Most of us do not want to admit that we get in our own way.
It’s way easier to post the most flattering Instagram picture of our lives and let everyone assume that everything is going EXACTLY like we planned. My question is, if you and I both know that’s BS- Why do we still do it? Why do we deliberately say no instead of yes to opportunities we know deep down are made for us? Or worse, why do we quit at the first sign of difficulty, or progress? I have been like that my whole life… I purposely played down my strengths at risk of coming off too arrogant or pushy, but the funny thing is people still saw me as arrogant or pushy despite my efforts. I constantly thought that the things I really wanted couldn’t ACTUALLY be mine because…because who am I? I’m not the prettiest or most intelligent person out there. I can’t move mountains or turn water into wine so, why would anyone want to listen to me? The irony is that the very traits that don’t measure up to my peers are the very traits that I’ve been gifted to stand out with. It doesn’t matter if I find them intriguing or not, it’s not about me. It’s about contributing to this big blue/green marble while I have time to. Everyone has a responsibility to pursue their dreams because it makes the world better. It’s not a matter of if you can, it’s your duty to fulfill what you know you’re supposed to. We all have greatness buried deep inside us and we must be willing to dig. I still fight with accepting the truth that all people who we define as admirable in society are just people who did not let the noise in their mind get in the way of their vision for their life. When you dissect all of the particular differences between Us and Them, there are very few- if any. But the problem is we have heard this all before. You must believe in yourself, You’re perfect the way you are, blah blah blah. Trust me when I say that I am no constant rainbow, nor do I think I hold the answers to a deep ridden psychological issue. I’m writing this because I have paid attention to my own thought process which is embarrassing and agitating to share, yet necessary. It’s necessary because I know if I have felt this way it’s guaranteed that someone else has too.
Below are those unfavorable thoughts in your head that take center stage whenever you start considering making your dreams a reality.
You Waited Too Long
In Jordan Peterson’s book 12 Rules for Life, An Antidote to Chaos there is a chapter that sums it all up- Compare yourself to who you were yesterday, not to who someone else is today. If that advice would sink into our bones, we would be better off as a species! I adore Peterson and all his work (more on that in a different blog) but I feel like this well tailored sentence speaks volumes to the unwavering insecurity that has made nest in my consciousness for years. I would constantly compare my life to the lives of people I knew growing up and developed this unattractive competitive spirit whenever it seemed like they were “doing better then me.” Funny thing is, I don’t really know what that means… I guess at the time it meant they owned more than me, had more money, were thinner, prettier, in love, etc. Yet, that doesn’t mean they are “doing better.” It’s all relative, which I see now, but was severely blinded to back then. When I felt like the loser in the scenario, instead of rationally thinking of how I can change or pursue something similar to my friend-petitors (friends that you secretly compete with) I would tell myself that I missed the ship, or that I waited too long. And with that, the self depreciation commenced. It’s natural to go into a panic when someone you know accomplishes something. It feels like Oh God, what have I been doing with my life? Or since they have accomplished this thing already that no one else can. This is the thought that made me waste so much time believing that I had no time. A swarm of anxiety would take over me and I would press play on the record that acted as the soundtrack to my unnecessary depression. It’s weird how if you’re not careful, you can end up worsening your pain in an attempt to feel better.
What makes me different now is that I don’t pay attention to time as much as I once did. I know that my mind is not my friend and if I give it too much attention it will run the whole show. I take practical steps too. If someone I know on social media makes me feel bad about myself just by looking at their posts, I unfollow them. You can do that you know. Just saying… I get rid of all things that are not in support of the vision I have for my life. Sometimes it’s painful, when you have to leave people and places behind, but this is where priorities come in. I care way too much about my happiness and fulfillment to entertain those things that suck out the energy that I need to make sh** happen. I remind myself that everything has a reason and a season and that just because someone that I know was blessed does not mean that I can’t receive that blessing too. In fact, there is a pastor, John Jenkins, who said that if someone you know gets blessed you should be ecstatic not jealous because that means that God is in the neighborhood! That really helped me out. It gave me a great perspective on my surroundings and a better appreciation for all the goodness that can happen if we let it. All the biggest influencers in the world are not concerned with what other people are doing or saying. You never hear them gossip. Eleanor Rosevelt said it best- Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people. Once I put focus on what I wanted and actually WORKED at it, I didn’t have time to check up on what everyone else was doing. I am too busy. Believe me, I am a work in progress, but I am progressing because I know that I can. I did not take too long to decide on something, I took the time to decide on the right thing. I have faith that I am exactly where I need to be and will continue to move to where I need to go. Your destiny will not be fulfilled without you. For some, it takes longer to accept what you must do to feel like you are living a life with meaning, and that is just fine. We all have different timelines. I see that any progress I make from yesterday is worth praise from myself. I am only competing with me which means, only I can win!
