California Dreaming

And Midwestern Practicality

California is an amazing place.

I’ve been there three times now, and every time I come back, I can’t help but feel its pull all the way from the Midwest.

Whether you’re in San Francisco or Los Angeles, the people there tend to have at least one major thing in common:

They dream big.

While on the West Coast, I enjoy meeting friends, both old and new, who pursue lofty dreams of making music, movies, and even movements.

While bartending and serving tables, these California dreamers are inspired to do whatever it takes to make it.

When I come back home to St. Louis, I notice something about people here in the Midwest:

They are practical.

Midwesterners tend to interact with real people living with real problems.

They live their lives in a slower, more intentional way. Some may have big dreams, but these dreams are overshadowed by practical choices, like raising a family, buying reasonably priced homes, or finding a “secure” job.

I know life isn’t always this binary. There are plenty of practical people on the West Coast and dreamers here in the Midwest.

These are the people that fascinate me.

Whenever possible, I try to meet these rebels in person and find out what makes them tick.

Typically, it comes down to one intriguing insight:

Location is starting to matter less and less.

Don’t get me wrong. I understand if you want to act in movies, chances are you will have to jet set to Los Angeles at some point. After all, this is where a lot of major motion pictures are actually filmed.

You could take the plunge, head out there with whatever savings you have, sign an expensive lease, and work 2–3 serving jobs to cover said lease, all while bouncing from audition to audition.

After visiting the West Coast for a short amount of time, I’ve realized that in terms of professional success, there is one common thread no matter where you live:

It’s not what you know; it’s who you know.

This is one of the core reasons people pay for ungodly leases and mortgages in the coastal hubs of the United States.

Because of this sacrifice, they have a better chance of rubbing shoulders and grabbing coffee with people that could single-handedly change their lives and make their dreams come true, in person.

Instead of taking this “traditional” path to success, you may be able to work smarter, not harder by utilizing the tools we now have at our disposal. No matter the industry, there are countless ways to network virtually.

Pursuing an acting career? You can start building a body of work and capture attention using YouTube, Instagram, and even Snapchat.

Considering music? Website likes Soundcloud and Spotify are now a must in order to distribute your music.

Creating a new app? You can now connect with potential cofounders and investors on platforms like LinkedIn and AngelList.

I know what you’re thinking.

These websites and apps will never truly replace real, face-to-face interaction.

You know what? I completely agree.

These tools aren’t meant to replace the need for human connection. They simply make first contact easier. They give you access to people who were once geographically out of reach.

Now, all it “takes” is talent, hard work, and a little audacity to put yourself in front of the right people, both online and in person.

No matter where you live, I would suggest continuing to dream big, while also using what you have to start small.

Otherwise, your dreams will forever stay dreams.

Do you live on the West Coast? In the Midwest? How are you currently pursuing your own dreams? Please feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below or on Twitter at @williamfrazr.

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