Chase or Pursuit?

Our known world is an infinitely changing connection between our internal self and our external environment. During our formative years, we received input from the external world to formulate our internal understanding of it. We combined the data with our feelings about it which became the foundation of our perspective. By the approximate age of 35, this unconscious understanding of the world controls more than 90% of our understanding. I’d have you consider an old adage…

“Garbage in…garbage out.”

A lot of men are dissatisfied with their lives. Many are unhappy. Many feel defeated in their achievements and disappointed in their tracking of set goals. I would have you consider that every man has the ability to achieve great things and that falling short can be traced back to garbage in over decades of sensory learning. Think about it. If you learned today that what you thought was a banana all these years was actually a plantain, what would be possible for you? It would change everything you understand about bananas.

When it comes to having or getting what we want, we fall back on our perceptions. We live in an age of instant gratification which has become an integral part of our perception of goals and goal attainment. We troll social media and news media for what appears to be success and happiness. Then, our perception says that is what we should be setting our sights on. They are happy and successful, so i should try to attain that same thing in order to be happy and successful. We set our goals on someone else’s success.

Is it really a surprise when after a while of emulating someone else we have failed to realize their happiness and success? Our garbage in is that we are trying to repeat someone else’s proven method of achievement. In truth, we are CHASING happiness and success by copying others. We are trying to catch up to someone else’s results. That will almost always result in failure and disappointment. You can follow someone else step by step and likely never have the same result. The truth is, those you are trying to emulate operate on their own perceptions of happiness and success. While you can agree on the result, the perception of what will make you happy or successful are most likely different. As such, your energy and dedication to them will be different which will lead to your own results.


So throw out the old garbage and stop chasing. Consider PURSUIT instead. We perceive chase and pursuit as synonymous. The dictionary definitions even sound the same. Consider, however, the difference. To chase is to try to catch something. A successful chase ends with the catch. No catch means failure which means disappointment. When we pursue a goal (not a result), we are actively engaged in “going after” it. We are on a path leading somewhere, but there is no definite end. Our forefathers saw fit to use PURSUIT for a reason. How does this sound…

“Life, Liberty, and the CHASE of Happiness”

That doesn’t seem very inspiring. It has the same hopeless connotation as a wild goose chase. Consider that earning a million dollars may be a result you feel is important to your success and happiness. If you set your sights on chasing that million dollars and actually catch it, then what? Would having that money automatically make you happy or successful? Would the ability to buy something with that money instantly make you happy or successful? Looking across a wide array of millionaires, I see a lot of unhappy people with failed lifestyles. Chasing money only makes you a prisoner to the actual chase.

You see, a chase has an outcome while a pursuit has a meaning. What would it mean to you to have that million dollars? More than likely, you equate the tangible asset of money with other, more meaningful goals. Perhaps it would be freedom…to do things you’ve always wanted to do. Perhaps it would be time…to stop rushing to beat the clock. Perhaps it would be charity…to help others in ways you couldn’t afford otherwise. Most often it is a combination of meaningful aspects that cannot be quantified by a dollar sign. More importantly, no single result could ever have the necessary meaning to produce fulfillment.

I would challenge you to pursue the greater meaning. Happiness and success have very broad definitions and are personally subjective. Dissect your perspective on happiness and success. What does happiness and success look like for you? What are the most important parts of success and happiness for you? How would you know you are happy and successful? What does that look like? How does that feel? Identify the key results necessary in the pursuit of the goal and set them as benchmarks to work towards. If a million dollars is a key benchmark for financial freedom, you could identify hundreds of ways to reach that benchmark on a hundred different timelines. The active PURSUIT becomes more important than the actual method or result. You are more likely to invest more energy and be more passionate about taking the necessary steps when there is meaning attached. Meaningful pursuit is more fulfilling than any single attainment or instant gratification.