Last updated on July 10th, 2021 at 03:03 pm
“Should I follow my dreams or be more realistic about life?”
Following your dreams does not mean you’re not realistic. Being realistic means you’re aware of what inputs (efforts) are required to attain certain outputs (results). Even if your dream is big, as long as you’re aware and willing of what’s required to attain them, that is still being realistic.
When should you follow your dreams?
When your current reality no longer satisfies you
We are constantly refining our giving tendency. Have you ever heard of Tony Robbins say “Where focus goes, energy flows?”. This is actually a good way to understand life in general. Just like money, human beings have other currencies we use to get results: time, energy, focus, attention, etc…Not only that, but we are always looking for better ways to spend them, for better results.
When something isn’t worth your time, you get rid of it. The same goes for everything in life. So when your current life use to satisfy you (and be good enough) but doesn’t any longer, there’s only so much time that can pass before an eruption happens in your life to put you on the right track towards something better.
I’ve seen that happen so many times with myself, and others. The satisfaction grows until eventually your life literally pops and everything falls apart. How long after you start asking “should i follow my dreams or be realistic” this is depends on your unique situation, but it will come.
If you know you need some kind of change in your life, if you’re even asking the question “Should I follow my dreams or should I be more realistic”, it might be better for you to take small steps in that direction now.
If you don’t, things will build and build until that explosion happens. It’s called a life crisis. It’s nothing more than rapid change all at once, but it can be seriously troubling and terrifying to go through. So if you know something like that is happening in your life, make gradual changes now to let some of the steam out of the balloon early!
You feel a deep intuitive pull towards something different
A lot of these symptoms will be intuitive. If you feel something internal nudging you in a different direction, it might be a clue that you’re being guided (by who knows what) to create a different life for yourself.
You have a big dream that you cannot shake
Have you tried to bury these dreams underground before? Maybe this same situation happened a few years ago where you were trying to follow your dreams, but something got in the way.
- Maybe you gave into fear
- You failed too many times and nothing worked
- You let others convince you to play it safe
- You argued yourself out of it
Either way, if it’s happening to you again, you’ll bury it under the rug, and it will resurface with the monsoon rains in your life.
This is actually the main reason I decided to pursue my own passions and abandon my old life for something new. I knew playing it safe wouldn’t satisfy me in the end, and that I would just keep coming back to this same place where I needed to make a move. So I decided to not waste years of life and make the move then, when I had the chance.
You have a huge change you want to make or see
“The ones who are crazy enough to think they could change the world are the only ones who ever do…”
Sometimes you just feel called to do something specific, to find a certain niche in the world and fill it better than anyone else. Nothing wrong with that. Many people have set off to create wonderful things from nothing.
Looking back on the computer, Amazon, Social media it’s hard to imagine things playing out any other way, but during their creation, Jobs, Bezos, Gates and Zuckerburg were just pursuing wild dreams they had with nothing to go on.
What does being realistic actually mean?
Being realistic has nothing to do with being overly optimistic or unnecessarily pessimistic. Many think that you’re one of the three, and that being realistic is a midway point, or more balanced approach to life. When we ask the question “should i follow my dreams or be realistic” we’re really thinking about this:
Optimism: positive hopeful view of your future and its potential. They think that the future can hold so many different possibilities and are thrilled to be a part of them. If they don’t adopt a realistic perspective, they will put forth no action and get no results.
Pessimism: negative view of your future and its potential. People who are pessimistic don’t understand well enough that they have a huge part to play in the results they get in life. They are dealt a certain hand, don’t understand what part they played in getting that hand, and rationalize with statements like “This always happens to me!”
Realistic: Only aware of inputs and outputs, no regard for potential whatsoever.
Should I Follow My Dreams or Be Realistic – The Synthesis
- Aware that our efforts in the present are the inputs that affect the outputs of the future
- Adopt either a negative of positive viewpoint about life and what the future holds
Why someone will tell you to be more realistic
There are two reasons I can think of why a person would shoot down your dreams and tell you to be more realistic. These are also reasons why you will do it to yourself.
- They have a limited view of what’s possible compared to you
- They’re trying to protect you from gambling with your life
If they’re world view is limited
First of all, feel sorry for them, because a human who’s not constantly up-to-date with the possibilities of life is living their own life through some pretty shitty goggles. Do what you can to educate them if you feel they’re receptive. Otherwise, just know they’re making a judgement on your life decisions with the limited perspective they’ve got.
If they’re trying to protect you
This happened to me with more than a few family members. They love you, so when it looks like you’re about to give up a good paying, wholesome job to start a blog (what I did), they’re gonna try and stop you from destroying your life.
