“I want to be a movie star.” “I want to be a rock star.” “I want to be a world renown author.” “I want to be the best parent.” “I want to be the best spouse.” Why not? What’s wrong with having lofty dreams? The answer – maybe nothing. Maybe you should go for your dreams. Maybe you need to stop making excuses and go for what you want. So what holds us back from going after our dreams? The answer – good and bad reasons.
Let’s first look at the good reasons we may not run after our biggest dreams.
- We shouldn’t run after our dreams if we have already committed to someone or something that needs our best. As a husband and a father I accept the fact that I am limited in my ability to pursue too many things outside of my family. It requires discernment to understand which priorities are most important and it takes discipline to protect and fulfill those priorities. If I wanted to be a movie star or a rock star, which by the way, part of me does want to be, I would have to make a huge shift in priorities in order to accomplish my dream. I am not willing to be away from my family in order to practice, promote, tour, audition, and do all the other things required to make it big in those arenas.
- Our dreams won’t fulfill us like we think they would. Research seems to support that pursuing a dream solely for the perceived benefits that come with the accomplishment are not good enough reasons to sustain the hardships that are required to accomplish the dream in the first place. Dreams are most fulfilling when they are extensions of one’s current love or passion. For example, if I want to be a famous musician it will only be rewarding and sustainable if I love music and if I love to perform. If my goal is just to receive the fame that accompanies success the benefits from fame will eventually run out. Once the passion and love run out, fame will soon feel shallow and meaningless.
- We missed our window of opportunity. Some dreams have a limited time window in order for us to achieve them. A lot of athletic dreams have windows of time that can close regardless of someone’s passion. If you are 30 and you still want to be an Olympic gymnast, you probably missed your window. It would be healthy to let go of that dream and choose another athletic pursuit that might still give you purpose and satisfaction, but is within reach with hard work and discipline.
Bad reasons not to run after our dreams.
- Fear of failure. Most of us have some sense of fear when it comes to pursuing something that seems just outside of our reach. This is a common feeling, but those that achieve goals and dreams find a way to overcome their fears. The misconception is that those that accomplish their dreams don’t have fear of failing or somehow got rid of their fears all together. I don’t believe that is the reality for most. Those that are able to overcome their fears overcome them daily. They find their focal point and refuse to look any other place but where they want to go. Fear is an everyday reality but we have to learn how to look beyond it and set our sights on our goals.
- Disorganized and undisciplined. Few people experience their dreams without being organized and disciplined along the way. Discipline seems to be the most common ingredient in any success story, whether it’s an individual, an organization, a family or a country. Discipline in it’s simplest form is the consistent follow through to do things that are difficult and deemed important for success. Discipline requires a daily commitment to looking beyond the emotions of the day. We go where we look, so set your gaze on your dreams and commit to doing the little and big things everyday.
- Judging our dreams. Some of us fail to accomplish our internal dreams because we have determined that it is wrong to pursue them. Out of some ideal or principle we have judged our dreams and have deemed them off limits. Unless you dream of being a bank robber, drug dealer or a kidnapper, your dreams might not warrant the judgment. Positions of recognition, influence and power, seem to have a negative connotation attached to them. However, it doesn’t seem wrong if someone wants to be a world changer. If you feel like that is who you are supposed to be stop judging yourself and pursue it. Don’t let the judgment of yourself or others prevent you from fulfilling your passions, pursuits and giftings. The world is dependent on people playing their role and we obviously need role players who lead us, inspire us, and change us.