Why do people give up on chasing their dreams?

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Dream BigHappy Monday everyone! For most this is the dreaded day of the week but today comes after a phenomenal weekend of Athletics with Mo Farrah retaining his gold in the 10,000m, rounded off by the legendary Usain Bolt winning a third 100m Olympic gold in the early hours of this morning (UK time). The sun is also shining and we are experiencing proper summer temperatures today – a refreshing change.  So again I say to you all happy Monday.

I always find the Olympics inspiring – I love the stories of the daily early rises, relentless training schedules and commitment of the athletes. Some of these journeys started off as early as age 4, with Rio 2016 being the culmination of what began as a dream. This got me thinking what makes so many give up on chasing their dreams…

It is often easier to go along with the norm

There’s a script for this and it falls nicely in line with others expectations. Go to school, get a good job and retire in your sixties. If this is your desire, (I can remember a former colleague telling me that he had wanted to be an auditor since childhood, so it is possible), follow the plan. However if you aim to have your own business, become a successful recording artist or professional sportsperson you will often need to create a path. This brings us swiftly on to the next obstacle…

Fear

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.” – Nelson Mandela

Probably the most common reason for one giving up on a dream is the fear of failure. I guess this all depends on outlook – some people think it’s better to try (and possibly) fail versus wondering “what if “. Failure is a possibility, but what if you succeed? You will never know unless you take the chance.

Not willing to make the sacrifice

Sacrifice is more often than not a requirement in the journey towards your dream. Adam Peaty’s (Olympic 100m Breaststroke Gold Medallist) sacrifice consisted of 4am starts six days a week, not drinking alcohol or doing nights out. Most of us would have to admit that this is not being the typical expectation of a 21 year old. This may be too much of a sacrifice in some eyes but I’m pretty certain the payoff (gold medal, new opportunities and potential endorsement deals) will more than make up for it.

Pursuing your goals takes time and commitment. The journey may be tough but aside from bringing you closer to your dream (if you push through) the challenges will develop you as a person. Embarking on this blogging journey the things I have learned the most from have been the mistakes I’ve made. Sometimes you just have to get out there and “fail fast” in order to polish your skills.

It’s too late now

“I’m 30/40/whatever age, therefore it’s too late for me to change course now”.

One thing is certain – we have a finite amount of time in our lives, so we might as well make the most of it. Granted if your dream was to become a World Champion Gymnast you may have needed to start at a young age, however it’s not too late to start many other things. If you want to write, get writing, if you always wanted to showcase your painting work, it can be done. The internet has made so many things more accessible.

We find excuses

I can understand why, there are risks involved. Some may be genuine; others are given to largely mask the fear of stepping into the unknown.  Either way there are ways to mitigate each, so here are my responses to the most common.

“I don’t have enough time/skill/connections”. For time, starting your day an hour earlier is enough to start moving towards your dream. Identify any skills gaps you may have – is there a course you can take to get up to speed? Is there someone in your network with the necessary skill? Change the mind-set from what you are lacking to how I can best use what I have.  As for connections you will build these one at a time, just start getting yourself out there.

“I don’t know where to start”. Generally dreams aren’t small – they are large undertakings that will involve many steps. The best way to get started is to break it down into smaller chunks. If you are still struggling to get started, think of what 3 things you could do today to get you started on your journey.

“I have other people to consider”. Having a family brings with it responsibilities and you will have to consider how following your dream will impact that. For example if setting up a business will initially result in a fall in household income, you could save a buffer fund to cover the shortfall, whilst you are getting the business of the ground. Once you identify the potential impact on your family you can then identify solutions.

“I may fail”. – see fear section above.

Embarking on the journey to your dreams is not easy. The road is full of challenges, setbacks, difficulties, you name it. For me living an unfulfilled life is worse. Does it mean I don’t face the same fears/ urges to use the excuses above? No – I feel the fear but take action anyway. Luckily I have a great circle of friends who will tell me to stop when they hear the excuses coming. Surround yourself with great people who will encourage and push you on your journey. Most important of all try to enjoy the process.

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