I recently watched World’s Greatest Dad, an independent film about a middle-aged father, played by Robin Williams, who fantasizes about being a famous writer. The problem is, all of the manuscripts he’s ever submitted for publication have been rejected. It is not until his son kills himself in an accident and Williams forges a suicide note to save the family embarrassment that he finally starts to get the recognition he’s been looking for as a writer. The suicide note, published in the school newspaper, was such a great success that Williams pens his son’s journal, propelling Williams into the public eye as a new media darling. I know I’ve told you a lot about the film, no more than the Netflix sleeve, but in case you want to see it, I’ll stop there.
The dilemma, of course, is Williams’ choice of whether to confess he was the one who wrote the journal and, consequently, give up the fame he’s always wanted. Is the road we travel along on our journey just as important as the destination? Or is it only reaching our goal that matters?
More than once, I’ve heard that research indicates money spent on having experiences and creating memories leaves us more satisfied than buying material things. Listening to those older than I am reflect on their earlier years, it seems that hard times lived honestly invokes a fondness of the past and a greater appreciation for what they have today. I think that the most satisfying career journeys are comparable to the most satisfying spending habits. It’s the memories we create along the way that contribute to our fulfillment.