Your Dreams Are Unrealistic
I want to travel to every country, own my own lucrative business, marry the love of my life, raise a loving family, and help change the world.
Is that so much to ask?
God forbid you mention these aspirations to your everyday pessimist because they will swat them down sooner then the words escape your lips. They will say they are too big and lofty and that you are too idealistic. The tricky thing is that the pessimist is most likely you. This is definitely a point that keeps most great people from sharing that they are great. We underestimate ourselves so much and settle far more often then we should. The idea that a dream is unrealistic makes me laugh because that’s kind of the definition, in a way. When we have a dream, it’s not real yet so, of course it’s unrealistic. It’s our job to make it real. If you can visualize yourself in the blessing that you hope for with 20/20 vision, the clarity is no coincidence. This is why walking by faith and not by sight is imperative to materializing anything in this life. I strongly believe that you would not have the dream if you could not make it happen. Period. The difficulty is remaining focused in faith on your dream despite what chatter may be going on around or inside of you. All of that does not matter nor serve you. You know what you saw. You know how it felt. Who has the authority to tell you otherwise?
Everything is impossible until it’s not anymore. You see this in sports, technology, politics, people, everything! It’s lazy to think a dream is unrealistic. Can you trace back to when you were told that your dreams were unrealistic? I think that is an important moment in anyone’s life to remember because it was then when you stopped listening to your intuition. Our intuition is all we have to navigate in life- everything else is secondary. The older I get the clearer it becomes that no one knows what they are talking about- including me! Wait! Before you click out of the page let me explain… All people go to their intuition in order to know if something is right to do or if something has value. They acknowledge how they feel. Again, this is not meant to be a hippy dippy explanation, but if you track every final decision you have made in your life, facts only took you part of the way. I don’t care how smart you think you are, the defining 10% that move anyone to decide is intuition. Intuition requires you to trust that which you cannot physically see, will one day be seen. This is a challenge, but it is not unrealistic nor impossible. Don’t let the world fool you. The more people they can have believe that false idea, the more control they have to keep you where is most convenient for them- scared, insecure, and lazy.
No dream is unrealistic if you match your actions to your beliefs.
You Won’t Fit In
This is going to be fun to unpack… Ok, here’s the bottom line- if you are ambitious and have big goals for your life you are not going to fit in with most people, you will have fewer friends, and most won’t take you seriously. Pretty uplifting huh? It’s true. We are taught from a young age to find our place and we mistakingly think that we need a group of people to affirm where that is. As soon as I started to pursue the things that lit me up inside I noticed that I rarely, if ever, would spend time going out with friends, drinking, shopping, etc. I lost sight of all popular culture and could not follow the latest gossip to save my life. Whenever I did check in with the world around me I was so dissatisfied to find that almost everyone was using their time complaining about something in their life that they had the power to change, but didn’t. Then they tried to justify the waste of their time with their belief that they deserved it and were trying their best. God, it really gets under my skin to see so much self righteousness and willing defeat displayed by some people just because their aims were not fitting well with their indulgences. This is something that I battle daily. Doing what is right is not easy and not popular. Since friends and family will not quite see what you see for your life they will then project onto you. Whenever those around you see that you are changing and making progress toward your vision their own insecurities surface. If you start to lose weight they will say that you look fine and you don’t need to lose anymore or if you work a lot to build something for yourself they will say that you work too much and you need to take a break. In their defense, they mean well and no one notices how detrimental these comments can become. This is where your faith has to come back in. You cannot expect the world to change because you have. Also, you can’t expect others to see what you see. At times, it will be rough because no one will understand you nor give encouraging words. You will feel utterly alone.
Don’t let this shake you. It is in these moments that we build the character that we need to sustain the dream placed on our hearts. It’s the test. Do you really want what you say you want?
Like, right now I am writing this blog and I have set a deadline to finish this today to stay on track. Here’s the thing, I’m tired and hungry and there are several more sexy things I could be doing at this very moment instead of sitting and typing. But I want to provide value within this reading and I want to prove to myself that I can stay consistent. No matter what. Most of the time we suck at being bosses to ourselves and we are poor at being employees too. Yet discipline is the key factor, at least for me, that gets me to where I want to go. You can’t wait until you feel like doing something… And you can’t wait until everyone around you supports you…The only person you need to convince that your dreams are worth fighting for is yourself. Nothing and no one else matters. When all is said and done and you are running that million dollar business or in your 100th country traveling, the people you know will do 1 of 2 things. They will wonder how you knew you would get there, or say that they knew you would do it the whole time. Before you lash out completely and call them out on their absurdities remember that you have given them a gift that is so precious. You are the proof that dreams can happen and that fitting in or worrying about what others say can be a cancer. You act as the real life example to them that they should take their dreams seriously, almost like an extreme to-do list. The roles will reverse and everyone will ask how to be more like you when before they questioned why you weren’t more like them.