They did the same thing when I told them I was dropping out of college to live in a jungle monastery for the better part of a decade. They had a look on their face like Ragnarok had come. They’ll be fine and so will you. As long as you prepare properly for the change, there’s nothing to fear.
How to Follow your Dreams in a Realistic Way
1. Figure what your dream is
A no brainer first step, but a necessary one. Especially if you’re about to make a big life change, have several sheets of notebook paper detailing your plan, your desired results, how you plan on doing it, the preparation involved, contingency and back up plans, etc…
2. Plan it out carefully
I’ve always been a planner. I plan things out well in advance of them occurring. It’s just the way I like to live my life and for me, it doesn’t make life any less spontaneous or thrilling. Even if you’re not a planner, you need to have a masterplan for a life change like this.
It’s worth taking a couple hours and sitting down with your notebook to literally write everything out. You’ll discover obstacles you never thought of, opportunities to move faster than you overlooked…it’s just a good way to start. Nobody ever made a good plan and regretted it afterward. Facts.
3. Develop an Action plan
An action plan is a part of your master plan, and it can be as simple or complicated as you want it to be. Ask yourself the noun question first:
- Who is doing this? Whos involved? Just me?
- Why am I doing this? Get to the root of your inspirations
- When? Not just when will you start, but when should you finish if all goes well?
GET IT FREE
4. Start taking Action
This is the part that most people fail on. Everything up to this point is relatively easy. Having done this myself a few times, I pretty much know exactly what happens to us when we go after lofty dreams in life.
The thing I worry about in most people is if they can get through the shitty phase of it. There’s an initial stage where you’re super enthusiastic, but after that comes the crappy phase where you’re still getting no results, the night is getting darker, and you’re faith in this dream is being tested heavily.
That’s the break through stage most don’t come back from. Taking action is a serious deal and you want to be honest with yourself. Working on your dream once a week probably won’t cut it. You’ll have to cut all the bullshit outta your life that’s getting in the way.
Action accomplishes several things:
- It provides data [whats working / whats not]
- You move into the compounding stage faster [results build on each other over time]
- It creates a habit that will get you through times where you lack motivation
5. Experiment often
This is really your secret weapon. The more action you take, the more results come in. You increase the good results and decrease the bad results. Over enough time, your entire approach becomes more and more refined towards getting good results.
It’s really all about moving forward consistently and fast enough so you can get those subtle tweaks in.
- Doubling down on what works
- Cutting out what doesn’t [& not being attached to your ideas that end up failing]
- Dabbling in other ideas
You will start with your initial plan > then you will cut out of your plan what fails > focus 80 percent of your efforts on what DOES work > 20% on testing out other ideas.
The faster you can do this the faster you will see success.
6. Quit for the right reasons
I’m not gonna sit there and write out a bunch of reasons you should quit. If you did your master plan properly you shouldn’t be in a position where what you’re working on is destined to fail.
Here are some reasons not to quit:
- You decide you’re not meant for the success you dream of
- You let someone else get inside your head and confuse you
- Lack of motivation to work on it everyday
- Other less important life situations
- Money – its 2020 – figure out how to get the funding
- Going to slow
- Thinking you should have results when the effort wasn’t there
- Setbacks and failures – they only mean combine ingredients differently
- It didn’t work the first time
- You think the market or environment is saturated – there’s always room for the best
Should I follow my dreams or be more realistic? Well I just gave you what I think is the most well rounded and balanced answer. So much of what life is now, and what it means to live a human life is the result of something going on a dream they had. Think of the car, social media, the computer, Facebook, Amazon.
There’s a time and place for everything, and it might be time for you to admit to yourself that you’re a wave maker, not a kiddy pool waders. Most of the people in the world are not trail blazers, dream followers or anything like that. They’re just different. People with dreams have imagination, drive and the balls to go after huge results in life.
Think about Henry Ford, everyone at the time told him he should try and breed a faster horse. They didn’t have the imagination to create something like the automobile, or as he called it “A horse not drawn by horses”. Now cars are so common place we couldn’t imagine life without them.
Big dreams are nothing but results, and as long as you’re willing to prepare, and do what’s required to get those results, there’s no reason not to go for it.
What dream do you have in your mind right now? Leave me something in comments, I’d like to hear about it!
- “Should I Leave My Job?” What To Do When You Feel Torn
- Eulerian Destiny: How To “Do You” Better Than Anyone Else
- How To Quit Your Job And Follow Your Dreams
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