Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about my own dreams and hopes for my future. I want to be a novelist, I like writing stories and my dream is to be up there with greats like Terry Pratchett, J K. Rowling, Stephen King, Johnathan Stroud, Neil Gaiman, etc, and so on.
I’ve pursued my dream in my own way. I even wrote a book, a collection of short stories about ghosts that hang out in a pub called What a Scythe. Each story follows an adventure of one or two of them. If you’re interested you can check it out for yourself here.
Sadly it hasn’t done great. It’s done okay but it isn’t the off the shelf, sold out in the first hour success I had hoped it would be. But hey, I knew that could happen and I still wanted to try, and I don’t regret it.
So for anyone who has a big dream that they want to pursue, this post is for you. Now bear in mind that this is just random advice from one person and is in no way professional advice; so take everything that is said here with a grain of salt.
If you want to chase your dreams that’s fine, but you need to be realistic. Whatever great idea you might have, you’re free to work on it, but you need to be grounded. Not everything will happen immediately; sometimes it will take years before your work shows any results so don’t think your dream will come true right away.
What do you need to be prepared for? The fact that you might fail. I mean it does happen, you work super hard on something you are passionate about, you spend all your time and effort on it and then when you put it out there for the world to see, nothing happens, no one cares. So just be ready for that. Be prepared to fail and be ready to try again. Learn from your failure and go at it again.
It’s okay to have a back-up plan.
You can’t always give up everything to pursue your dreams. Sure, people talk about how they put their all into the dream and became super successful, but those are the lucky ones. Hardly anyone talks about the people who did the exact same thing but failed, or the ones who have been doing it for years and still haven’t reached their goal.
Should they give up? Should you give up? No, absolutely not. Don’t give up on your dreams, but don’t think you are giving up on them by having a back-up plan.
A very good example is in this TED Talk by Adam Grant.
The talk is about original thinkers and their habits. In the talk, he talks about how a student approached him about a business idea he had with his friends regarding a new e-commerce website and he was asking Adam Grant to invest in it. Adam Grant asked him all sorts of questions like: did you work on this all summer? Will they go in full time once they graduate?
The answers were no, they had taken internships in case the idea doesn’t work out and that they had jobs as back-ups, heck they didn’t even have a website ready a day before the launch.
That company was Warby Parker, now a very successful eyeglasses company. Of course, the point of the video is to talk about original thinkers and their habits but I hope you can see the point I am trying to make.
Remember that things change. Sometimes, now is not the right time for you to pursue your dreams. Sometimes life gets in the way; maybe you have responsibilities, maybe people aren’t ready for your work, maybe you’re not ready to chase your dreams to its fullest extent, maybe you don’t know everything you need to, or have everything you need to pursue your dreams. But times change, circumstances change, you change. Even if things didn’t work out then or now, doesn’t mean they won’t later. So, if you need to stop chasing your dreams for a while, it’s okay. Don’t think of it as giving up; think of it as putting it on hold.
I guess what I’m trying to say is never give up on your dreams but be ready to own your failures too, and also give yourself a safety net if you need it.
The sad truth is, the world doesn’t owe us anything. Our destiny is in our own hands. That is the most freeing and the scariest fact that I know about life.
I hope you liked this post and I hope you have a good day ahead.