Should you follow your dreams, or acclimatise to a ‘sensible’ route through life?
There are many blogs posts out there urging us to follow our passions and dreams, inferring that we’re wasting every second of our precious lives if we don’t. Whilst this motion is well-intended, for some, dreams will always be that…..something we only ever explore in our head. It’s not easy or practical for everyone to cast aside responsibilities or security, two things dreams commonly negate.
So, should we follow our hearts or our heads?
On the simplest level, following a long-held plan or passion to see if it has legs is giving into a desire that may have been with you since you can remember – so of course it’s going to feel good, inspirational and make you feel more alive than ever if you choose to pursue it. You’ll most probably be happier and feel like work really isn’t work.
But this inner feeling tends to come with less security, at least in the beginning – and, possibly, for ever more. There’s no doubt sacrifices have to be made if you’re starting again in another trade or profession, regardless of how much you want to do it. Following your dreams isn’t necessarily an easy path, which is why having passion is important – it has to carry you a long way.
But what about those with dependents or families that rely on this security? It’s a difficult decision to potentially rock the foundations of lives other than your own.
Does everyone have a dream?
There are many, many people who don’t feel the extreme of a passionate dream that must be followed, come hell or high water. They’re quite content without one true purpose; instead, finding lots of pleasure through smaller, simple things in life and the relationships they hold with their family, friends and colleagues. It all comes down to your individual values, and what’s most important to you – some people enjoy being the provider for their family, and can happily work in a less inspiring role to do this. They combat potential boredom or any feeling they’re unfulfilled by not allowing their job to define them – it’s just a means to an end. It provides the income to support the things they do enjoy outside of work.
Even when making the leap into the unknown, some can find that the reality never lives up to their dreams. This is too big a risk for others, who are happy to keep a lid on their desires for that very reason.
So many businesses fail in the first three years that it seems a fair assumption not everyone’s plans come to fruition. Passion alone isn’t enough to run a successful enterprise; you need all-round skills in various areas to keep a business afloat.
There are also those who switch from one dream to another, once tried, because they find another passion supersedes the last. Whilst some of us are just prone to daydreaming, the issue can be more deep-rooted, particularly if things are never finished and the perpetual desire for a purpose doesn’t recede once a particular passion is acted upon.
Treasure the small things
There’s nothing wrong in having what others would consider a sensible job through life. Often, this can give you the financial security to indulge your passion as a hobby. Your mind-set is important – we can all find things within our daily lives and routine that inspire and satisfy us if we’re willing to look.
Not following a dream doesn’t mean you’re a failure or someone without a soul; life is what you make it. Wanting something to happen doesn’t mean it will, and statistics show that plenty of people following their dreams return to the security of a monthly wage, perks and benefits and even the loathed 9-5. Yes, there are the fortunate ones who manage to make more than a decent living doing what they love, but there are just as many who put in the years of hard graft without it ever coming to anything, and who even begin to resent the very thing they had a passion for in the first place.
It might not be an either/or issue
If, after reading these points, you’re not even minutely swayed from leaping into the unknown towards your life’s passion, I have no doubt you’ll follow your dreams. It can prove an all-consuming desire that has to be acted upon, whatever the negatives.
In my view, the best dream to have in life is to be happy. Whether this is pursuing an ambition, starting again to build a whole new life, or just learning to be satisfied and grateful for the path you’ve already taken…..as long as you’re happy with your choice, for whatever reason, I think that’s most admirable. Remember: there are always people going through hard times or sad life events outside of their control – whose only dream is to once again be happy and content. It’s true that life is precious and it shouldn’t be wasted, but what one considers a ‘waste’ can differ dramatically from person to person.
Angela Sabin helps executives/managers attain their goals through one-on-one coaching. If you’d like to talk to Angela about your needs and aspirations, contact her on 01302 220021 or via firstname.lastname@example.org.