Many of us have heard these horrible words in life. “Horrible” is a strong word, but consider that it fits. Our species has made progress based on the notion of doing the impossible, from developing the wheel and fire to computers, gene splicing medicine and alternative fuels. A lot of these people were probably told, “It Can’t Be Done!” But they did it anyway. “Impossible” really means that nobody’s done it yet.
Most of us will probably go through life not contributing to humanity to that extent. We can still, however, accomplish great things for ourselves by deciding that we want to do it. The first thing is deciding to do it. This is the easy part. The hard part is actually doing it. Actually, it may not be all that easy to just deciding to do it and making that commitment.
What makes it so hard is not that it may take a lot of time, effort, and maybe money to do it; it’s actually starting on that road. A lot of us get defeated before we even start because we have all sorts of doubts. Certainly there may be people discouraging us, but the worst part is we discouraging ourselves. That is truly the hardest hurdle.
Most people have settled down into a life of mediocrity. They go to school, find a job, get married, raise a family, retire, die. Some people are very happy with that. They like security, and a quiet life is just fine.
Some of us are a little more creative and ambitious. We have a fire burning inside us, and we want to express it. Some people who have a creative streak like to express them through extracurricular activities along with day-to-day lives. Some people like to act or write or paint or star gaze, so they just do it as a hobby and that’s OK. Here in Lake Elsinore we have plenty of outlets for our creative juices. There are clubs, community theater and organizations in our area and it’s easy to get involved. But there are others who want to do those types of things full time.
This is where the naysayers enter the picture. They will tell you how few people ever get to the point where they can indulge their creative juices and make a living. They will go on about how fierce the competition is for such minimal opportunities. They will talk about the odds of someone actually achieving fame and fortune in that area. This is all leading up to—you guessed it!—how you’re not going to make it so don’t even bother.
You look at this person and of course you’re depressed, dejected and defeated. All of your dreams shattered. But stepping back for a minute, you have to wonder. What makes this person so negative? Did they go through a similar disappointment in life and are just bitter? Or are they so upset with their own failure to achieve any dreams that they might have had that it would just kill them to see you succeed? Now they’re imposing their negativity on you. That’s all they know, unfortunately.
Consider that a major part of achieving your dreams comes from self-esteem, having that special relationship with yourself. I can’t emphasize it enough. If you had a friend who came to you and told you they were giving up everything to pursue their dream and were going for it no matter what, either they make it or die trying, there is no compromise, then you’d be right there giving them support. What about ourselves? It’s not just about having confidence or perseverance or belief in yourself—it’s about feeling good enough about yourself and who you are to pursue it to the end.
That doesn’t mean things won’t change along the way. Maybe you want to act. You take classes, go to auditions, find an agent. Then after a while, you decide you don’t want that crazy, break-neck life for whatever reason, but you still want to act. So, you open up a community theater where there is none. Or you teach and do a little acting yourself. Still living the dream, but you’ve adapted to different circumstances.
And that’s OK. You’ve found a way to express your creativity and have a more traditional life-style. You would not, however, have come to this nirvana, though, had you not started on the journey. Because you had that relationship with yourself, you’ve come around and had success.
Nevertheless, it’s still OK to dream big dreams. You may want to be a famous actor or chef. Keep plugging. Take classes, work on your own, do everything that’s involved that discipline. Find a way to work in the industry while you’re developing your talents. Certainly, a lot of successful people in that field started out the same as you. And they made it, so what’s stopping you?
Perhaps they had a little more support from friends and family. Maybe some were told they were crazy and would never succeed. The point is that it’s been done before. People had their dream and they had a force inside, driving them. Some people may have taken longer to succeed as well. How many of us have heard, “I didn’t fail all those times, just found out a bunch of ways it didn’t work”. We need to have faith in ourselves, but sometimes an aphorism or two doesn’t hurt.
Moral of the story: go for it, and stay away from the naysayers.