Photo by Johannes Plenio on Unsplash

I’m Giving Up On My Dreams

It’s a bittersweet moment, but my dream of becoming a writer and all the other dreams that went along with it are dead. I’m calling it quits.

Fare Thee Well, Dreams

I’m giving up on my dreams and saying goodbye to my hopes and aspirations. I no longer have any. That’s right. I’m quitting the dreaming business and joining the real world.

Fantasies? No thank you. I’m taking my head out of the clouds and putting my hands firmly in the ground.

Because the truth is this: my dreams and fantasies of being a writer are worthless.

Dreams and fantasies are for kids.

It took me way too long to get to this point and I probably should have given up a long time ago. But as I approach my 30th birthday, forces both internal and external have driven me towards this moment of reckoning. Enough is enough — dreams and fantasies are for kids. Its time for me to grow up.

And dreams, nice as they are, are worthless.

The Difference Between Goals and Dreams

There’s a real and extremely important difference between dreams and goals and how they drive you towards action in your daily life.

Simply put, dreams don’t drive action.

They encourage complacency and stagnation at best and regression and rot at worst.

Goals, on the other hand, do drive action.

They force you to do stuff, whatever it might be, on a consistent basis so that you can actually achieve what you want to achieve.

Goals force you to take steps. They force you into being the person you want to ultimately be — a person of action. Otherwise, you’re just living in a fantasy land. You’re kidding yourself.

Almost ten years ago, I told someone that I wanted to become a writer, to which they replied:

“That’s nice. Is it a dream or a goal?”

I shrugged. I didn’t see the difference. I guess I never really thought about it.

“Have you done anything today, yesterday, or the day before to help you become a better writer? When you go through your day are you taking concrete, actionable steps to get to where you want to be? Are you doing anything consistently?”

No. I had to concede that I wasn’t. But I still didn’t see her point.

“Well then, you have a dream of becoming a writer. Not a goal. Goals are something you work towards by taking action on a consistent basis. Until you start doing that, all you have is a dream. And dreams, nice as they are, are worthless.”

Despite this poignant advice, it took me the better part of the next decade to take it seriously and implement it into my day to day life.

It sounded good, it made sense, I believed what she was saying. And yet, I still didn’t stop dreaming — not until a few weeks ago.

But I’m finally moving on. I’m putting my head down and doing the little things, every single day, that will drive action and help me get to where I want to go.

The process is all that matters. The obstacle is the way. It’s all about the journey. The need to win will cripple you. The results take care of themselves.

Yes, all those sayings and cliches you’ve heard a million times that make you roll your eyes — they’re all fundamentally true.

I have a goal now and I know the steps I can take to achieve it. Dreams and fantasies won’t fuel me on the journey. But there are things I can do every single day that will move me towards the target.

So I’m making my bed everyday, I’m cleaning my room and staying organized in my work space, I’m going to the gym, I’m eating healthy, I’m reading, I’m writing, I’m journaling, thinking deeply about what interests and concerns me, I’m keeping a commonplace book, I’m seeking out new experiences and trying to do interesting things.

I’m doing all these little things. Every. Single. Day.

Essentially, I’m living my life by way of action. That’s all I have control over and so that’s all I’m going to do. And I’ll let the chips fall where they may.