Why You Aren’t Chasing Your Dreams

There’s something you’d much rather be doing, than whatever you’ll do today. As kids, our future aspirations (which changed frequently) seemed so possible. Is it because we were naïve adolescents? Or were we actually full of the hope and confidence necessary to accomplish our visions, before being drained of that conviction over the years? Our dreams are put through the wringer as we allow laziness, letdowns, and the preconceived notion that we must attend college, obtain a degree and jump into a career squeeze the life out of them, as we succumb to being “realistic.”

So you forget. You disregard your passion, and do whatever pays the bills. Sure there’s that thing you love, but what are the chances of it working out? It’s best to just drop it. But one day something triggers your memory. You watch a low-budget movie that you could’ve acted in or produced. A local singer is gaining exposure, but you’re a better performer than them. A former schoolmate is traveling the globe, and that’s what you always wanted to do. Then, just when you had begun to disregard your fantasies, a nerve is hit and you realize, GASP! You’re not doing what makes you happy!

And so, you continue working for the weekend, questioning what could be. Why aren’t you chasing your dreams? Well, there are plenty of reasons, but here are the main ones.

1. You can’t just quit your job. You’re miserable being overworked and underpaid at a dead-end job, but it’s safe. Why risk being content and comfortable? After all, you can’t just have no means of income and expect to survive. Being scared to quit isn’t a great feeling, but neither is homelessness. You need this job.

I mean, sure you could save, and maybe you even convince yourself momentarily that you will. Then the weekend comes. You spend that extra cash on booze, grub, or a cute top — and voila, those funds are depleted. It’s not your fault that your job pays so low. If they compensated better you’d be saving effortlessly. Yeah, it has absolutely nothing to do with your lack of discipline.

2. You’re afraid to fail. What if you set off to achieve something, then have to return shortly thereafter, because things went awry? What if you look boldor egotistical for aiming at such farfetched targets? Ugh, failing — it’s such a humiliating concept. I mean, you failing means that the doubters are correct, the haters are happy, and the believers are letdown, right? If that’s the case, then it’s not worth the risk.

Because when you’re old, wrinkly, and on your deathbed, you’ll think: I may not have lived life to its fullest, or chased my dreams — but at least I didn’t fail, and face disparaging remarks from some hateful naysayers. Additionally, the risk of disappointing yourself, and those who believe in you is far heavier than the potential glory of success… isn’t it? ISN’T IT?

3. You worry that your dreams won’t be as amazing as you thought. Sometimes the best part of imagining your dreams is the ability to visualize them flawlessly. What if you attempt to go after ’em, only to find that they’re not as magnificent as you had anticipated? It’s like when you really have a taste for pancakes — but then you get the pancakes on a plate in front of you, and meh. I mean, they’re okay — maybe even delicious for the first two or three bites, but after that it’s just monotony in warm breakfast form. What if your dreams turn out to be like pancakes? You’d rather just never know, and envision them in their golden brown, melting butter, syrup covered, perfect stack glory.

4. You don’t know what to do. Experience in the field you’re seeking to join is a bonus, not a necessity. You disregard the fact that Stephen King had to write his first piece, Beyoncéhad a first song performance, Michael Jordan had a first jump shot and Kim Kardashian had a first sex-tape. You’ve got to start somewhere, too. It’s tolerable to not know anything about your dream job, but for the love of God, why don’t you learn? Well, I suppose that could be because of this next reason…

5. You’ll do it later/You’re too damn lazy. Yeah, today just isn’t good — you have the one thing, and the other thing. Tomorrow isn’t guaranteed, but you like your chances enough to put things off for today. You may hate how fast the years have flown by since high school, but you’re still not managing your time efficiently. You’ll keep putting the important stuff off, and nothing of significance will come to fruition.

You’d rather browse YouTube, play videogames, hang with friends, watch television, or do anything that isn’t productive. You fail to match the get-up-and-go, motivation of others — therefore, you don’t deserve to achieve your imaginings. Remember, you chase your dreams — they don’t chase you… unless your dream is to be hounded and chased by bill collectors — in which case, I’d recommend you remain a bump on a log.

6. You’re busy chasing someone else’s. Maybe your parents want to live vicariously through you, or a significant other has steered you toward a specific route. Either way; is it truly what you want, or are you trying to please others? This is your only shot at life, should you really spend the defining years of it satisfying someone other than you?

The bottom line is that if you decide firmly that you want something, and make a conscious effort to achieve that goal, you really can. It may be a strenuous process full of highs and lows, but you wouldn’t fully comprehend the value of your ups, without having experienced some downs.

