I met someone recently who dreams of being a writer. His parents support his desire to write, but worry that he doesn’t understand how difficult the writing profession is. When I asked him what he planned to do after high school, he gave me the answer I know his parents wanted to hear: “I’m going to find a job to support my dream of writing.”
As a parent of a two college students, I too would be concerned if my kids had dreams that only a few are able to achieve. And yet at the same time, I don’t want them to be limited because I and society says it’s nearly impossible to achieve.
It makes me think of an interview with Neil deGrasse Tyson when he was on a panel answering questions about science. One man asked if there were more men in science because of genetics (yes… he really asked that). deGrasse Tyson took the question saying that he’d never been a woman, but he’d been black all his life. As a youngster, when he told people he wanted to be an astrophysicist, they would try to talk him out of it, presumably because he was black. His point was that until society stopped telling girls they weren’t smart enough for science, we couldn’t really know if genetics played a roll.
Society isn’t the only one telling us we can’t do things. The biggest obstacle to doing what you want is most likely you. We get bogged down in what we think we should to. We play it safe. As a result, the dreams are put aside.
I’m not telling you to quit your job and buy a cool car and a mansion on the beach. I actually believe in being responsible and having options. But that doesn’t mean you can’t do and become what you want. I would love to spend my days writing novels. It wouldn’t be prudent for me to quit everything I’m doing to earn a living so I can weave my tales that may never sell. I can’t quit the work I do, but that doesn’t mean I can’t write. As I told the young writer I spoke to recently, “Stephen King worked as an English teacher until he started making money with his writing.” You can live bits of your dream every day.
The trick to putting your dreams in everyday life is to give up the all or nothing attitude. If you can’t live your dream exactly as you see it in your mind, you don’t do it at all. You don’t even try. But what if you did something everyday related to that dream? It would nurture your soul and lift your spirits. Eventually, like Stephan King, you might even be able to give up the safe job and live your dream full time.
You many not be able to live your life indulging in your dreams 24/7, but what if you could find 5, 10, 15 minutes or more a day to live them? What would you do?