Does anyone else find it strange that when we’re all in Kindergarten, that our elders have no issue with our desires to be an astronaut, a firefighter, or an author, but as soon as the clock strikes midnight on our 18th birthday, we’re expected to come up with a “stable” plan for our futures?
One that doesn’t involve jumping straight into dangerous black holes.
One that doesn’t involve walking through flames of the unknown.
One that doesn’t involve earning meager wages doing something we love.
Society expects us to be able to plot out our futures as soon as we’re out in the “real” world, when, all this time, we’ve been fed the idea that we can also “accomplish anything we set our minds to”, and to believe we can do the “impossible”. Elders in our lives want us to chase our dreams, but simultaneously tell us our dream can never be our “real” job, because there’s no chance we’ll ever make money doing what we love.
It’s a confusing contradiction, and it’s no wonder kids change majors so much in college, with all the “what-ifs” thrown at them.
My friend, if your mind is currently swarming with the “what-ifs” of entering the real world, or finding a “real job”, allow me to interject the voices screaming at you to decide, and just whisper, follow YOUR dreams, not the expectations of others.
Yes, There’s Stigma
Some older adults, or maybe even people in their twenties, like me, will gawk at that advice. And, yes, they have their reasons. “Following your dreams won’t pay the bills, especially in this economy,” is a valid argument right now, with America’s inflation at its highest point in four decades. Financially, Americans are in a bleak place, and achieving the “American Dream” in this economy seems more impossible than ever if you want to avoid the 9-to-5 lifestyle and do your own thing.
But, there’s always been stigma surrounding chasing dreams.
So many before us, who now are the poster children for the “America Dream”, were once gawked at by naysayers too. They were told they would never make money chasing that Kindergarten dream. They were told the odds were stacked against them, and that they had a better chance of winning the lottery than making a life for themselves doing XYZ. That they were too young, too dumb, too inexperienced, and had too much competition to stand out.
But, by the grace of God, mountains moved for them, and they made history.
If you consider yourself a dream chaser, stigma and resistance from others is a guaranteed side-effect. It may even come from those you would never expect to question your abilities, like your family or friends. Sometimes, it will feel as if you’re walking the road alone, with no clear path in sight, only moving forward by a mustard seed of faith.
But Walk Anyway
if Walt Disney, Michael Jordan, or Alan Jackson allowed the voices of others in their lives to stop them from chasing their dreams, imagine how many others, who went on to chase their own dreams because of the blind hope of these men, would have never tried?
Walt Disney was rejected over 300 times by bankers for his themepark, and, before that, was fired from his local newspaper for “lacking creativity”. [Forbes article: https://www.forbes.com/sites/jamesasquith/2020/12/29/did-you-know-walt-disney-was-rejected-300-times-for-mickey-mouse-and-his-theme-park/?sh=1f3f19374a97]
Michael Jordan tried out for his high school’s varsity basketball team as a sophomore, and was rejected because he wasn’t tall enough at the time. [Biography.com article: https://www.biography.com/news/michael-jordan-facts]
Alan Jackson’s own sisters didn’t know he could sing until he decided to move to Nashville. He was told he was “too country” for a while after moving to the country music capital of the world, and was turned down by several record labels. [Taste of Country article: https://tasteofcountry.com/alan-jackson-documentary-things-we-learned/]
These are dreamers who are now considered some of the top performers in their chosen professions because they chose to walk down the dimly lit path toward their dreams, and not stop to listen to the naysayers.
Imagine if they had just stopped.
Personally, two of the men listed above are some of my greatest inspirations, and the dreams they chased are only loosely related to my own. Without them chasing their dreams before me, I would have less hope for chasing my own dreams as an indie author.
Now, Imagine If You Stop
It’s easy enough for us to want to stop chasing our dreams because everyone else says it’s impossible, but have you ever considered the consequences that may follow if you give up?
All those people who said negative things about your dreams will be proven right.
Your children will grow up and may doubt their own dream paths because they know you gave up yours.
Some wide-eyed and wonder-struck little kid in your hometown, who you don’t even know, may be watching you try to accomplish the same dream they want to chase, and give up because you did.
If you want that dream bad enough, don’t let Satan’s negative influence knock you down. God gave you this particular dream for a reason, and if it’s eating away at you, if you know without a shadow of a doubt this is the path God has set you on and it involves using a gift God gave you, you need to chase it, no matter what anyone else says.
God may have put you on this path to become the next Disney, Jordan, or Jackson in your field. He may have also placed you in the paths of others so they can become the next Disney, Jordan, or Jackson in their field.
Please don’t stop, my friend. Chase that dream with everything God has given you, holding on to that mustard seed of faith all the while. ❤
Talk to Me, Arrowheads!
What dream are you chasing? Name one person who has influenced you to chase your dream, because you watched them chase theirs.
Aim high, stay strong, and always hit your mark.
2 thoughts on “Follow YOUR Dreams, Not the Expectations of Others”
Hey Allyson, great read! I particularly enjoyed your in-depth discussion of combatting stigma, since it was something I hadn’t really thought of before. Being a fellow blogger myself, I also really appreciate how organized and well-formatted everything was – it definitely made the content much more digestible overall. Keep up the awesome work!
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Wonderful article!!! I once heard that, before the start of his acting career, somebody asked George Clooney what his backup plan was. His response was that he didn’t have a backup plan because if he had a backup plan, he would need it. Of course I can’t find that quote ANYwhere now, and I’m not saying I look up to him as a person, but I have always liked that attitude of, “I will do everything I can to make this dream happen.” Speaking of Walt Disney, he had dyslexia, and he didn’t let that stop him 🙂 Thank you for the inspiring blog post!
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