Author Paulo Coelho wrote: When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it. I’m a firm believer of that. Pay close attention. Take a couple of sincere strides toward whatever it is you truly want, and see how the universe responds to your wishes. Don’t expect the whole kit-and-caboodle to magically appear on a silver platter in front of you. Instead be prepared to give it everything you’ve got for the long haul. If you refuse to give in, then you literally can’t be stopped. The only thing holding you back is you. TC Mark

image – ShutterStock

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  • Fact Check Department

    Tell me, Christopher: was it your dream to write listicles?

    • Boolio

      Are you hiring for your facet check department? I am very well qualified in correcting articles and would like a job. where can I send my resume? thought catalog could benefit from my editorial experteece

      • Fact Check Department

        Matter of fact I am, Boolio. But the Copy Desk said “No way, not that Boolio guy. He’s a loose cannon.” I’m sorry.

      • Boolio

        I am a loose cannon, it’s true. keeping it light and fun and fancy free, just don’t leave me with anything flammable or scented

  • JLUA

    I actually followed my dreams. I’m regreting nothing and it was the best decision I’ve made so far but yes, I realized that they are just “meh-pancakes”. You are so lost without dreams.

  • mekci

    THANKS! also: you should write a book ..you know in all the free time that you have from pushing things off.

  • http://gravatar.com/rlmarx15 rlmarx15

    This is a topic I think about ALL the time–literally constantly pondering whether or not I’m “happy” and “pursuing my dreams”. I think you make a lot of good points. A lot of the reason I’m not surfing around the gulf coast right now comes from my fear of leaving my comfort zone, of my laziness, and my broke-ness(is that a word? probably not).

    The aforementioned factors certainly play a part; but my problem is this: If I get up and follow my dreams, I’m not the only one affected. Our lives are not independent. If I go off and hike the appalachian trail like I’ve always wanted to, who going to drive my little brother to camp? Whose going to write the press releases at work? Whose going to have dinner with my grandma once a week so she stops calling everyday? Yes these things can be replaced–my mom can find a babysitter, my work can hire someone else, and another family member can suck it up and hang out with my grandmother. But the point is that by me getting up and “following my dreams”, I’m screwing over everyone I have some sort of responsibility to.

    I’m not saying this to disprove your thought- I truly, truly want to chase my dreams and travel around the world for 3 months. I just don’t know how to chase my dreams while not negatively affecting those who matter to me.

    • Chris

      I seriously can relate with you. Especially the grandma part and the little brother part. Just hang in there. When opportunity knocks, make sure your passport and your travel bags are ready. :)

      • Lily

        You can’t make everyone happy.

    • LIVEurLIFE4U

      @ RLMARX: I never respond to blogs but I just have to for this one. It was my dream to travel to Australia 3 years ago. I was all set and ready to go but then I didn’t want to disappoint my boyfriend of the time by leaving for 4 months… I was also afraid that we might breakup during that time… well, after dating for 3 years we finally broke-up for a numerous amounts of reasons… after the break-up I regretted not living my life for myself and living my life for my boyfriend’s happiness at the time. After we brokeup I still had the dream of going to Australia but there was a lot of ‘fear’ that held me back. I didn’t want anything to happen to my family while I was gone and I was fearful something would happen.. I felt like I would miss something while I was gone…And a lot of the same reasons that you mentioned above… Well, I actually just recently went to Australia and traveled for one month! It was great! I am now in my late 20s and I definitely didn’t have the energy that I would have had if I went 3 years ago.. I faced my fear and nothing majored happened while I was gone… I met a lot of people doing the same thing that I was doing… basically, I learned that you need to live YOUR life for YOURSELF… don’t let other people dictate your life… sometimes in life you do feel that people ‘need’ you… you mentioned that you only want to travel for 3 months… I’m sure people will be able to manage without you for 3 months.. your mom can drive your brother to practice and you can share all your stories of traveling with your grandma when you return! IDK – i just felt like I had to respond to your post because I too felt like I couldn’t leave bc people ‘needed’ me… As you get older you are going to have more and more responsibilities – the time to travel is in your 20s! You don’t want to have any regrets in life when you are in your 40s married with kids! Don’t worry what other’s may think and go travel!! Best wishes!

  • http://www.itmakesmestronger.com/2012/07/why-you-aren%e2%80%99t-chasing-your-dreams/ Only L<3Ve @ ItMakesMeStronger.com

    […] Thought Catalog » Life Add a comment […]

  • Boolio

    your a boob and a trash.

