1. Be unrealistic.
Please don’t be that annoying flake and make endless Kickstarters to make their ‘projects’ happen or float around telling people you’re an artist or an entrepreneur without any actual plans to put your ideas to work. That’s not refusing to be realistic, that’s refusing to be effective. You want the first one. Your plans and dreams should be bigger than what is realistic. Two great quotes to help you remember this:
“If you limit your choices only to what seems possible or reasonable, you disconnect yourself from what you truly want, and all that is left is compromise.” —Anaïs Nin
“People will kill you over time, and how they’ll kill you is with tiny, harmless phrases, like ‘be realistic.'” -Dylan Moran
2. Do your own thing.
Your dreams can take the shape of following in your parents footsteps and having the same kind of life and career they did, but it’s more likely that their dreams are not one size fits all. Have your own dreams that come from a place inside, not from any external pressures or like the time I wanted to go to law school after being obsessed with The West Wing.
3. Be afraid.
When you don’t feel scared it’s because you are playing it safe. It’s like playing a board game with an 8-year-old, it’s so beneath you that it would never occur to you to worry that you won’t win. In this case the best you can hope for is a victory devoid of any real pride. A better goal, as Marissa Meyer said, “I always did something I was a little not ready to do. I think that’s how you grow. When there’s that moment of ‘Wow, I’m not really sure I can do this,’ and you push through those moments, that’s when you have a breakthrough.” Being afraid and uncomfortable is how you grow.
4. Fight for what you have.
Don’t wait for it to fall into your lap, go out and get it. Be proud of everything you have knowledge of what it took get it.
Famously, JK Rowling came up with the idea for Harry Potter during a dark time in her life, saying, “Rock bottom became the solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life.” Not only is failing a byproduct of really trying, but it’s often the catalyst for the next big thing that you need in your life. Growth doesn’t happen without failure. Success doesn’t happen without failure. The only thing that happens without failure is sitting on the sidelines of life, watching life go by.
6. Keep going.
Failure stories don’t seem as pretty as #5 makes them out to be while you are in the thick of it. Keep going. “Keep going” is a famous Harriet Tubman quotation. It’s not a little rah rah cheerleader statement — when she was taking people through the underground railroad she would threaten them with a shotgun in order to force them to keep going when they wanted to turn back. If you know someone in your life that will hold a shotgun up to you when you want to give up, they’re a keeper.
7. Recklessly believe in yourself.
People call you a narcissist if you believe in yourself. Who cares? Be a narcissist because no one else is going to believe in you that much, that’s your job.