To Pursue or to Ignore Your Dreams – That Is the Question
It’s easy to snort and mock this whole notion of “follow your dreams” and tell someone to get real. And it is so much easier to do that than to take them seriously. I should know. I’ve said that before!
Whether it’s just a linguistic coincidence or more, the word dream means two disparate things. Might they be related?
There came a day when the risk to remain tight in the bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.
One meaning of the word dream is the fantasy world that comes alive when you are in the underworld, the world of sleep and slumber that lasts but milliseconds, leaving no trace, no memory, and if you are apt to forgetting such things, well, no significance either.
And the other meaning of the word dream is a word you use to convey your deep desires, your yearning for a life you hope to live, and your aspiration of what and whom you could become someday.
Just know this: Dreams are a fragile world you build up in your mind, and nurture in your heart, and whether they comes to be or not is all on you, darling. Just On You.
If you take your dreams to heart, if you guard and protect them as your greatest possession, if you let them light you up and never breathe a negative word about them, and most of all, if you go after them with a stick, well, you will catch them sooner or later. They will be one and the same with your life and your reality.
In other words, clichÃ© as it might be, your dreams will come true.
But if you ignore them, and declare them separate and disconnected from any realm of possibility, well then there they shall stay. They will become unachievable and impossible just as you said they would.
And here’s the thing, nobody is going to begrudge you if you throw away all your dreams and live an ordinary life. It’s those who go after the dreams with that stick that get the most criticism and often the least love.
Which almost brings me to the downside of following your big dreams but first, my loud opinion on the matter if you please:
There is absolutely no question that you should, you must, you absolutely have to follow your dreams. Period.
I know, I know, that sounds pretty strong but after ignoring my own dreams for so long, I gotta be clear on this one. They say to pick your battles and I’m picking this one to tell you again:
- Don’t ignore your dreams.
- Don’t make them smaller to fit other people’s vision and plans for you.
- Don’t run your dreams by others.
- Don’t seek approval for your dreams.
- Don’t be ashamed or guilty about your dreams.
- Don’t try to fit your dreams of tomorrow into a category box of today.
The Downside of Following Your Dreams
Okay, now onto the downside of following your dreams, because everything has a downside. How else are we supposed to earn the fruits of our labor after all?
The downside of following your dreams is that it can get pretty darn lonely.
Living an ordinary life gives you lots of company. You are never alone in your path of following what has been done, and doing what you were taught and shown to do. That’s where most people hang out. You get to hang out with them. Make friends. Be buddies. Etc.
But following a big dream means stepping out of that path, and changing the course of your life. The bigger the dream, the more radical the change of course.
And whether you like it or not, that means leaving behind some relationships, or family or friendships. It also means moving way outside your comfort zone to a place very few like to hang out.
It means going against the flow. Moving in the opposite direction of the tide. And leaving the masses to join a few who choose to walk that way.
See, the downside of following your dreams is that you might have to follow them alone.
You can’t recruit an army, expect family cheers, and get your friends to celebrate this bold choice. Some might, but many will just quietly disappear from your life or have little to say to you because they find it so hard to relate anymore.
They can no longer commiserate with you on what they were going through because you are going through something else altogether!!!
Because in order to follow big dreams in a world that is full of negativity and despair, you first need to change your mindset, you need to shift your perspective, and you need to see everything from a different lens: The lens of tireless, obstinate optimism (combined no doubt with your hard work).
What to Do About the Downside of Dreams
The downside is that it gets lonely. Very lonely. The moment you decide to go after your dreams with that stick, you are parting ways with the old you and meeting the brave new one. You may also have to part ways with people who used to be your big supporters in life and “got you” but that doesn’t mean you have to do it alone.
Lonely as it may get, you don’t have to go after your dreams alone.
In my coaching programs, I teach employees who want to get out of their jobs and pursue a different path to the pillars of success and one of those early pillars is to create your support system. It’s true enough that you may lose some or all of your previous support system but you have got to have A support system.
Where do you get this support system?
In the class, I first encourage my students to seek it in their primary support in their life partner – their spouse or a live-in partner or whomever they share their lives with. Everyone outside this circle can do as they please but it’s important and really great to bring this person – if one such exists – onboard.
If not, then find your primary source of support in any of the other places such as in a mentor, a coach, a new friend that you meet through Meet-ups or online communities or social media or membership sites that are focused on your areas of focus and passion.
That’s it. Start with a single primary source of support.
You do not need a whole village to keep you going in the pursuit of your dreams. You need one person. And they don’t have to do much. They don’t have to give a speech or anything. You just need another beating heart and breathing soul besides yourself that says, “I believe in you. Keep going.”