Butts and buts

This piece was inspired by conversations I keep having time and time again with different people, who are at the beginning of their journey — including me. If I asked you now, do you truly love your life? Do you love what you do? Would you do anything differently if you could do whatever you always dreams of? Well, some of you would start sentences with: I wish I could…I would…but…

What is a ‘but’?
Simple. It’s a cocktail of fear, laziness, excuses, self-doubt, lack of determination and a hint of misbelief. Of course there are some but-s that are real such as “I would love to become an alligator, but…”

Your but, might be smaller than you think. As a case study, let me introduce you to my but. — Yes, I intended to phrase it this way :) — It used to control every aspect of my life. Always accepting the bad that happened to me, if I got a no, it stayed a no, if I didn’t accomplish a goal for the first try, it stayed unaccomplished. This all sounds a little depressing so I need to mention here that fortunately I had plenty of successes along the way, but we will focus on the first half of the sentence for now.

Once upon a time, I used to be an excuses-girl who instead of just doing it, I could come up with every excuse in the book on why I won’t or couldn’t do it. “In my case it is different…too hard…yes, but for you it is easier because…” The words difficult, impossible and no came up way too often until I realised, I am the only person standing in my way.

Here is an example: I started snowboarding 9 years ago and my first year was absolutely horrible. I could only turn one way, but not the other. I fell hard on average every 10 minutes until every inch of my body turned black and blue. After a few days of trying and not succeeding, I stopped trying, started complaining,“snowboarding is stupid, it’s only for crazy people” — of course blaming the activity itself and others. I undid my boots and walked back to the bus. That was it for me.

Then next year I looked at my board and thought back on how cool I looked on it, the extreme sport chic look suits me, guys dig it and I felt sexy. So why not try again… Regardless of my motives, I still strapped myself in and went down the slope several times until I learnt to ride the snowboard. The lesson here was, that I wanted the sport chic look so bad, I was willing to fall on my butt countless times and long story short, doesn’t it look cool? ;)

What I’m saying is, that I just needed to search for that one pro that overwrites all the cons. Yes, it is dangerous, I could break my bones, it’s expensive, I could hit my head and die, I could get lost on the mountain, I could get hit by a skier and see the light at the end of the tunnel, BUT I look awesome. This superficial reason later turned into passion, now I do the sport purely for the love of it, but it had to start somewhere. Loving the sport helped me grow the pros list so today my reasons are more profound and I keep snowboarding because it contributes to my happiness.

Starting with something so small, so superficial can turn into deep motives.

The point is, even if your pros and cons list is unbalanced at first, you can’t let fear or self doubt stop you from dreaming big. No one in history got really good at something by doing it once.

Aim for the stars, land on the Moon
This saying used to be my motivation to do great things, but today I no longer find it true. If I aim to achieve something big, but I only get half way, that is not a goal achieved. That is not good enough. Half a job is not a job. Hmmm…I can’t recall more relevant clichés here, but you get the idea. And once again, no one in history got really good at something by reaching half the goal. No dream is too big, if I feel I’m capable and I deserve it, I’m going for it no matter what.

Good advice, bad advice
There is another problem that blocked me from dreaming. People around me. People who are dominated by fear of the unknown, fear of challenge, fear of change, jealousy or ignorance. After my second article was published on an online portal about my current hitchhiking trip around the world, the first comment was from a gentleman who called me silly and said I should be thinking about my pension plan, saving money, building my career instead of fooling around and wasting time travelling.

Well, that is exactly what I’m doing! I’m living my dreams, working towards my future, building a career as a travel blogger, I’m learning about the world and about myself, making the most of my life on this planet.

Isn’t the ultimate goal to be happy?

Happiness is relative. You might be happy investing in your new home, while this would make me miserable. I’m happy sleeping under the stars but this might make you miserable.

So do not let people tell you how you should live your life. Dream like a child, be stubborn to follow your path like a teenager and make decisions like an adult.

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