By: Thomas DeVoy
Whether you think you can, or you think you can't - you're right. Henry Ford
Why are you not working hard every day to reach your dreams? Are you lazy? Probably not. For me personally, it is not laziness that forces me out of a goal driven mindset. It's fear.
Fear is a huge factor in our decision making. Our brain can't tell the difference between fear of failing and fear of dying. It's the same thing. To your brain, failure is dying. Your brain just wants you to survive right? So do everything you can to play it safe. Do what your parents told you to do: Go to college, get a secure job, Mortgage a house and do everything you can not to loose it.
It's understandable why you're afraid. Real life is scary and we've been told countless times that we're not good enough to do anything even remotely remarkable. So we keep our dreams just what they are. Dreams. We repress our urge to create something new and settle for a corporate job so we can avoid failure. But what good comes from that? What life are you living if you don't even try to peruse your passions and make a living doing what you love?
In the words of Nike and Shia: Just Do It.
So allow me a few minutes of your time to rant about some of the excuses I've heard people say and give you permission to look past them.
"I want a safe and secure job"
Job security is a myth.
I can tell you this with absolute certainty. When you are employed, you're not gaining job security, your gaining financial ignorance. Nothing is certain. Just because someone else signs your paycheck this month doesn't mean they have enough money next month to sign it again.
Businesses go under and people are laid off everyday. If the only reason you're working at for your current employer is because you want the security of knowing you'll always have a paycheck, you're fooling yourself.
"I don't want to be a failure"
Failure is not a destination.
There's a tendency to associate ourselves with our failures and think "only failures fail..." But that's wrong. I failed, therefore I am a failure. Sorry to break it to you but you're not going to be a rockstar at everything you do. When you finally start chasing your dreams you will fail, and you will fail often. People who have been deemed "successful" have failed more times than they succeeded. And here's the good news: You only need to succeed once. So fail early, fail often, learn from those failures and keep moving forward.
Failing means you get to start over with experience.
"I have too many responsibilities right now"
Quit everything that doesn't make sense.
You're favorite word from now on should be "No". Don't take on anything that doesn't help you toward your goals, and quit everything you already said yes to that is wasting your time. You don't need to take on every opportunity that comes your way. You just need to take on the right ones.
I understand that you can't quit you're desk job to peruse your big dream right away. But is your desk job teaching you a valuable skill that you can take with you on your journey? If the answer is no, quit tomorrow.
If you want to be a full time musician, maybe your first step is to get a job at Guitar Center to be around other musicians to learn from them and make connections. If you want to be a freelance graphic designer, your first step might be to work for a design firm or a small business where you can learn about corporate marketing, branding and copywriting as well as experience making art for other people.
"I tried and it just didn't take off"
Don't quit the right things.
I don't think 9 out of 10 business fail because 9 out of 10 businesses don't have what it takes to make it. I think that these businesses fail because they weren't willing to stick to it long enough to see it through. They say a business shouldn't see a profit for 3-5 years. If you want to do anything of substance, you need to be ready to put in YEARS of work.
It's easy to dream, it's hard to do.
Olan Rogers is a youtuber who gets hundreds of thousands of views on his videos by just talking to a camera. It's easy to look at someone like him and believe that he got lucky. You either have it or you don't. You either gain an audience quickly or it's never going to happen. What you don't see behind the scenes is the six years of consistent vlogging and four years of film school beforehand studying the art of storytelling. It took him TEN YEARS to get to where he is now.
"I don't have the talent"
Neither did Van Gough.
Would you spend the next ten years working 15 hour days without any recognition or money for the possibility of achieving your largest goals? That's what Vincent did, and that's what it takes.
If you don't change your mindset, you're never going to achieve anything. You need to be diligent even when the motivation isn't there. You're not going to be encouraged all the time. Nearly everything is a skill that can be learned, but it's going to take ten years to learn it. Some people may pick up a skill easier than others. But to truly be great at it takes years of practice.
So stop comparing yourself to everyone else and start focusing on what you need to do to get to where you want to be. Hard work, focus, and discipline are the only tools required to build your dreams.
There is no such thing as an overnight success, just overnight recognition.
THOMAS DEVOY is the Creative Director at Urban Geographer. Connect with him on social media @THOMASDEVOY