Beware of chasing counterfeits
Tuesday, December 03, 2019
Have you ever wanted something so badly that you overlook any possible negatives and focus solely on the positives you perceive? It doesn’t matter if it’s a person, a job, a career choice, or even a food — the desire for that can consume you and impair your judgment.
You elevate the benefits of that one thing and either overlook or blindly ignore any other qualifying attributes.
I remember early in my professional life I really wanted to work for a particular company. I had gotten it in my head that that workplace was perfect for me, and I applied for every job opening that fit my skills. I wanted to work there so badly, I could hardly think of anything else.
I did get hired, and it wasn’t long before the reality set in. This company did not fit the idealized version that had consumed me, and what began as an uncomfortable fit worsened into an unbearable one. I realized, too late, that if only I had studied their mission statement, I would have recognized that my assessment of them was a serious counterfeit to the real deal.
And in a silly reminder of counterfeits, I was recently obsessed with the idea of eating some Chinese food. I was living in an area devoid of ethnic culinary alternatives, and all I could think about was how good it would be to indulge in some egg rolls and hot and sour soup.
I visited a town several hours away, and lo and behold, I spied some Chinese lanterns hanging from a restaurant’s door. Chinese food! I was salivating. But sadly, with the first bite, it hit me that this was a counterfeit to the real thing.
Sure, it was a Chinese restaurant, but it wasn’t a good one! In focusing on one attribute — Chinese — I overlooked the concept of quality!
Years ago, I met a new nursing graduate who had invested considerable money and time to obtain her nursing degree. Yet, a few weeks into her first nursing job, she realized that her vision of being a ministering angel, wiping the brow of a grateful patient, was a counterfeit to the real rigors of a nursing profession. Disappointed and disillusioned, she quit her job and was at a loss what to do with herself after investing so much in a fictional career.
A friend of mine was inexplicably fixated on meeting an eligible bachelor of a certain nationality. All that mattered to her was the nationality — all other attributes not even considered. That nationality was not the dealbreaker, it was the only criterion that mattered. Shared values and character traits were ignored to her regret.
When you wholeheartedly pursue one criterion to the exclusion of others, you’re chasing a counterfeit. You acquire the object of your desire and suddenly rue your steadfast inattention to all the other important attributes that matter: character, values, taste.
Chasing a dream can blind you to the reality of all the criteria that are important, and acquiring a counterfeit can be painful. Big and small decisions — from choosing a career to choosing a restaurant — cannot be based on an illusion.
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