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  • Writer's pictureCalvin

Mutually Exclusive

I get a lot of different advice throughout these years from people of all walks of life. There’s the popular saying to be present. To be grateful for what you have. And to know that this moment is enough.

Then, there’s the popular saying to strive for what you dream about. To reach for the stars. To go big or go home.

Which is it exactly? Should I remain in the moment and feel grateful for what I have? Or should I continue to strive for big things and to achieve those dreams that are constantly in my vision? Which is it exactly?

Sometimes, it can be a bit frustrating to come to terms with this. After all, if I feel like the present moment is enough, then why in the world would I need to strive for anything else? Why would I need to grow or to improve myself or to develop in any shape or form? Should I just be satisfied with sitting on my sofa everyday eating chips and watching TV?

Of course, I don’t believe this type of advice is mutually exclusive. I don’t believe that we can only have one thing and not the other one. It is possible, in my opinion, to both strive for your dreams and to also stay present and grateful in the here and now. There are ways to do this. It’s not really rocket science.

But in general, you can strive for greatness all the while still practicing gratitude for what you already have. You can still be present while continuously educating yourself and improving yourself day in and day out. You can continue to achieve goals and to strive for results, while still remaining whole and sufficient as you already are.

Again, there is no mutual exclusion to these opinions and advice. In life, we have many roles to play. We need to be a leader. We need to be an alpha. We need to be mature. We need to be loving. We need to be responsible. There are so many needs that are placed upon our plate by societal standards.

However, it is possible to play these roles to your fullest extent. For me, I am still aiming to achieve bigger and better things this new year. And I am still trying to grow and improve myself day in and day out. By investing in my relationships. Investing in myself. Investing in my health. And investing in my education.

At the same time, I still make it a case to practice gratitude and acceptance for the here and now. Even the imperfections that may rise up every once in awhile in my day-to-day life. I might feel a certain agitation or anxiety about a matter at hand. I may feel annoyed by a certain external circumstance. Yet, I still try to come to terms with everything with wholeheartedness and acceptance.

I try to stay present even when I’m striving for something in the future. I try to continue setting goals to hit even while I remain grateful for what I have. I can do both. And it is possible for each of us to do this without sacrificing the other.

I think that having both of these pillars in your life can lead to lasting fulfillment and purpose. It can lead to better quality of health and to greater joy and peace within us. I believe that gratitude can go a long way towards inner peace of mind and a greater sense of contentment. Yet, at the same time, I don’t believe that contentment for the present moment will hinder our ambitions to strive for bigger and better things.

It can go both ways. It’s not a case where you can only have this but not the other. So, I think most people get confused when they hear these contradictory words of wisdom. And sometimes they have a hard time trying to reconstitute it in their minds.

But yes, it is important to strive for better. And at the same time, it is important to remain content and grateful for what you already have. It is possible to do both.

Most things in life I guess are not clear cut. They’re not black and white. They’re not set in stone. Things can be very fluid and ever evolving. And advice is something that can certainly change with the times.

So, continue to reach for the stars. Continue to go for your dreams. And at the same time, remain at ease and at peace with what you have in this moment. You can find a way to achieve both.

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