Having recently made the decision to move back to Europe for an extended period of time, I’ve had the good fortune to run across a number of incredible sights and immediately identified with Nikola Tesla’s mural quote above. That very first line struck so true that my immediate thought was “I understand. I totally get you.”
This move across the world marked a new era for me. My next epoch. A pivotal point. Yet while historically such moments would have been determined by the wishes of my parents and later my career, this particular move was prompted singlehandedly by my decision to search for my own true source of happiness.
To follow my dreams – To do what I love, help those I care for and live a life without regrets.
Needless to say, I’ve met resistance along the way. From naysayers. From those who care for me but were simply scared for my wellbeing. From those who do not understand. However, I am determined and cannot be dissuaded. I follow a path, which I chose and one I feel I must pursue.
Should you find yourself in a similar position, below are eight reasons to follow your dreams.
1. Do it for you
You will never achieve anything worthwhile until you do it for yourself.
Chase what makes you happy. Not what you expect will make others in your life happy. Not your family, not your friends, not even your partner, and definitely not strangers. Each of them have their own lives to live and their own happiness to chase. Each of us is accountable for our own actions.
Focus on yourself first, then help others.
2. Fear will be your biggest regret
Akin to sprinting into a brick wall, it will hit you hard – Continuous failure will never best you, so long as you get back up; fear of failing in the first place however, will be the end of you.
Being petrified of diving in with both feet as opposed to dipping a toe in to test the waters is a great excuse to settle for mediocrity. A great excuse for an unfulfilled life. Somewhere in our everyday, boring, familiar comfort zone. This is where you have effectively made the choice to give up. Where you have allowed yourself to die inside while you physically live on.
Realise that failure is what you make of it. It can be your enemy and obstacle or it can be your teacher and your friend. Learn to embrace it. You’ll either beat it or you’ll learn from it. The only time you’ll truly fail is when you give up for the last time.
3. Work, fight and suffer
“A man is born to work, suffer and to fight. He who doesn’t, must perish.” – Nikola Tesla
Having the desire and the decision to follow your dreams is a great starting point. Determination, hard work and fighting through the tough times is what will ultimately bring you success. It is your dream. You already love the idea and that love will push you through the bad times and make things that much easier during the good times.
However, you will suffer and you will be in pain, so steel yourself early on and save yourself a lot of time, energy and heartache in the process.
4. Competition is for losers
“…if you win by an inch or a mile. Winning’s winning.” – Dom Toretto
In a world where we are taught to compete at school, at work and even in our personal lives, winning by beating our competition can quickly become an unhealthy obsession. Most companies waste time on competitive research and most people pointlessly and subconsciously compete with their peers, friends and family without a clear goal in mind.
In reality, the lack of success on your part most likely comes from where you’re lacking rather than from what your competitors are doing better than you.
Once you mentally decide to leave competing behind and focus on what you need to do, you will (ironically) leave your competitors behind. You won’t be competing – You’ll be leading. You’ll be miles ahead in the only race that truly matters to you.
5. You will learn to keep an open mind
Way too often are we guilty of intermixing fantasy with reality leading to inaccurate conclusions, which feel very rationalised. You do it, I do it, everybody does it. No matter what anyone says, you are never as good or as bad as people say.
When we find an idea, a concept or a person attractive, we tend to see the very best of them. Yet When we get frustrated, our reality becomes warped by seeing only the bad, which in truth is only in your head. Understand that people pass these judgements at subconscious levels all the time.
No one person has ever been correct 100% of the time and being right can be a very fluid concept. Your present self, you from two years ago and you two years from now will all be drastically different people – Each basing their beliefs on their immediate surroundings and experiences. Which of the three is right and cares most about you?
More often than not, the right choice will contain a mix of our immediate surroundings, our own perception of reality and wishes of where we’d rather be. Think with an open mind and be accepting of mistakes, both your own and of people around you.
6. You’ll radiate from within
One piece of advice that’s regularly making the rounds through entrepreneurial circles is that you must be your own source of happiness and motivation. Grab motivation wherever you will, but understand that without that fire and passion burning deep inside of you, you will falter when times get tough.
You need to be your own flame, burning brightly. Family, friends and partners can be that gust of wind, which ignites that flames into a full blown inferno, but ultimately, you have to be the source of the fire and burn brightly on your own.
Following your own dreams will help you burn brightly.
7. Follow your heart
“Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life.
Almost everything–all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure–these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important.
Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.” – Steve Jobs
8. Because you should never give up
Whether it’s on your idea, your dreams, your passions or even on another person. If you’re truly after something, teach yourself not to give up. Push for it. Pursue it. Make it happen! Nothing worthwhile comes easy and easy things are most often not worthwhile. Sometimes you’ll miss out and sometimes no matter how hard you try, things simply won’t go your way, but you will always find solace in knowing that you have never given up.
Are there any other reasons you can think of? Let me know in the comments below.