I’ve watched a fair share of mediocre B-movies on a rainy day when I needed a bit of easy-going cheering. In them, the protagonist often has a dream, lots of setbacks, then rolls up the sleeves and after a sequence of scenes showing hard work of some sort, the protagonist gets to live the dream.
But what does it really mean to fight for a dream and then, if so fortunate, to live the dream? I think that the reality is not as rosy, especially when the coveted dream does not align with social axioms.
I’m not only talking about the stereotypical dreamers—the writers, the actors, the dancers, the poets, the artists, the musicians to name a few—but anybody who is pulled towards a more unconventional path. Like, for example, someone who has a seemingly crazy idea for a new business model and is told by well-meaning friends and relations that they are delusional to invest money in such a dream. Or somebody else who is really, really happy to deliver mail for the rest of their professional life and are told, yet again, by well-meaning naysayers that they should strive for more.
It takes guts of a special kind to be a dreamer. Because one needs to face not only well-meaning naysayers but also one’s self. I think that the hardest part of committing to a dream is first admitting that this dream exists. Years can be spent in the act of this because when the cat is out of the box, it cannot be put back. Then there will be no choice but to start the fight for that dream. Dan Blank wrote a little while ago a really perceptive post about giving yourself the permission to set out and pursue your dreams (and what comes after).
And then, when one is out of the dream closet at least in their own minds, there comes the second hurdle: fighting all the demons that the act of dreaming breathes life to. Fear and insecurity will inevitably rear their ugly faces in every dreamer’s path. And they come with many, many different faces.
Compared to all of this, the well-meaning naysayers are but a nuisance. But then again, perhaps not when dreamers try to explain themselves to such people. The dreamers will then indeed sound crazy even to themselves.
Yes, it takes guts to be a dreamer and to fight the battle every single day. And though I have not gotten to where I live my dream, I suspect that even with the validation of success, not all demons go away; and not all naysayers.
But then, why fight on? Because the fight for a dream is beautiful, and invigorating, and life-shatteringly vivifying. The fight in itself is worth the fight. I would rather climb to the top of the highest tree and let the winds of life whip me whichever way they may rather than to live a stoppered life in the cozy shadow by the trunk.
Dreamers, you are brave. Don’t let others tell you otherwise. If in their eyes you achieve nothing, let this not eclipse what really counts: You’ve got guts. You’re brave enough to face your own demons. And you’ve got the fuel to give your dreams one hell of a chase. That’s already more living than any naysayer will ever live. It’s worth the fight.