When The Road To Your Dreams Sucks Do You Quit? — Of Course NOT!
For years I had this fantasy of being an onstage pianist. I even bought an expensive piano and enrolled in lessons — then failed miserably!
One September, on my first day of lessons I handed my teacher the sheet music to Billy Joel’s Piano man and said I want to play and sing this piece by Christmas – to which he laughed and said ‘of what decade dude!’
He persuaded me to start learning twinkle twinkle little star with a few basic cords. Within a month I was so bored with the whole process of practicing and taking public transit to lessons that I gave up. Not only did I quit but I eventually sold my expensive upright piano at a huge financial loss.
What the hell happened — I am usually not a quitter!
I wanted the end result but was not willing to commit to the process and sacrifices required. Did I latch on to the wrong dream? Perhaps I was unrealistic in my expectations or naive in my true understanding of the efforts involved. After all Billy Joel makes it look so easy – lol.
My piano story is one of coming to the blunt realization that I was simply not willing to do what it took to become a famous musician. Lesson learned now push on!
Are some dreams meant to remain unfulfilled fantasies?
Mark Manson (Author, thinker, Life Enthusiast) published an excellent blog post in July 2013 entitled Why Some Dreams Should Not Be Pursued. I find his candid approach refreshing and highly recommend you subscribe to his work.
Here’s an excerpt that emphasizes how the difference between dreams and reality can be messy.
At the end of his brilliant album Antichrist Superstar, Marilyn Manson plays a loop of a spoken sentence, “When all of your wishes are granted, many of your dreams will be destroyed.” The line is repeated over and over as what was a dark and beautiful ballad devolves into a chaos of clustered samples and distorted noise.
Later, in his autobiography, Marilyn explained what that line meant and why he ended the album with it.
After achieving all of his goals — the fame, the fortune, the social critiques, the artistic statements, the rock star status — he was paradoxically the most miserable he had ever been in his life. Reality hadn’t lived up to his fantasies. There were stresses and pains he could have never imagined. Vices had taken hold. The character of those around him had changed.
In the book, he relates breaking down and crying into a pile of cocaine in the studio while recording the song. Because at the tender age of 27, he felt he had nothing else to look forward to in life. He had already achieved everything he had ever wanted. And the excess of it was destroying him.
Ok so here is where we get real
When my last employer packaged me off I could have saved (or spent on toys) my severance package and quickly find a new job. Instead I chose to live on 1/4 the cashflow and spend thousands of unpaid hours perfecting my craft and pulling my hair out. Some days the fear and uncertainty brought me to my knees. The pressure from others to give up my dream and take any old job was intense. The fear of running out of money felt like playing chicken with a speeding locomotive. Read The Scary Gift of Your Abolished Position Will Happen To YOU!
But why was I not giving up as easily as I did when I tried to be a famous pianist two decades earlier? I think the resounding difference this time around was that the pain and sacrifice I was enduring was clearly in sync with my definition of success and a clear vision of reality. Read What Do You Think Successful People Do That Others Don’t?
A clearly articulated personal definition of success is the primary compass that governs how you manage your time, energy and what you will, or not put up with!
For me success is about being surrounded by people who appreciate my presence as I appreciate theirs, to share positive energy with my community and to enjoy the creative process. If I’m paid along the way then great. And yes I mindful of the need to pay bills as much as the next guy. Read Let’s Talk About The 3 Enduring Qualities of Your Measure of Success.
- In an odd kind of way I’m invigorated by the idea of spending an entire winter, 40 hours a week at my dining room table researching content, writing, curating new material, and beta testing ideas!
- Read Few Of My Expectations Were Ideally Met – Now What? and Boreout – The Affliction of Smart Creative People
Make no mistake it WAS brutal at times as I suffered from writers block and pulled at my hair. Sometimes I would spend a full day producing a post only to archive it because I wasn’t satisfied with the ‘vibe’ of the piece. I never doubted my success but almost always wondered if the obstacles I had to overcome would get the better of me.
Can you relate?
Oh sure I’ll cash my emergency fund, sell my furniture and walk with holes in my shoes if it buys me a few more months of free time to stay home, produce good content and build an online idea that I believe will eventually fly.
When I try to explain to others what I do they usually don’t get it or seem disinterested. Flying solo with an idea can create a feeling of loneliness for an entrepreneur. — Yet I persist.
- Don’t be to swayed by the plethora of online coaches trying to get you to believe that their course is the secret to easily reaching your dreams. The truth is dreams involve a long-term, messy and often painful process.
Are you prepared to make the necessary sacrifices?
Years ago I thought I would try my hand at relationship coaching. Armed with a degree in Social Work and a list of other credentials I built a small practice. To my amazement almost everyone I worked with thought I held the holy grail of relationship success. Some were convinced that within 2-3 sessions all their problems would go away.
Others wanted an epiphany or to feel that euphoric sensation that they were on the right track to happiness. Almost everyone found value and appreciated working with me but despite my best efforts 90% of my clients quit within 30 days because they entered a coaching relationship with unrealistic expectations.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m a hugely optimistic person who believes in making big dreams a reality. I just wish some of my online colleagues would tone down the hype a bit.
- There is an interactive and developmental process whereby I enable you to find your own solutions, discover new opportunities, and implement actions.
- You are hiring me to facilitate the opportunity for you to openly and safely sound-out ideas, concerns and scenarios, to better prepare you to alter behaviours and approaches or map out various plans of action.
What we do together cannot be performed automatically or superficially – Dan Trepanier