  • blackbird

    Dreams are your end goals in life. Without it, you have no destination. No wind is favorable to a ship that has no destination. Aim at nothing and you will hit everytime.

    Maybe you’re working at your dead end job now. Or maybe you’re looking for some work in these hard times.

    But you still need to struggle, to fight and to stand up to live your dreams. All things that fly need to push against the wind. Go with the wind and you lose a lot of lift.

    Achieving those dreams depend on you, what you do and a bit of luck on the side.

    • Yasu

      well said

  • kjo

    How about: you still don’t know what your dreams are.

    UGH MY LIFE.

  • Mel

    The book she quoted Paulo Coelho from is called ‘The Alchemist’ – I highly recommend it if these are all questions/things you’re pondering. A beautiful read.

    • LIVEurLIFE4U

      Agree!!!

  • http://twitter.com/heronkady10 Kady Heron (@heronkady10)

    My ultimate dream is to have a family with a loving husband and adorable kids and fortunately dream fulfilled. :)
    Saving Thousands of People Hundreds of Dollars a month. Join the club today. Just click -> http://www.saversclub.us

  • Erikka

    I needed this today. So very bad. I’m in the midst of a career/life change. It is pretty heavy.

  • http://jolam08.wordpress.com/ Jo Lam

    Reblogged this on Stuck like a pincushion and commented:
    Read for 5 reasons why you aren’t chasing your dream. Incredibly well written and once you’ve finished reading, you’ll find that passion in you to strive for your dream again- but this time- don’t let it fade away. Hang on to it and remember,

    The only thing holding you back is you.

  • http://zmwritings.wordpress.com zmwritings

    Very awesome article! I have had some of those thoughts myself but have not been able to express them nearly as well as you! Plus I needed a kick to hear it said again… Thanks

  • http://gravatar.com/400ormore Arielle

    Sure, tell me about the usual suspect reasons of why I’m not chasing my dreams but you’re offering nothing substantial about it. To make it robust, you might include a solution or maybe an alternative way to meet halfway between dreams and reality.

  • LIVEurLIFE4U

    @ RLMARX: I never respond to blogs but I just have to for this one. It was my dream to travel to Australia 3 years ago. I was all set and ready to go but then I didn’t want to disappoint my boyfriend of the time by leaving for 4 months… I was also afraid that we might breakup during that time… well, after dating for 3 years we finally broke-up for a numerous amounts of reasons… after the break-up I regretted not living my life for myself and living my life for my boyfriend’s happiness at the time. After we brokeup I still had the dream of going to Australia but there was a lot of ‘fear’ that held me back. I didn’t want anything to happen to my family while I was gone and I was fearful something would happen.. I felt like I would miss something while I was gone…And a lot of the same reasons that you mentioned above… Well, I actually just recently went to Australia and traveled for one month! It was great! I am now in my late 20s and I definitely didn’t have the energy that I would have had if I went 3 years ago.. I faced my fear and nothing majored happened while I was gone… I met a lot of people doing the same thing that I was doing… basically, I learned that you need to live YOUR life for YOURSELF… don’t let other people dictate your life… sometimes in life you do feel that people ‘need’ you… you mentioned that you only want to travel for 3 months… I’m sure people will be able to manage without you for 3 months.. your mom can drive your brother to practice and you can share all your stories of traveling with your grandma when you return! IDK – i just felt like I had to respond to your post because I too felt like I couldn’t leave bc people ‘needed’ me… As you get older you are going to have more and more responsibilities – the time to travel is in your 20s! You don’t want to have any regrets in life when you are in your 40s married with kids! Don’t worry what other’s may think and go travel!! Best wishes!

  • http://gracedescence.wordpress.com itshergrace

    Reblogged this on gracedescence and commented:
    …Just a reminder for all of you out there;D

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    Reblogged this on What's mine..

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  • http://www.weirddreams.org Lisa

    Um…..yeah, best not to be too lazy and delay making that sex tape. That is a curious inclusion but I agree, best to do that while one is young….or maybe not.

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    Reblogged this on themoiramerrier and commented:
    THiss

  • http://twitter.com/SingleCurlz Rambunctious Curlz (@SingleCurlz)

    Find it really interesting that Paul Coelho was quoted especially the Alchemist because that book is what pushed me to follow my dreams and some how I got stuck in not doing just that and today I was let go of my job that I hated because I wasn’t going to quit because have to pay the bills but sometimes you are destined for so much more that you have to pushed out of a situation to do what you’re really supposed to do. Thanks for sharing good read!

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  • Thought Catalog

    Reblogged this on dream or die and commented:
    So relevant right now. Thank you for this.

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