You Don’t Deserve Success
This one is hard. It’s sneaky too. Most of us don’t out right say that we don’t deserve success, but we act it out daily. This point is probably my biggest challenge. The silly idea that success is reserved for a certain group of people, or that successful people have always been that way or had more advantages than I did. If I keep feasting on this lie I will grow fat with deceit. It’s not true. Success is not some commodity that only the lucky ones get. It’s a decision. I know that this all seems rather preachy, and maybe it is, but our minds are so much more fortitudinous then we allow them to be. Think of when you were a kid. Simpler times, right? When you wanted something, you didn’t hem and haw over if it was the right thing, or if others understood you, or if you were worthy. The mere thought of it drove you into action. You assumed that it was for you because you thought of it. Why do we lose such a wonderful trait? Everyone deserves to enjoy their life on earth however they see fit as long as they don’t harm others, but why don’t we let ourselves? How come success is so scary? Well, it forces us to abandon our comfort zones which means we are uncomfortable. Duh. When we succeed we have more to lose which is risky. Risk. This is the word that is fun to ponder, but taxing to practice. We all instinctively know that risk is a part of life. Try as you might, you will be faced with risk at one point or another. Success requires risk. Nothing will change in our life if we don’t disrupt the monotony and take a chance. We know this. My view on this belief isn’t that we don’t deserve success it’s that we are scared of it. We don’t want to admit that we don’t desire all the added responsibility that comes with success. We want the superficial appeal, but the behind the scenes blood that goes into it we can do without. So we falsely tell ourselves it’s not for us because it’s too hard. Why are we so lazy? Why is it ok to be this lazy in today’s culture? It does not have to be that way. Here is the thing, life will have hard times whether you aim for success or not so why not aim for success? Seriously, what else are you gonna do?
I think it is important to define what success means for you. Success is one of those ambiguous words like love, or wealth that means several things to several people. It’s crucial to clearly define it for yourself. If we fail to define it we will never achieve it and then unwittingly work toward someone else’s definition. It’s great to have a big picture in mind of what success looks like for you, but only having a big picture will almost guarantee that you won’t attain it because it’s too amplified to put into practice each day. How would you break down that grand vision of success into everyday action? What would that look like? This way of approaching success is much more trackable and rewarding. You can find pride in your adherence to your vision and then those floating dreams develop a string that keeps them grounded. This is the approach that works for me. It’s too overwhelming otherwise. Breaking down success into day to day accomplishments. I like to have practical actions to execute because if I don’t I feel like I’m speaking hollow words. It’s not a matter of not deserving success, it’s a matter of defining it and taking the little actions each day toward it.
If you can’t figure out what success is then how can you recognize it, let alone achieve it?
You Might Fail
Let me assure you of something that will happen while you pursue your dreams- you will most definitely fail. I know that is exactly the opposite of what you want to hear, but it’s the truth. No need to fret though! Failing is the secret passage way to success. You have your dream, let’s say it’s losing 30 lbs, and and you do really great putting into action each day the tasks you have to do to achieve that dream, but then something happens. You miss a workout, go to bed too late, or worse- gain weight! You think, Can I get anything right? I am such a failure. I knew that this was unrealistic. I need to accept that this is how my life will always be. First off, chill out. It is not the end of the world and we all are not perfect so don’t expect yourself to be. Next, these set backs are so important to learn about our growing selves. When we fail or have a set back we have an opportunity to discover what makes us tick, what we are lacking, and what our inner monologues are. What do I mean? Well, let’s stick with the earlier example and say that I am trying to lose weight, but I gained a pound. What should I do? Investigate. Figure out where in my life I am not balanced or where I could use some extra TLC and then adjust! It’s a learning process. We must check our egos while on our individual journeys because if we foolishly think that we have all the answers starting out we are not allowing ourselves to be human. We have to allow growth to happen. Do you really think you will stay the same person as you are now after you fulfill your dream? Seriously? This is my point. For me, the most pivotal times in my life came from a perceived failure. That is when I got to really hear my inner voice and check in with my spirit. I tried to treat myself with care instead of malice and by doing that it was much easier to pick right back up and keep going. I invite you to listen to your inner voice when you are in the midst of a failure. You would be surprised at how much you learn.
Life is all about acceptance and perception. We want to be accepted by what we perceive to be important. We all want to feel like we are on the right path and that we are contributing to society what was meant for us to contribute, but we must get the idea out of our mind that failure is a bad thing on our journey. Doors close for a reason. I have sadly given up on dreams in the past at the first sign of failure which is hard to admit, but vital to share. I’ve seen that once you declare that you want something in the world everything against you will show its face and everything in support of you will seem further then you can reach. These are the defining moments. If you make up your mind that you will accomplish something no matter what, you will. I’m not saying that it will be easy, or that you won’t stumble, but if you continue on in spite of these uncertainties, you will persevere. All the greats aren’t winners because they always win. They are failures that kept failing until one day, they didn’t.