I was thinking a lot on the car ride home and I just wanted to say thanks. You guys have been working together for a while now and I’m sure it’s hard having new people come in who you aren’t use to. I really appreciate your acceptance and openness to new ideas and dreams. Whenever I make a suggestion, you guys welcome it with open arms. I’ve never really been part of an environment where my ideas are appreciated and considered. Even when I tell my family and best friends about my passions and dreams it’s just a blah response…
I got this email from a guy friend in the last few months, and I found it really touching.
Mostly because it reminded me that when you’re a dreamer and an optimist, there are far more people that want to shoot you down than pull you up into the stars.
Let me start out by saying that I am a Paolo Coehlo subscriber; namely for any of you that have read The Alchemist, his book (if you haven’t, go and do so), I believe what he believes: we are all given a dream, that we are supposed to do whatever we can to follow our heart and make it happen, and that is where the true magic and joy in life is found.
When I read The Alchemist at age 19, I felt like I had just read my own Bible on how to live life, and received affirmation that I was living the right way. Since then I’ve read other books that have layered on that same philosophy that anything is possible and the joy in life is to be found doing the “not normal,” and dreaming big.
Other books I’ve enjoyed along these same lines are The Secret, which talks about setting the intention and watching the world help you get to your dream, One Minute Millionaire that talks about the “anything is possible” idea from a financial standpoint, Tim Ferris’ Four Hour Work Week, that talks about arranging your work to allow you to live your dream life, and I recently just finished The Art of Non-Conformity that talks about rejecting what we are inundated with by society and the joy that is found in not-conforming to the life that society is constantly imploring us to live.
Quite simply, I’m a dreamer. I’m a believer. I’m an optimistic and I believe that the gift of being put on this earth is that we truly can do anything we put our minds to.
As I’ve mentioned in my blogs before, I grew up with an awesome Mom who has had MS since I was 6. She’s always carried it with a tremendously positive attitude, and she was always a reminder to me, that health was a privilege, and to show thankfulness for it was to live our lives to the max and follow our biggest dreams. Knowing this from a young age set me quite easily on my own “anything is possible” journey.
I’ve also learned through my own path that the joy is found with pure intentions diving into the process of doing everything we can to make our dreams happen. As life goes on, and we gain more knowledge, sometimes our dreams change or become more refined, and it doesn’t lessen the joy or peace at all, just adds a deeper level to it.
So for those setting out on the dreamer/anything is possible path, I just want you to know that peace of mind is always to be found at the end if you dream, believe, control what you can control, and at the end of it, don’t lose who you are and the values that led you on the path. No prize at the end is worth giving those things up, no matter how much society wants us to believe it. The prize in having the courage to follow a dream is found in the lessons that we come across along the way, just because we had the guts to set out on the path in the first place.
That all being said, I want to tell you, that the hardest part of following a dream, is not the own voices in your head that want to plant seeds of doubt, but as my friend above wrote to me, it is those around you who bring you down.
It’s easy to say cut them out, but sometimes it’s not that simple. Often times it is the people close to us who tell us things are not possible, or we should be following some other path, a path that doesn’t match up with what our heart is telling us.
I will say, don’t listen to those people, because the only thing that you’ll be left with in the end is bitterness towards them if they play any role at all for straying you from where you know the joy in your life is to be found.
For me personally it helped understanding the mentality of these “dream beaters”, in order to not lose any of my energy in trying to fight the daggers that they were trying to throw my way. Here are a few thoughts on their perspective.
1. They have subscribed to what society has told them to do, not thinking it was a choice, and you choosing differently makes them uncomfortable.
When I was a junior in college, I decided after one too many wild weekends that I was going to stop drinking. I didn’t like how it made me feel the next day, and I didn’t like that I drank not because I truly wanted to, but because everyone around me did. I thought that was kind of lame, so I decided to take a hiatus.
I remember trying to go out following weekends, set in my intentions to not drink, and I felt an immense amount of pressure from everyone around me to do so. It got to the point where people were literally shoving red cups into my hand after berating me for 10 minutes about my choice.
I remember feeling very strongly asking myself the questions of 1) why did they care so much about whether I drank or not? and 2) why did it feel like they needed me to be drinking in order to validate their choice to?
I think this relates to the fact that most people in our society take the path of “what they are supposed to.” Those around who choose not to subscribe to these strong societal messages, makes others aware that everything is actually a choice, and we don’t “have” to do anything. Some people as well have been so inundated by the necessity of following the norm, that they are truly worried for your happiness if you decide to go outside the box
But to reject the norm takes courage, a courage that makes most people uncomfortable.
2. They’ve had people their whole life tearing down their dreams
This is something that once I realized it, allowed me to replace any negative feelings I had with compassion, and let me put my energy back on fulfilling the dreams, more so than caring about what anyone around me had to say.
This goes back to what I like to call the “sandbox principle” namely the fact that I believe all human psychology and behaviour, you can find by observing children playing in the sandbox. For kids that are bullied at home, they will come to the sandbox and bully others, not because they are bad kids, but because this is the only behaviour that they know.
This is the same with the dream beaters. If someone has never been surrounded with people that supported their dreams, their first instinct will be to tear others dreams down like theirs were.
Make sure you take what people have to say with the filter of knowledge of how others in their lives have treated their dreams. Take their influence accordingly.
3. People ultimately reflect upon others where they are in their own journeys
This was something that allowed me a whole new perspective on the words of others, who I surrounded myself with, and how I let the words of others infiltrate into my own psyche.
Quite simply I realized, that if someone is happy, fulfilled and overjoyed with their own life, that they want to bring people up to their level. They will encourage, they will embody optimism, they will spread the happiness that they are feeling and want everyone else to be blessed accordingly.
On the other hand, if someone is bitter about their life, or their choices, its human nature to want to bring those around them down to where they are, even on a truly subliminal level. Any one that they see floating towards the stars they will will instinctively want to shoot down. Again, not because they are bad people, but because humans crave comfort, and an inherent instinct is to want other people surrounding us where we are as much emotionally as physically.
So the lesson is surround yourself with optimism, and live the one life that you are given to reflect the biggest dreams that are in your heart, no matter how outrageous they are. In doing so you will start a chain reaction of grabbing the arms of others and encouraging them to join you in a place where anything is possible.
A very simple way of making the world a better, more happier place, one single person at a time.