Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Dreaming of Safety-Guest Blogger Kamal Jobe

Today's blog comes from our brother and fellow blogger Kamal Jobe. If you like what you read be sure to check out his weekly posts on:

This post is inspired by conversations I had with two of my close friends this past week. The topic was whether they should play it safe or chase dreams. I think we always reach a point in our lives where we can go after something we believe we will enjoy or something we know we can count on.

My first instance of this was when I began college, and found a true love for philosophical thought, specifically Western philosophy which is grounded more in politics and reason. However, I wanted a career in public relations. I chose what I enjoyed even though I knew there were no philosophy factories, or a huge market for people who can discuss what makes our society run without creating any specific plan based on such analytical thought. I then later chose to play it safe by entering law school instead of going straight into a career. I knew my chances for stable employment were better in attending law school, and my opportunity for growth were higher than if I had entered the Public Relations industry with a Bachelors Degree in Philosophy.

Since the arrest of Miss Cleo and the dissolution and bankruptcy of Psychic Friends Network it is fair to say that nobody can really tell the future with absolute certainty. You never really know whether you are making the right choice in playing it safe or going for what makes you happy, or what gives you immediate gratification. Did I make the right choice? I accrued a substantial amount of debt to get paid a salary that may be laughable to some of my colleagues who began work immediately after college. At the same time I have so much room for growth in my current position that it will balance out in the end. The real question you have to ask yourself is not whether either is better than the other, but whether you are playing it safe or settling?

The difference is settling has a negative connotation. When you settle you are saying this will be fine, I should do better but I won't. In playing it safe you find satisfaction and security, but not the happiness you really desire. As a friend said best, "it's a thin line". You will know you have settled when you realize you have no way of attaining that happiness you once set out for. There is nothing wrong with playing it safe and getting that 9 - 5 white collar office job, as long as you are simultaneously staying active and relevant in the arena you want to be a part of. For my first two years of law school I still actively read philosophical texts because I wanted to be relevant in what made me happy. Actors do something similar all the time. They move out to L.A. or NY get jobs as fitness trainers (more flexible hours) while at the same time going on every audition they can. They play it safe, but still go for what makes them happy. However, if you were to get a 9-5 job, start a family, and suddenly realize they have not gone on an audition in a year; read a philosophical text in months; wrote a song, or began writing that book you set out to write; then my friend you have settled. It is okay to settle as long as you know that is what you are doing and made peace with that decision, but you can't be mad when someone else chooses to follow their dreams or do so while playing it safe.

SN: I no longer actively read philosophy because I have been so far removed it no longer provides me with the enjoyment in once did, but I do engage in intellectual discourse about similar subjects. This is an important point of interest because what makes you happy now may not make you happy 5 years from now, another reason why playing it safe is not all that bad.

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