We watch people go for their dreams and think to ourselves, I’d be too afraid to take that leap.
Fear has an amazing way of keeping so many of us stuck in relationships we don’t like, in cities we want to move away from, in jobs we can’t stand, not having conversations that need to be spoken, and ultimately not living the lives that we would like to live.
If I am honest, the truth is that there are many things that I would like to do that I am too afraid venture out into.
Don’t get me wrong, personally I’ve dared to take leaps on more than one occasion and each time I landed in financial ruin and left my loved ones scratching their heads trying to figure out my brand of crazy.
As a 35-year-old single mother it is not socially acceptable for me to take career risks that would be acceptable of a young single 18-year-old man.
For some reason it is more acceptable for young people to want to find themselves but if a forty-five year old man who is a husband and father of two wakes up one day and decides he wants to quit his job and sell everything he owns and has his family travel the world most people would call him crazy.
People who don’t want to work a nine to five, for forty hours a week at a job that doesn’t fulfill them are deemed by many as lazy.
Most of us never stop to think about why we get up everyday and go to a place that we hate.
Who decided that was to be our source of income and why did we accept it as truth?
It’s deemed easier to get up and work a job you hate for income, than it is to search for your purpose and earn an income from your talent to the world.
Far too many of us accept it as truth that it isn’t possible to have a job you love that pays well.
When people say they want to start writing books, start growing a crop for sell, painting, singing, designing clothing, opening their own exercise gym or anything that takes them out of the traditional nine to five they are deemed as abnormal.
We even scoff and say things like “you must have money to make money”.
Some of even take steps to make sure they know there isn’t enough resources, and that they can never do it.
Many of us our quick to recommend they take a “normal job”.
But there was a time when people had a craft of their own and a trade of their own that they brought to the table and that was a “normal job”.
They did more than file documents or sell products that most people don’t need or work in a system that ties their hands from doing a job the way they feel that they should do it.
Many of us dream of being entrepreneurs but we are afraid of not having a regular paycheck.
Our fear of not having money is used as a way of keeping us on the treadmill of the nine to five workforce because we don’t know how we will earn money if we dare to start our journey and be a trailblazer into uncharted territory.
Most learning institutions teach us how to work for someone else, not how to work for ourselves.
So week after week, we go to a job we don’t like and many of us go there for income that doesn’t cover our bills and moreover we go into debt, all out of fear.
We think anyone who is making it big must have done something illegal, immoral or unethical to get there.
Because here we are working 40 hours a week and all we got was a dollar raise.
When our friends try to start a small business of their own many of us don’t support them.
We are afraid to trust them with our money so we give it to the “professionals”. Better to lose our money to a big conglomerate than to invest it in someone we know personally.
In America the number of people with degrees surpasses the number of positions that require a degree and no one wants to talk about it.
Because we were told by universities who were in the business of selling us a degree that we need a degree in order to make it and now when their isn’t enough fruit in the way of jobs we are still telling our kids to go to university to get the degree so that they can at least have a chance at being underemployed.
Don’t get me wrong I’m not opposed to higher learning, nor am I opposed to working a traditional nine to five. However, I do think we should question why we judge people who choose to live their dreams instead of living their the way society tells them they should and not because they want to.
Some people are happy working a nine to five for someone else and there is nothing wrong with that.
But then there are other people who want to have their own construction company even if it means they have to work 70 hours a week to do it and to that I say they are not wrong for that either.
I posit many of us have been conditioned to believe that living out our dreams is for someone else, but not ourselves. We have been ingrained to believe this so much so, that when someone we know personally tries to break out of that mold they make us uncomfortable.
This is because the people who we know personally are most like us. And if they can make it then what is keeping us from doing the same?
Sadly, dream crushing has become so normal it’s hard to share a dream out loud.
Voiced dreams are often met with great resistance. Share a dream and the naysayers will swiftly speak up and smack it down.
I have seen firsthand where adults go into elementary schools and tell kids they should give up their dreams of making it big and have more conventional dreams.
We steal dreams from youth because we have been conditioned to believe that dreams are for the Bill Gates of the world, but not for us.
But dream crushing doesn’t stop in the workforce.
Additionally, we are afraid of being alone so we settle in unloving relationships. Many people are convinced to stay in painful relationships because “a good partner is hard to find”.
The idea of someone choosing to either be in a healthy relationship or no relationship at all is strange to many people.
Far too many people think that surely a man or woman must have something wrong with them if they love themselves enough to only tolerate a healthy partnership.
And another crippling fear that keeps us from our dreams is that many of us stay in a place we don’t like because we are so afraid that if we move that perhaps we won’t like the new place.
Ultimately, we stay in the known we don’t like out of fear of the unknown.
There are people who have never left their hometowns out of fear.
Their only point of reference to the outer world is the stereotypical depictions they see portrayed by the media.
And thus we live our lives afraid to quit our job and start our own business because we might go broke, all while disregarding the fact that everyday that we go to work we feel broken.
We are afraid to tell our kids its okay to want to be an author or a painter because we’ve been told those jobs don’t pay much money.
Sadly, I think many of us secretly hope the people in our lives fail when they try to buck the system and do what makes them happy.
I think that many of us hope they fail because deep down we know that if they succeed, it means that the only thing that keeps us from our happiness is our fear of failure. And if they can make it that means that we could have made it and our unhappiness is self-made.
If our friend loses the weight by persistently making healthy choices and we didn’t it means it was possible for us to lose the weight also, and thus perhaps the excuses we have been spouting aren’t valid.
We secretly want them to fail so we can keep lying to ourselves and remain uncomfortably uncomfortable.
When our friends business starts turning a profit we put a fake smile on our face while secretly wondering “how can someone do what makes their soul happy and succeed while everyone else plays by the rules and works at a job they hate”.
It really sticks in our craw for someone to start a small business and succeed when we tried selling Mary Kay that one time and no one in our family would even place an order.
But what we don’t see is the times when that person sleep on their friends couch or in their car in an attempt to fulfill their dreams.
We don’t see the times they bathed in the bathroom of a gas station.
We don’t see when no one would help them because they felt they should have known better than to quit that job.
We don’t see all the times they were rejected, their silent hustle, their tears, the times they doubted and their sweat.
Those people earned their success, they worked for it.
They believed in their dreams enough to walk them out while everyone else laid in the bed only dreaming.
For some reason we don’t cheer until they make it big, but even then as I previously mentioned we secretly resent them for showing us that if only we had toiled to break free the way they did we too could be in a position that we love also.
If only we weren’t too afraid to sell everything and move to Africa like our soul told us to.
If only we had the strength to leave that abusive relationship with the knowledge that we don’t have a wide variety of job skills and may not be able to afford to make ends meet without the help of our partner.
And if only we weren’t afraid to keep trying to make a business work even if it meant we saw it go down in flames.
It would be nice if society applauded those who march by the beat of a different drummer. But in our world most of us possess the herd mentality. We don’t like to think outside of societal traditions, instead we do what we believe most people do and never question why any of us are doing it.
Anyone who goes outside of the norm and chooses to do what makes them comfortable often makes us uncomfortable.
How dare they act on their dream of moving to the country and owning a farm and not eating food grown commercially!
No one else is doing it!
Most of us do not live in a society where being an individual is cheered upon, therefore for many of us individuality isn’t easy. But I say be an individual any way.
The majority of parents hope that their children will be normal and fit in with everyone else. I hope my kids fit in to themselves.
© Renata Pittman Smith and RenataNicole, 2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Renata Pittman Smith and RenataNicole with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.