I used to dream big. I used to dream of being a lot things. I’m not talking about the stereo-typical kid dreams of “I want to be an Astronaut-Fireman-Policeman-President when I grow up.”
I’m talking real dreams. Real desires.
My mom had always encouraged me to dream big. She always made me feel like I was the best at anything, and everything. I remember feeling like I could do anything growing up. I wasn’t scared to try anything because I had so much positive re-enforcement around me; so much so that I was almost naïve to the possibility of failure. In fact, as I got older it, I struggled to deal with failure or mediocrity because I was so used to thinking I was good at what ever I tried (this false sense of greatness and inflated self-esteem is a whole other topic of discussion for a later time).
For as far back as I can remember I had always wanted to be an entertainer. I always wanted to be an actor and stand-up comedian. Growing up I was in drama, theatre and did many other activities that could help me realize my dreams. Along the way I fell in love with music. I learned that I didn’t have the voice to sing (or rap) but I loved making music, so I added producer to my list of things I was going to be when I became an adult.
The beautiful thing about being a kid is that you don’t know that you’re not supposed to limit yourself – a lesson I seem to be learning now, and have been learning since my late 20′s.
That said, my more recent dreams included being a CIO, being a successful entrepreneur and doing radio (blame my experience with having my own podcast for this one).
The 80/20 rule of dreaming
As kids, many of us are taught that we can be anything we want to be if we put our mind to it. Reality tells us otherwise. Not everyone makes it. A sad fact of life is that every dream is not realized.
If you’ve never heard of the 80/20 rule, it is most often spoken of in business. For example: 80% of your income will come from 20% of your customers; or 80% of your problems will come from 20% of you customers.
This rules applies to dreamers as well. It’s seems that 20% of us who dream of being something better, something great, something beyond ordinary, will go after that dream. The rest of us, the 80 percenters, are the ones who take jobs doing something we like. In other words, we settle.
Of the 20% that chase their dreams, 20% of them will actually reach their goals.
So here I am, an 80 percenter. I’m 38 years old, I’ve lived about half of my life and I have no idea what I want to do. I know it’s too late for me to be an actor or a stand-up comedian. I know that I’m too old to produce the kind of music that I love.
And in a sad and sick twist of fate, for the first time since I left the comfort of my mom’s care when I turned 18, I am free to do what ever it is I want to do. I now have the time to go after what ever it is I want to, yet I have no idea what that is. It seems I am void of dreams at this point. As I write this, I try to think about what it is I really want to do in life, and all I can do is draw a blank.
It seems my inspiration is gone. I think the light that once lit all of my child hood dreams has faded away, and gone with it are my hopes of reaching my dreams.
If there is something you want to be, something you want to do, don’t wait. GO FOR IT. Don’t be like me and think, “I’ll have plenty of time to make my dreams come true later.”
It is never to early to chase your dreams, but it can be too late. If you are reading this, and you have a dream that you have never looked into because you thought it was never possible, why not at least pay attention to it? Why not see what it would take to begin the path toward your dream? What’s the worst thing that could happen. The only regret you’ll have is not trying, trust me, I speak from experience.
If you don’t try, I promise you that you will regret it, and one day you may find yourself sitting on a chair in your living room, in front of a fire, on your laptop writing in a blog very few people will ever read, regretting that you never even tried to chase your dreams.
So I say to you go for it. Be a 20 percenter!
And I’ll leave you with this:
Regret is the product of the dreamer that never did. Memories are the product of the dreamer that tried. Satisfaction is the product of the dreamer that achieved.
What do you want to have when you look back on your life?
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