Dreams Change: Don’t Be Scared

The second in a series of posts focusing on career choices that are safe and career choices that are too safe.

StartUpPicStrange things happen as you get older, and I don’t mean to your body. I mean to your dreams. Here’s a story about me: after school I moved to Chicago to take improv classes at the IO Theater. It was my dream to be a famous comedian. Improv, sketch comedy, television shows, movies, I wanted to do all that stuff. I wanted to be the next Will Farrell.

And at first it was great. I made friends and did shows and took classes and I loved every minute of it. Then the luster wore off a bit. It was still pretty fun, but not as mind-blowing as it was at first. After a while, things started to get stale. I didn’t get the same rush from performing as I once did. But working on my writing? That was going great. I started getting fiction published. I got a few humor pieces placed around the internet. I got a job writing for a website. It was awesome!

So, then, did I ditch dream of being a famous comedian? No. I simply allowed my dreams to change and mature as I did.

It’s good to dream big when you’re young. A lot of the greatest innovations, especially in the technology industry, were born out of young people having a big dream and not taking no for the answer. But not everyone has the next Mark Zuckerberg or Steve Jobs or Larry Page. You could set out to make the next HALO and realize that you’re actually more into graphic design, or you might work at a preschool to pay the bills while you record your music and realize that you actually love working with children. And that’s fine. In fact, it’s great to realize these things.

What I’m getting at is that you need to fight for your dreams, but you shouldn’t fight it when your dreams change. Are you forcing yourself to pick a new dream because they’re more attainable? Then that’s a problem, because it means your settling for something, which is what I talked about in the last post. But if you just find your interests shifting? That’s cool! Let them shift! See what happens!

I’ve found as I get older that my dreams boil down differently. At first, the end goal of most of my dreams was to be rich and famous. Now, my dreams all lead to being happy and content. Reaching for these dreams makes me feel good, and that’s the key: making steps towards achieving your dreams should always be exciting and enjoyable. That’s how you know you’re on the right track.

(photo by Flickr user Heisenberg Media used under a Creative Commons License.)

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