.
Why is this case? I believe there are two reasons why.
We’re living to dream or we’re living someone else’s dream.
There are too many people who go through life not really ever knowing what they’re passionate about. We live the same year over and over again for 30 years and call it a life. Far too many adults lack self-awareness and confidence. Instead of actually “livin’ the dream” we live to dream. We preface our dreams with “if” instead of “when.”
Think about this for a minute…a you living the life you want or the life someone else expects you to live? Are you doing what you want because you want to do it? Are you living where you want to be or where you’re expected to be?
Many of us are living the dream; we’re just not sure whose dream it actually is.
We should live to fulfill our dreams rather than others’ expectations. If we’re only doing what we do to make others happy, we will end up suffering. Instead of blending in, let’s stand out.
When we really unpack the phrase, it’s quite dangerous. It lulls us into complacency and into a life of repeating the same year for 30 years all the while pretending to be living the dream.
So when I hear people (or catch myself thinking to say it) “I’m livin’ the dream”, I wonder if they really are. I don’t mean this is a condescending way at all. However, it does concern me this is a popular phrase amongst adults because our kids are observational learners now more than ever. So when they hear us say this phrase they copy it. They grow up thinking they’re supposed to settle for average while pretending to be living the dream.
In order to live our dream we should ask ourselves the following five questions:
- Am I happy?
- Do my contributions matter and provide value?
- Do I feel valued, alive, creative, and challenged?
- Do I see myself doing this and being happy in five years?
- Do I enjoy what I’m doing?
When we really unpack the phrase, it’s quite dangerous. It lulls us into complacency and complicity.
So when I hear people (or catch myself thinking to say it) “I’m livin’ the dream”, I wonder if they really are?
What do you think?
I challenge you to identify what your dream is and what your dream life would be. Once you do, go after it!
As always, thanks for reading, have a great week, and be an RGP today!
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