His grin widened, and I could see the fire in his eyes.
“Let’s go,” he said. We hopped into his car and zipped to the ATM. He threw the money at me and said, “I’m in. Let’s make this happen.”
Our thoughts started racing about everything we could do when we locked arms and chased down our dreams. This was the opportunity we’d been searching for. Everything we wanted, right in front of us. And now we were going to do it together. The jolting thrill of this new venture with my best friend kept us up for the next few hours dreaming, strategizing, and envisioning five years from now what our life would be like. We parted ways practically floating on adrenaline and excitement. That was the night my best friend became my business partner.
But then, five days later, before we ever started together, he texts me, “I’m out. Sorry, man.” And just like that, our dream was over.
(photo cred: Latin Post)
We’ve all chosen to start something that we never…
We think the idea sounds great, and we decide we’re going to…
No, but really, this time is the…
Well, actually, maybe tomorrow I’ll…
Meh…I didn’t want to do it any…
Why is it we have a hard time following…
There have been moments in my life where I’ve made a decision, and I made it happen exactly as I envisioned it. And there have been times where I’ve been all in one moment and all out the next. Dissecting the difference between the two in our own lives is the key to unlocking our dreams, passions, and ambitions.
What keeps us from really chasing the opportunities we’re given? From my experience, there are three major dream-stealers:
1) Complicating things
One day, I decided I wanted to run a half-marathon. Two months later, I crossed the finish line beating my goal time. Whereas, one time I decided I was going to write a book, and I forgot about it a week later. Now, both are sizable ambitions that take daily commitment. I’m the same guy in both situations, but one I finished and one I didn’t. I believe it’s because I kept my half-marathon simple. The first thing I did when I decided I was going to do it is I went out for a run. I figured out strategies for rest, endurance, and training later, but I knew if I was going to cross the 13.1 mile finish line having never run more than 2 miles in my life, I just needed to start running. When I decided I was going to write a book, I took three hours to figure out how I wanted to go about it. I set up a brainstorming meeting with other people who only convoluted my vision. Then I called a mentor to figure out how I should start. After toiling for a week, I quit before I wrote a single word. I over-complicated what it takes to write a book. I simplified what it took to run the race. One I failed; one I finished. Complication kills motivation, and simplicity amplifies it. Keep it simple, and start moving towards your ambition now. You can always figure out strategy and get better as you go, but if you wait to figure out how to do it “right” before you ever begin, you might not ever start.
In seventh grade, I was offered an opportunity to take one test to skip 8th grade. I went in and intentionally bombed the test because I didn’t want to leave my friends. I was happy where I was at. Three months later, I lost all of my friends, and I was ostracized. I became very uncomfortable going to a school where I felt everyone hated me. In that place, I decided I wanted to skip a grade to get out of the situation, but my school wouldn’t let me. So, I found my own way by going through a university and taking a series of nine tests over the course of three months. When I felt complacent where I was at, taking one test felt like a complete inconvenience, and it didn’t line up with what I wanted to do. I wanted to be with my friends, and so I wasn’t motivated to do anything outside of what I already had going on. But when I didn’t like the way my life was going, I moved mountains to change things. Taking on any opportunity to make things better, you have to want to get to where you’re going more than you want to stay where you’re at. Get uncomfortable with the way things are compared to where you envision they could be. And when you’re either pushed away from your present because you’re unhappy or pulled towards your future because it captivates you, you’ll close the gap between here and there.
Another friend of mine was sitting together with me in my living room, and he was talking to me about an opportunity he started to chase down his dreams. He told me, “Man, I just want to be prepared for things when they go downhill. I always want to see the worst case scenario because chances are it might happen. I’d rather be prepared for it than surprised by it.” In other words, he was spending all his time thinking, What if it doesn’t work? One of the easiest ways to fail an opportunity is to focus on the risk, focus on the negativity, and focus on the outcomes you’re trying to avoid. Whatever you focus on is going to be what you find, and if you’re being cynical about an opportunity in order to prepare for failure, you’ll probably find yourself saying, “See, I told you so.” If the best case scenario of your thinking is, “I knew I was going to fail,” you’re going to have a hard time throwing your full weight into making something work. Instead, you’re wasting effort being cynical that you could be using to be successful. You can be cynical, or you can be successful, but you can’t be both.[clickToTweet tweet=”Ever dreamed of chasing your passion? Beware: three dream-stealers might keep you from doing that” quote=”Ever dreamed of chasing your passion? Beware: three dream-stealers might keep you from doing that”]
(Photo cred: Boomsbeat)
In the end, if you keep things simple, if you want to get to where you’re going more than you want to be where you’re at, and if you focus on things that will help you get there, you’re going to set yourself up for success. Taking action on an idea you’ve started doesn’t have to be hard. In fact, the harder you make it, the less chance you have to succeed. If you get out of your head and let your excitement drive you towards simple actions that move you forward, you’ll be well on your way to becoming an artist, a singer, a firefighter, a nurse, a husband, a mom, a drummer, a pilot, a success. Don’t let your dream die—you can live the life you want to live. It starts here and now pushing past whatever’s holding you back. Get started. For the first time or the hundredth because you can. Get after it.