“Follow your dreams” is not always the way to go
BY SIMONE YU
Not everyone can be like Justin Bieber.
Nowadays, it seems as if the online world is filled with inspirational quotes like “chase our dreams” and “be the person you want to be.” However, despite this saying being a fantastic mantra to follow at times, occasionally it is just not something that you should do.
Do not get me wrong, I am not telling you to just give up on your dreams for the future and settle for something that is going to make you unhappy. However, this cheesy advice ultimately comes from a place of inspiration, a world that is not meant to define your dreams, but a method of motivation.
Consequently, these quotes never really tell you how you should go after your dreams.
For example, if you wanted to be the next generation’s Jennifer Lawrence or Chris Hemsworth, someone would probably tell you to move to Hollywood, and just “believe in yourself!” However, even if acting is something you want to pursue, there are multiple factors that string along. Can you earn a living off of this? Would this still be your passion if you had to do it everyday, for the rest of your life? And possibly the most important factor: Can you even achieve this goal?
Essentially, you do not always have solid answers to all your questions; however, in a world where finances are getting tighter, colleges are harder to get into, and a vast sum of student loans need to be paid off, sometimes dropping everything in your life to pursue a big dream you have is not the most rational idea.
In fact, only about eight percent of people in the nation actually reach the dreams they aspire to reach. According to the University of Scranton, a whopping 92 percent of people who chase their dreams never actually achieve them. Despite the overwhelming inspiration around them, failing to achieve your dreams in a certain period of time is pretty frustrating and can discourage individuals.
The second, and possibly most important reason why it is not always a good idea to drop everything for your passion, is that these quotes make it sound too easy. Realistically, life is hard and your dream can take an insane amount of time; you have to stay dedicated in every step of the way. This means battling many nights filled with worry and anxiety, doubting your abilities, and wondering if it was a naive or good choice to pursue the path you chose. It means emptying out your bank account and praying everyday that you would get your break, so you can at least afford your groceries.
A close friend of my parents dreamed of being a singer for all her life, and dropped out of college to dedicate her time to music lessons. She was in severe debt, cut out my family and I, and wasted 12 years looking for small opportunities to pursue the dream “she had always wanted.” Twenty years has passed, and I still do not see her face on any billboards, or hear her voice on the radio. It goes without saying that some dreams are not meant for everybody.
As a result, understanding where you come from and checking the progression in your life can help you reach other fulfilling opportunities, which will in turn influence and alter your vision on reality. Life is all about self-creation, self-discovery and developing your true skills. Mastering these can help you look at other realistic goals that will benefit you greatly in the future. For example, a person who loves to sing but is also naturally good at biology can start a singing based YouTube channel and also pursue a career in biology. Her career in biology benefits her economically in the future, but she is also doing what she loves to do.
Furthermore, pursuing meaningful work does not mean you should drop something you wanted to pursue a career in. It means you know you are contributing to a healthy future, and not showing up to work to play, but to experience profound personal growth (not just professional growth) consistently as you develop.
In other words, pushing towards a dream is not as easy as people perceive it to be. There is a lot of work involved, commitment, and dedication.
When you hear stories such as overnight sensation Justin Bieber, it might sound easy to achieve success effortlessly; but, remember when something sounds easy, it is probably too good to be true. So, when you have the opportunity to follow your dream, make sure it is something you can achieve.