We’re often told to “follow our dreams”, but what people forget to tell you, is that it’s going to be a lot of really hard work. I always dreamed of moving to New York and becoming a successful business person, maybe even a stock trader. Little did I know, as soon as high school ended, I would be shipped off to New York for college, and that the chance to chase my dreams came, it really was time for the rubber to hit the road! I have learned so much this past year, and I’m going to distill it down into some hard but good advice about what it really takes to chase your dreams.
You have to fight for your dreams. It’s not going to be easy, or else it wouldn’t be a dream. No-one has dreams and aspirations of getting Ben & Jerry’s after dinner. It’s just not big enough, or (importantly) hard enough. Dreams have to be something that is hard to get, hard to reach, and probably, even harder to hold onto. So you have to fight. But what does that really mean? It means getting up so early, even when it’s snowing outside, and your blankets are just barely warm enough for you to snuggle into, warm and sleepy. Fighting means to fight that pull of the blanket, and the warmth, and force yourself to turn off that alarm, and go to that first class of the day. It means getting out of bed at 9 AM on a Saturday after an all-night party, and putting in some hours at the office, to nail the presentation and make a good first impression. It means working through the night because you have to, and not because you want to. It means not having a social life, not having a life, but working on that thing that you want more than anything else, some of the time. Please don’t become like that all the time, you’d be miserable!
Many people want to write a book, it’s a life goal of theirs. Other people want to become a successful comedian. Me? I just want to make a lot of money and enjoy this magical city, and add to it’s crazy stories. Notice that all of these three example dreams have a common thread: you can’t do it overnight. You can’t wake up one day, and be a successful writer. You can’t get up on stage and just start telling jokes for an hour and expect everyone to laugh and not heckle you. You write for a year, a book, some jokes, and you get better at writing, and you learn how to craft a story or a joke. And then you get better. You put yourself out there, and you fail, and you try again. And it takes time.
Some people dream of money, they want to be rich. I know, it’s kind of superficial, but it’s not about the money. It’s not about the perfect car or the house, it’s about what those things can do for you. It’s about the freedom they can give you. It’s about being able to say “I’ve made it, I’ve got enough, I can stop now and do whatever I want”. It’s about the peace of mind. It’s about the ability to do things for other people, to help them, to give them opportunities and experiences that they otherwise wouldn’t have. It’s about being able to travel, to be able to explore the world. It’s about freedom. But money isn’t easy to get, and you have to fight for it.
Start a company
When I was a kid, I thought that people got rich by doing a lot of work. But that’s not how rich people get rich. They get rich by trading stocks, or by buying and selling some other kind of asset, like houses. But they do it as a company. You can’t expect to get rich without making a proper company, having employees, and delivering a good service to the world. What sort of companies should you start? My first dorm mate started an SEO Company, and since meeting him (when he had only three customers), he has worked and worked, while the rest of us were just partying and doing assignments, he was slaving away on the computer, helping people fix their website. Now, today, I wish I had done the same as him, he has dozens of clients, and no longer works at the cinema during the summers, he’s free. He’s free to drive around in his beat up WV student car, and enjoy the summer breeze while the rest of us are packed away, working in a cinema projection room, at a hot and sweaty diner, or just plain studying hard. So my advice is to start a company.
So what have we learned? Simply, you have to fight for your dreams. You have to be willing to sacrifice the things that you would enjoy doing, in favor of doing the things that you dream of doing. You have to be willing to say “No” to your friends and family. You have to be willing to get a company together, and follow through to make it into a success. Only then do you get to enjoy your dreams as you wake.