Think twice before taking the advice to ‘follow your dreams’
Optimism and positive attitude are important to successfully overcome difficulties in life. Many voices talk about positive thinking, guruing us on how to direct our own fate through changing-the-attitude self-help. Including our career paths.
Clearly it is not all that simple. And despite the probable good intention in such advices, there is a real danger that people who get influenced by such teachings may get endangered both psychologically and financially.
Having a dream is great. Dreams are to be pursued. Wisely and gradually. Usually it takes years of growth and experience, hours of practice and learning to get to a real dream coming true. That is why it may be irresponsible to encourage people to disregard external factors, to leave their immediate responsibilities, and to boldly jump into ‘following of their dreams’.
It would have been good to be advised on how to actually follow your dream. Identifying the dream is one thing. What you are supposed to do in order to correctly ‘follow’ it is quite a different matter. I would bet most people have no clue what ‘following’ should mean for them.
If I was to name my passion or dream now, it would become a well-known vet with an international practice. Good, you would say. The only thing is that studying medicine, being it veterinary, and getting enough experience and practice takes a substantial number of years. And if you are not at the age of 20 any more, you imminently will have to consider family, income, and other responsibilities that you are most probably having already. At the age of 20 I had a completely different idea about my ‘dreams’. The point is that for most people dreams are either hard to define, or keep changing with time. If every time we leave all, and utterly and completely jump into following our next ‘one and only’ dream, such reversals may end in a chaos, or irresponsible attitude toward others. More, it could easily lead to self-disappointment from feeling of failure, or incapacity.
Unfortunately, we do not get the luxury of knowing what different careers really are about when we make choices. Sometimes, we need to start somewhere, and by gaining knowledge and experience, to decide what it is that we want to do for the rest of our life.
Let’s say you do have a dream and you are sure that you want to sacrifice all and follow it. Then I would say, you should ensure that you make a plan, and make sure your plan does not put under risk the well-being of other people. Then you need to define your strategy in detail, accounting for your goal, for the trends and perspectives of the sphere of your interests, and for the right timing. Also, before you dive into your endeavor, you should be prepared to answer the following questions: Will you continue following your dream even if the whole world stands against you? Will you steadily maintain your dedication even though it would require daily efforts and commitment? Will you continue motivating your followers when you face doubts, fears, rejection and drained resources? I hope you would be ready to say Yes to all.
All that being said, I am not trying to dishearten anyone. In fact, I would strongly encourage you to follow your dreams. Just wisely, responsibly, and step by step.