If you’ve been on Facebook in the past two weeks and have a friend list anything like mine you’ve probably seen this post about The Only 31 Things Standing Between You and Your Dreams shared about 18 times. It’s a rather sarcastic, yet scarily accurate list of all the reasons you are where you are…rather than out living your dreams, whatever they may be. It has been a tab on my browser for over a week and I’ve read through it multiple times.
Yes, every single thing on that list is an excellent excuse to keep your dreams as dreams, not reality. However, every single thing is also a fantastic reason to take a leap of faith and chase after those dreams. This is how I’ve decided to read the list…
1. Your Student Loans: Yup, that fancy piece of paper was expensive and yes, you’re still paying for those extra semesters of “omg, what do I want to be when I grow up” self discovery but…you gained some serious life experience. Remember it. Use it. And consolidate those loans!
2. Your Significant Other: Relationships take time, a lot of time. And effort, a lot of effort. But they also provide you with an incredible amount of support, level-headed advice and someone you can rely on. If you’re using your significant other an excuse to NOT succeed with your dreams you may need a new significant other…
3. Paying Rent Every Month: Rent sucks. Period. But if you adjust your standard of living a bit, maybe find a roommate or give up central air or ditch the cable bill rent doesn’t have to consist of half your income. Get creative – it’s rent, it’s always a temporary situation!
4. Your Current Location: If you’re living in the MidWest and want to start a surf school you should probably move to the coast…which is actually pretty simple if you’re paying the aforementioned rent. Moving is scary but moving also gives you one more reason you have to succeed at the crazy mission your own. Sell or donate what you don’t need, pack up your essentials and…move!
5. Your Ex: Of course your ex didn’t have good things to say about your, that’s why they are your ex. But take a step back and look at yourself from the outside – did anything they said about your ambitions, actions or emotions have any validity? Don’t dwell on it but if there was some truth to their statements consider that, decide if you want to make adjustments and then move on, once and for all.
6. Complacency: Yea, life is pretty good right now. Things are easy, your routine is comfortable and you don’t have to work too hard to survive. But…your comfort zone can get boring fast. Enjoy it for a bit but don’t settle – be ready to move on before you become bored!
7. Things Are Pretty Decent Right Now: You’re in a good place and on paper there is no true need to push yourself forward to new things. If you’re happy with this…that is fantastic. But if you’re dreaming about bigger and better things get your act together and go get ‘em!
8. Your Appearance: So, you’re not a super model?! Well, shucks…then I guess it’s a good thing become a super model isn’t your goal in life! Forget about your general physical appearance and focus on what your body can do for you! If you need more strength or endurance or technical skill to chase your dreams…put in a little effort, a little training, a little learning and get yourself where you need to be to succeed!
9. Parental Expectations: Unless you’re parents are actively paying for your way of life then how much say do they really have? Ultimately, they’re going to be happy if you’re happy [and if you’re not breaking laws or anything crazy!] so go for your dreams and have fun freaking your mom out when you shave you head and move into your car! [sorry Mom…]
10. Your Dog: So you have a dog…take ‘em with you! Unless you’re traveling internationally, in which case, be nice to your parents and tell them to embrace their dog-sitting duties because this is as close to “grandkids” as they’re going to get for now.
11. Crippling Doubt: Maybe you don’t have anything to offer the world. Maybe you’ll suck at this new endeavor. Maybe you were meant to be boring and lead a ‘normal’ life. But you definitely won’t find out until you try something new…and if you end up back in this ‘normal’ life then you know it’s meant to be. Don’t live your life with a bunch of what if’s, try things and find a few I know’s!
12. Lack of Necessary Job Experience: Maybe your marketing degree doesn’t give you the technical skills you need to be a Wilderness First Responder but that doesn’t mean you can’t get that experience! Do a little research, read books, take classes and volunteer. Some of the best experience you can get comes from non-traditional settings! And don’t sell yourself short, know what you’re capable of and how it relates to your long term goals!
13. Your Past: Unless you’re hoping to run for President of the United States and have a past that includes a gallery of scantily clad photos in the hands of an angry ex…your past doesn’t matter. Learn from your mistakes, accept your past for what it is, forgive yourself for stupid decisions and…move on!
14. The Finite Nature of Time: There will never be enough time to do everything and time is always ticking by. This is one more reason to leave behind the mediocre life you’re currently living and chasing down what you really want to do. Make the most of your free time [ie: ditch that cable bill, you’ll save money + time!] but don’t forget to have fun with friends!
15. Your Personality: It’s your personality – make it what you want and need it to be. Don’t change it because one person told you to but truly consider the constructive criticism friends have offered.
