Ghosts and Unicorns or symbols of creative and destructive mental states
I was always interested in human behavior. Though it’s not connected nor with my professional occupation, nor with my educational background, I am just excited about to learn about how people behave in different situations, what motivates them, what disturbs them and what makes them or brakes them.
In the beginning of the summer I’ve graduated from Business School, and jumped into building my career in one of Big Four Companies the following Monday. And I like it… Everyday i manage to learn new things, see new people, develop specific skills, build relationship with colleagues etc. From the professional/pragmatic point of view I am in a great place to start my career, I have great colleagues and interesting/challenging assignments. But there is something more to that. A feeling that by working in this direction, working harder and smarter will lead me to an ultimate mental state. The state of fulfillment in life (It can be tough and exhausting, but it’s all worth it). Sometimes I see myself as unicorn hunter. I know, that I will not catch him, but every time I reach specific milestone (get a glimpse on this mystical creature) I feel that I fulfilled something important for me and feel myself good. This gives me enough strength and will to go further and continue my hunt for this magical horse.
But before I’ve started my current job, I had several ones before, and while some of them where nice, some of them were bad, and one of them in particular was horrible. The last two I would call GHOSTS. Like the souls of the dead which cannot find peace, I could not find the balance. From the pragmatic point of view everything was fine, salary was paid, colleagues were good, job position was stable and there was not a lot of stress. Yet, at some point (almost two weeks after beginning) I had this odd feeling that something is not right. This job does not give me any statement of fulfillment, or I cannot see or feel that I am going in the right direction. And when time passed this feeling was rising. And then at some point I’ve got a clear understanding that I’m not getting anywhere far on this road, nor professionally not personally so I have had quit and found something else, which is more stressful, more demanding, much more time consuming yet exciting…
This kind of feelings are not only applicable towards work, but also applicable towards people, hobbies and goals.
So here is my understanding of Unicorn and Ghosts.
- Unicorn — Mystical creature, which cannot be caught yet is a symbol of happiness and good health if seen. Is depicted as a horse (a bull in the earlier versions of legends) with single horn. Those who attend to catch it, go through different kinds of extremely tough challenges, invest excessive amount of their time and energy in this hunt, yet the closest they can get is to have a glimpse on this magnificent creature for a few seconds before it vanishes again, and somehow it is enough for them to fill that hunt was not in vain and they have gotten very much of it.
In my opinion, mental state of the “Unicorn Hunter” is the state of going after specific goal, object, person which you feel is right. The only beacon you use to verify that you are in the “Unicorn Hunter” state is your intuition. You just feel it is right. Even if you go through hell of the challenges and are misunderstood or rejected by the society, you somehow just know that this is the right thing for you. You strive for the best, and do not go with “acceptable” or “mediocre”. You want to be the best in the sport, career, hobby and achieve top of the mountain and catch that unicorn. To be the first one who managed to do it. You feel awesome while doing it also. Sometimes you get tired and irritated, yet after some time of good rest you are ready to get back in the game. This is the “State of Unicorn Hunter” in my opinion.
Sometimes you also meet Unicorn people. Some of them are your friends, some of them might be your role models and some of them you might see only once. But they all have the same effect on you. After talking with them or seeing them doing something, you want to become the “Unicorn Hunter”, you want to become the best of the game. And I am not talking about becoming the best of yourself and saying that you are at your max and only you know it. I am speaking of becoming the best in the city, country, world. These people have strange type of aura around them. They turn your inner dreamer, hunter and creator on and push you to greatness, sometimes without saying a word…
- And now for the “Ghosts”. According to folklore, ghosts are the souls of the dead which cannot go to the heaven or hell, because they have been cursed, or have unfinished business in this world or for some other reason. Yet, they are restless entities which have to do the same thing over and over and over again, in the same place (usually they are linked with one house or castle) and cannot do anything about it, unless someone will help them to break this chain and set them free. Most of them are depicted evil. They scare people, kill them and some of them might just drain the life out of the person but not kill them. I take this last type of life-draining ghosts as example of “Ghost seeking adventurer”. Many people are thrilled with paranormal activity and sometimes go to haunted houses, spend nights there to take a photos of ghosts etc. (Very popular beginning in horror movies by the way). Yet, usually even if they are able to catch a ghost on photo or see one, they stop being that thrilled. Some people who used to spend nights in the haunted houses have stated that it was very dark and cold nights, which literally have drained some of the energy and happiness out of them (like The Dementors in Harry Potter franchise). Though this stories don’t stop more enthusiasts to try catching a ghost the ending is usually the same.
The thing is that in everyday life we encounter the same type of ghost jobs and ghost people. At the beginning we might be thrilled about the opportunity to work for a prestige brand or try to get cool friends etc. Our intuition tickles like Spider Sense warning us about the danger, yet everything looks fine, and usually we get support from the surrounding so we go for it. We get a moment of satisfaction and pleasure. But it is short and it doesn’t feel anything close to fulfilling emotion after you see the unicorn. Though we try to catch the ghost again, and again we get the moment of pleasure which fades away really quickly and at some points this ghost seeking adventure begins to drain us, until we become dry. The mental breakdown happens, we begin to become permanently irritated and mean. Stop seeing good things and become like grumpy cats. And then we start blaming others for what have happened to us…
P.S. These are two definitions of most interesting mental states which I have been observing in myself and others for some time. The most important thing to distinguish whether you are hunting an unicorn or seeking a ghost is your inner voice (intuition). In order to hear it, you allow yourself to spend time on your own thinking and feeling through your life.