It's one of the saddest events I see and unfortunately, I see it far too often. Fear, the most destructive of human emotions, succeeds in totally ruining the dreams and ambitions of millions and millions of people EVERY YEAR.
And the real sad part is that the people involved give in to their fears and kill their beautiful dream. Any chance of experiencing a fulfilled happy life, of living the life they truly want, evaporates.
Just why do people kill their dreams? I want to share with you a true story to illustrate what's happening here.
Recently, I met up with a good friend of mine for a drink. I hadn't seen her for a while and was looking forward to meeting up. Nikkie is a very talented dancer who's never happier than when she's dancing. When I last saw her, she was buzzing with excitement about 2 stage shows she was performing in and told me of her plans to finish her IT degree course then move to London to pursue her dancing professionally. Eventually, she'd manage her own studio and teach.
What a great dream, yes? Dancing and performing for a living, then teaching the art to others. Beats the 9-5 rat race, doesn't it? Her eyes sparkled and she had a real buzz about her. Have you ever felt this way about something? Passion! A constant, unwavering, motivating, inspiring PASSION. Believe me, it is something I love to find in people. People who feel this way about their dream crackle with energy and are busy living life.
I couldn't wait to hear how her plans were progressing and how her shows had gone. Yes, she is attractive, but what attracted me the most was her passion for her dream. Passion is contagious!
OK, get the tissues ready because here's the sad news: We met and I knew instantly something had changed. She told me about how hard her exams had been but she'd obtained her degree. "Well done, now, what's happening with your dancing? How did the shows go?"
She replied that the shows were fine and then knocked me for 6: "I've decided not to pursue dancing now. I've started a graduate management training scheme and I'm going to have a career in IT instead."
I tried and tried to talk her into pursuing her dream but the buzz had gone. She'd always said the degree was just for back up in case things didn't work out with her dancing. I reminded her of this and she said, resignedly: "things have changed. Dancing will just be for fun now."
At the root of her decision is fear. The usual fear excuses were all trotted out:
"It's so difficult to break in to the top level."
"I'd have to move away from home and I'd miss my family too much. Besides, I'd be on my own in a big city."
"There's much more money in IT."
I told her others had overcome the first two therefore, she could. But the last one is the real key. I had a fantastic career in IT - I still love working with computers, always have. Conversely, Nikkie had worked for 6 weeks last summer in an office and HATED EVERY SECOND of it. She was bored, didn't like being indoors and it wasn't active enough for her. And now, with a degree firmly in her hand, she's willing to sell-out on her dream to do something she hates purely for money and security. She isn't the first to kill her dream for these reasons and she sure won't be the last.
I feel sorry for her. Because now she'll never know how far she could've got as a dancer. Maybe one day she'll return to it and teach and I really hope she does. But it won't be as the wonderfully fulfilled person who gave everything for her dream and experienced true fulfillment, tremendous satisfaction and the greatest reward of all: the happiness that comes from achieving success having overcome challenge after challenge.
Yes, going for a dream is real tough. There will be endless hours of work and effort. Years of dedication, tears of frustration, setbacks, knocks, sticking points and failures. That's the price demanded by success. But my lord is it worth every single second of it when finally, the day dawns when your efforts start to bear fruit. It's a very special feeling, the biggest buzz you or I can ever have.
Your dream is special. You don't need anyone's approval for it, you don't need to make excuses for it and you don't need to be frightened of it. Embrace it. Commit to it. I promise you, you will not regret it no matter what happens. But if you give-up on it, if you kill it, well...
I'll leave you with the same words I said to Nikkie as we said our goodbyes: "As the years pass, age will bring you time to reflect on your life. If you live a dream your memories will bring you joy and comfort. If you betray it, the memory of your betrayal will haunt you because you'll never know how high you could've flown. Life is not a dress rehearsal. Please don't give up on your dream."
Beautiful dreams die everyday. Nikkie killed hers. Please don't kill yours too.