“The graveyard is the richest place on earth, because it is here that you will find all the hopes and dreams that were never fulfilled, the books that were never written, the songs that were never sung, the inventions that were never shared, the cures that were never discovered, all because someone was too afraid to take that first step, keep with the problem, or determined to carry out their dream.” ~ Les Brown
Why is it that we don’t follow our dreams?
I started coaching in 2013, and since then, people shared with me hundreds of dreams about what they would love to do or accomplish. Very often, they’ve had those for years or even decades.
They told me about the books they wanted to write that they had been thinking about for years.
They told me about businesses they had been fantasising about starting.
They told me about their dream of speaking on stage and inspiring hundreds or even thousands of people.
I could go on and on. But the story is usually the same: I haven’t done much about it.
I always ask them:
“What’s been holding you back from going for it?”
The answer tends to be the same.
“I don’t know.”
We always know.
Let me tell you a quick story about a friend of mine who had a dream, too, and why he never followed it.
It goes years back to when I was studying Psychology. This friend, let’s call him Max, had a dream of becoming a trader. He was always talking and fantasising about trading currencies and stocks, Forex this and index that, having 9 monitors he would be checking all the market movements on. He signed up for courses, read books about trading and followed other successful traders to learn from them. In the 5 years I had known him he would not shut up about it. But in those 5 years, he did not trade a penny. I tried to understand why. What was stopping him? One day we were waking from Uni and he was going on about it again, I asked him a question: “Look, you’ve been talking about becoming a trader for years and it’s always been just a theory. Why don’t you start? What’s the worst thing that can happen?” He went quiet for a moment and then said… “Because, man, this is what I want to do. This is my dream. What if it doesn’t work out? Then I have nothing. For now, at least I have that dream.”
And this is what’s stopping most of us…
You see, when we want something, when we have a dream, we fantasise about it.
We imagine what it would be like in its finest form.
What we would do, how it would feel, and what others would say.
We picture ourselves living our dream, and it feels amazing.
As one of my clients said:
“It has this fuzziness to it that is very comforting and fills us with hope. Hope that it may be possible.”
And we don’t want to lose this fuzzy hope.
So we treat it like some precious china dining set.
We store it up in the cupboard far from the reach of anybody, even ourselves, because it might break.
The reason why most people don’t follow their dreams or give them a proper shot is because: as long as they don’t, they get to keep the dream with all its hope and fuzziness.
Because if they did give it a try, they might find out that it’s out of reach, it would take more work than they are willing to give it, or that it simply is not as good as they imagined. Then, the fuzzy dream bubble would pop, and they have nothing.
That is terrifying for most people because then what?
Maybe this perspective will help you follow your dreams
What if you never give it a try?
Are you going to be ok with it, or will you regret it?
I don’t know many people who regretted following their dreams regardless of whether they achieved them.
One of my amazing clients said:
“The idea of trying to make it real feels like a better life than life not trying to make it real”
“I like the version of me who is trying to make it real”
Let me leave you with a quote I saw the other day.