16. Your Car Payment: Like your rent, this is a completely negotiable line on your monthly expenses. You have a few options – pay off your car, sell your car or live in your car so your car payment and rent become the same thing!
17. Lack of Safety Net: Need a little motivation to “make things work”? Remove the option of failure. Have your last resort option be living in your mom’s basement. She might be a great person who makes delicious meals but admitting defeat and moving back in with mom is one heck of a motivator!
18. Your Mediocre Education: So you went to a state school. Or dropped out of community college. Or have a questionable online degree. Unless you’re trying to get a job at a Fortune 500 company this probably doesn’t matter. Get some life experience that will outshine that overpriced degree and use that as an example of how successful you can be.
19. Your Age: Forget about the naysayers – rather than let the looming 3-0 give you a reason to NOT revamp your life use the idea of “even at her age she managed to do XYZ” as a reason to chase after your goals, and succeed at them!
20. Embarrassment: Don’t be afraid of who you are – own it! The more you believe in yourself and your ability the more the rest of the world will. That said, don’t let your ego inflate your pretty little head too much because reality will come slap you in the face.
21. Patent Law: If you have a crazy awesome idea that requires a patent…get one! But don’t limit your dreams to something that requires a brand new invention. At the very least, spend a little time reinventing yourself!
22. Statistical Probability: Sure, the chances of achieving exactly what you go chasing after are slim. But don’t let that stop you. You know that saying…shoot for the moon, even if you miss you’ll land among the stars. Go after that dream, make changes, be awesome…and stay open-minded so when the very specific goal you had in mind doesn’t quite work out you’ll still have a whole slew of new opportunities available to you!
23. Fear of Commitment: You cannot half-ass a quest to chase your dreams, at least not if you have any hope of actually achieving those dreams! You have to commit, wholeheartedly, to chasing your dreams. Luckily, unlike bad boyfriends or crazy girlfriends, your dreams will not desert you or forget your birthday or ignore you calls.
24. Fear in General: Yes, this is scary. Really freaking scary. But it’s that moment of “oh crap, this might not work” followed by the day you say “holy buckets, it’s working” that has you chasing this dream in the first place. Embrace the fear. Don’t squash it but don’t let it take over either – use it as motivation, as a balancing scale for reason, as proof you can succeed.
25. Lack of Connections: Welcome to the world of social media – where you can literally connect with anyone in the world! There are good and bad things about this but rather than simply saying you don’t know the right people put a little effort into meeting the right people! It takes confidence to put yourself out there and it takes commitment to maintain relationships with these connections, both of which are great traits you’ll need to succeed further down the road.
26. Corporations: Forget the corporate way of doing things and leave behind the mentality of “we always do it this way”. Instead, find a new, creative approach for things that are already happening. Be genuine, honest and add a personal touch to what you’re doing – give people a reason to choose you over the corporations.
27. Your Laziness: Being lazy is kind of awesome. Really, it is. Until you realize life is just passing you by. You’ll earn your lazy days and they’ll be even more amazing when you’ve earned them. But for now, get your butt on there and do what you need to chase that dream of yours!
28. You Were Born into the Wrong Family: Unless you were really banking on a trust fund pre-conception there is no way this counts as an excuse! If anything it’s motivation to prove to the world you don’t need a family name [or bank account] to succeed at being you!
29. Thousands of People are More Talented Than You: Duh, of course they are. However, exactly zero of those people are you with the same dreams and aspirations as you. Exactly zero of those people can have the same impact on the world as you can. Exactly zero of those people have the same resources, motivations, needs and wants as you. So forget them, just be you.
30. Not Knowing Where to Start: They say you need to start today…but they never tell you what to do! You have to figure this out on your own. That’s rather useless advice but pick an area of your life that you’re not happy with, something that’s unnecessarily stressful…and change it. Boom, you’ve started! Now repeat that process over and over and over and over…welcome to dream chasing!
31. The Economy: The economy will never be perfect, ever. It will always be that one thing that really isn’t dependable and it will never purposefully work in your favor. Rather that focus on what the economy is doing chase after your dreams with an open mind, make adjustments as the economy requires it. Believe in yourself…but stay realistic!
So, there you have it. Exactly 31 reasons you should be out there chasing your dreams, right now. And yes, I have some big plans for the next year of my life so this post is more than me over sharing – it’s a mini-mantra for myself. There are all excuses I’ve used in the past to stay where I’m at, to play it safe, to make myself happy with what I have…and now they are all reasons to go get ‘em tiger! Bring it on, life!