- Mental Health
Can You Live Your Dream? (An Article About Chasing Those Dreams We All Have)
How many of us have a dream? How many of us have an idealistic view of life, tucked away in the backs of our minds, that occasionally resurfaces to remind us of who we really wanted to be? How many of us are working in a job we find unfulfilling, unsure if we will ever be able to get out of our rut and move on to the things we truly aspire to? How many of us are letting our dreams pass us by, writing them off as naive, youthful fantasies, unrealistic in the 'real' world?
I'm willing to bet there are quite a few of us. Myself included. For, as we grow up and become adults, we acquire a lot of time-consuming and costly responsibilities. Somehow our dreams seem to fade further and further into the stratosphere until we become convinced they are unattainable.
Sometimes You Have To Take Risks
Sometimes money plays a part. We know what we want but we don't have the spare funds to go after it. Sometimes time discourages us - we want to make a career change but we must spend several years studying before we are qualified. Sometimes fear plays a big part, for there's nothing so comfortable as an old pair of slippers. Sometimes, though, if we want to live an enriched and fulfilling life then we simply have to go for it.
We all know people who have done it, of course. There have been countless television programmes about lucky people who have upped-sticks and headed off to a faraway country to live in an old castle, or something equally unconventional. Stressed out city slickers have thrown it all away to live on a farm in the back of beyond, getting their pleasures from feeding the chickens as the sun comes up. Others have risked it all to start a new business they are passionate about. Whatever your dream, most of the time it can be done - if only we can find the courage to get out of our comfy old slippers and go for it.
A friend of mine was one of the people who 'went for it'. She had always wanted the autonomy and freedom of working for herself. Even though she had three young children, she borrowed the money and took over a business renting out day boats on the Broads. Not only that, but she later expanded and set up a cafe and gift shop alongside it. The business is a valuable asset to the area and, even though she isn't rich, she is still doing what she wanted to do.
Taking Small Steps
I know someone else who was working part-time for a clothing chain but set up an on-line business selling children's clothes. This person also has young children, so working from home is ideal. Selling wholesale products on your own website is a reasonably safe path to take. Even if your business is unsuccessful, you will hopefully have suffered only minimal financial loss.
Some people are happy to take a risk or two, but so many more of us are stuck in our comfy old slippers. I am just as guilty as the next person. I have always harboured a dream of writing a book - and not just one book but many. But then I had a full-time job, and then I had my children and suddenly the prospect of writing that novel seemed extremely daunting; always something to put off until tomorrow. Not only that, but when I finally had a couple of hours to myself at the end of the day, the latest episode of my favourite soap opera suddenly seemed more appealing.
The problem was, I was stuck in my comfy old slippers. People who suceed in achieving their dreams don't get there without knowing what they want and making the effort. It doesn't always mean that you have to risk everything you have on a whim. Understandably, that is often not possible when you have responsibilities. Instead, the answer is to start out small, even very small, and work upwards.
That is what I am doing. I was fed up with the nagging feeling that time ticks on and on, even when you are standing still. I decided that doing something, however small, towards achieving my dream was a step in the right direction. I have now started writing my book and it is fifty thousand words long. I write something every day, even if it is only a paragraph or two. It's already taken me several months, but each time I write just a little bit, the words add up. After all, writing anything is better than writing nothing. If I write my one or two, or even three paragraphs, I finish the day with a feeling that I have accomplished something towards achieving my dream, even if it is only a tiny bit. I have done something worthwhile, just for me. Doing a small amount each day means that you still have time for everything else.
Remember: A Journey of a Thousand Miles Begins with a Single Step.....(quote from Confucius)
It does, indeed. At the end of the day, everything starts from nothing at all. I've always remembered the story told to me by a lady with a small business selling reusable nappies. She ran her on-line business from home, and I visited her house to collect some nappies I had bought because she lives in the same city as me. Anyway, I was purchasing three Tots Bots Bamboozle nappies and she asked me if I knew the story of how Tots Bots had first started out.
'A couple, husband and wife, had found themselves both unemployed with a young baby,' she said. 'With little money coming in, they suddenly had the idea of making their own nappies for the baby. They could see a gap in the market as they hadn't been able to find any products that suited them. So they used their dole money to buy some fabric and set about their plan at the kitchen table. Thus, Tots Bots was born.'
Tots Bots is now one of the major sellers of real nappies, at least in the UK. I think it is a wonderful story. It is an inspiring example of how two people who had hit hard times became a success. But it could easily have been so different. Had they not been prepared to take a risk, they would never have succeeded. How many people do nothing, believing a change just isn't possible? Low self-motivation leads to low self-esteem. You must believe you can be successful, otherwise you will never find the drive to 'go for it' in the first place.
The World is Your Oyster
These days, a huge percentage of households have access to the internet. Indeed, the Worldwide Web has completely revolutionised our lives. Suddenly we are all connected, without even having to go anywhere. A click of a button can put us in contact with someone on the other side of the country, or even the other side of the world.
For people who dream about setting up their own small business, the internet is a wonderful invention. It has made it possible for virtually anyone to purchase a domain and set themselves up as a company. Many people have taken a step into the world of business by selling wholesale items, or even their own products, on their own websites. The only finances required to get going are the costs incurred setting up and maintaining the website and the cost of the products to sell. It is an amazing opportunity, and far less of a risk than opening up your own shop, for instance. If it all falls flat, then you have lost only the cost of the products you have purchased. If is a success, then you can move on to greater things.
The Good Life
Perhaps it isn't a new business you are looking for. Perhaps you are fed up with the rat race; of ending the day feeling bogged down by the pressures of modern life. There is so much to do and so much is expected of us. Sometimes it can seem as though our society values little else but earning money and spending money. Perhaps you harbour a desire to get away from it all; to lead a self-sufficient existence in the country. Maybe you imagine yourself growing your own vegetables while the children run freely in clean, fresh air. It's a big step. You don't work in the country - you work in the city. You need the money, you can hardly give up working. You tell yourself it's not possible - you can't make the change. At least, not yet.
You could, however, start by making small changes. If you want to become self-sufficient(ish), put your name on the council waiting list for an allotment. I know two people who have recently done just that. Both of them now have their own plots (one half size, one full size), spades, shovels and wellie boots. One of them is my own sister, who had so many courgettes last summer that she didn't know what to do with them. The other is a friend who is only just setting out, but who has announced that she fancies keeping chickens as well. Freshly laid eggs and your own, home-grown, local vegetables. Zero air miles and practically no road miles. You're beginning to live your dream and you are thinking about the planet, too. It might not be the dream home with the acres of land in the countryside, but it's still digging in the outdoor air. It's a little step in the right direction and one step away from total reliance on the supermarket.
If You Have A Dream...
If you have a dream, a vision of the life you would love to lead, then spare a moment or two to consider this: One day, all being well, you will have grown older, a lot older. You will have a lot of time behind you to look back and reminisce over. Propel yourself into the future and imagine how you might feel. Go on, do it. I dare you. How will you feel if you had a dream but never did a thing about it? Then look at it from another perspective - how will you feel if you gave it your all and just tried?
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