Always Pursue Your Dreams – No Matter What Happens


Dandelion seeds - Make a wish! [Explored #18]

I was watching a documentary the other day about someone who is pursuing their dream to become a big actor in Hollywood.  He arrived ten years ago and since then has had minimal success in reaching that goal.  When asked, the actor said he felt the time he spent pursuing his dream was completely worth it.

And for the most part I agree.  This guy showed persistence and determination in pursuit of his dream.  How many of us can say we’ve done the same?  In fact many people never even get started.  And that’s a shame too because you should always pursue your dreams even if they never work out.

Are You Pursuing Your Dreams?

One of the biggest obstacles for people pursuing their dreams is that they have the belief that it won’t work.  Before they even try, they’ve already determined that the odds are against them so much that they might as well not start.

I certainly understand the difficulties in achieving many dreams.  That actor must have realized that thousands of people move to Hollywood every year to make it big, but only a handful of people actually become stars.  The chances of success are so overwhelmingly against you that you have a better chance of getting hit by lightning on a clear day.

But hyperboles aside, the big question remains.  Why would someone pursue a dream when the odds are stacked against them?

Well, there are actually two great answers to that question:

  1. You may not achieve your dreams, but you at least you tried which is more than most people can say.
  2. Life isn’t about the destination, it is about the journey.

Why You Might Not Pursue Them

I’m going to go over those two points further, but first let me tell you a story about a girl.  I met her shortly after she had graduated with an MBA from a prestigious business school.  She was smart enough to finish the program in one year and was even awarded “MBA of the year”.

But there was a problem: She hated it.

She hated the school, the people and especially the degree.  She actually wanted to pursue something creative like writing or art, but her father forced her into this degree because it would offer her more options after graduation.

When I talked to her, she was happy to have options after graduation, but really sad that she could never pursue her creative side.  Artistic careers may not pay the bills as easily as a business degree, but now she feels stuck doing something she doesn’t like.  She’ll always wonder how things might have turned out under different circumstances.

This is typical of how most people miss out on pursuing their dreams.

While dreaming of one path, you end up taking the opposite direction.  Usually that can be because the career prospects are better, but it could also be because you have no time or other responsibilities get in the way.

Why You Should Pursue Your Dreams

Let me ask you a question about the dreams you have.  Would you rather pursue them and fail or never try at all?  For me, I’d rather try and fail.  I don’t want to leave things wondering what might have been.

Take writing for example.  I’ve wanted to be a professional writer since I was a little boy, but I was too scared that I wouldn’t be any good at it.  But several years ago I started pursuing this dream despite knowing how difficult it might be.  I fully realize I may not make it, but I’m completely fine with that.

At least I tried which is more than most people can say.

I just don’t want to look back on my life when I’m 80 and realize I never even tried.  Instead of taking the chance on myself, I would have taken the easy way out and regretted it.  I don’t want to look back and wonder what might have been.

Life is a Journey

Don’t see failure or success as the only end goals when it comes to pursuing your dreams.  I don’t think of dreams in these terms.  A lot of life falls into a gray area and dream-chasing is no exception.

Instead, think of life as a big journey where what happens along the way is just as important as reaching the end goal.  Even if I never reach my goal of becoming a professional writer, I completely believe the choice to pursue it was worthwhile.  I’ve developed great skills and made wonderful relationships with other bloggers.

Plus, I am proud that I took the chance on myself; it’s very life-affirming.  Pursuing your dreams can take a lot of courage and dedication to do.  Plus all the experiences you get along the way can make every minute you put into it worthwhile.  That’s something I’m sure that actor learned while pursuing his dreams.  And it’s why you should always pursue them – no matter what.

What dreams have you always wanted to pursue? If you’re pursuing your dreams now, what have you learned along the way?
Photo Credit: Fiduz

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  1. Well-said ! People can only define their lives by pursuing dreams . Life is dull and ordinary without dreams . Like u said , life is a journey , a marathon . it never stops moving and so one has to move along with it .Its more about contentment and being proud of ourselves than it is about winning and losing .
    Since I was a kid I dreamed of becoming a paediatric cardiothoracic surgeon one day . There is still a long way to go and its a difficult path but I know that I dont have to worry about it . I also wish to be a professional writer , something which I havent pursued yet but i believe i will soon start working on it .

    • Life would be dull and ordinary without dreams. Many people’s lives are defined by those big goals they decided to pursue. And if even if they don’t work out, there is always something to learn along the way. In the end, it’s about being proud of yourself and looking at what you really want to do and taking a chance on yourself to make it happen.

      It might be a difficult path to make your dream happen, but you should still give it a shot. There’s always something to learn and you can enjoy yourself along the way.

  2. I am always amazed that when I truly pursue my dreams, not just pay it lip service but genuinely throw myself into it, the arduousness of the work disappears. Even the endless repetitions needed to learn a skill have an air of adventure to them.

    In my past, I wouldn’t follow my dreams, afraid of either not being able to fulfill them or that they wouldn’t be what I wanted anyway. Now I take the chance to follow any path that seems of interest. The skills I learn along the way, and the things I learn about myself, make the journey better than any destination.

    • I was the same way in the past. Too afraid to try those things I always wanted to try. But then I started doing more and more of them and it’s always been a good experience. I don’t always reach my end goals, but I gain good skills and life experiences.

      I know what you mean about throwing yourself into something. Those times I really put myself into a task seem to be the ones where I enjoy myself. Even if the work is hard, I find something satisfying about it. I wonder if there is a way to do that for every task I need to do.

  3. I am sorry to learn about your friend. It will be really sad if she cannot pursue her dream. Perhaps she can find a way to explore her creative side, on a part-time basis. It was what I did when I started working myself.

    You certainly have a fabulous attitude. I wish I was as determined as you when I was younger. I wish you every success in your dreams!

    • I think it will be sad if she doesn’t pursue her dreams either. I’ve actually lost touch with her so I can’t say for certain if she continued on her path or changed course. Although from what I saw, it didn’t seem as if she was going to explore her creative side more.

  4. Hey Steve,

    Stumbled across your Blog from Kelvins Blog and thought I’d check your work out. Great stuff you have going on here. I’m glad you yourself are pursuing what you enjoy.

    Honestly, life is a massive roller-coaster ride. There are always times when we feel like we are hitting a brick wall; even when we WISH to do that thing; i.e. I want to create a successful online business and coach others to be successful. I would always pick doing this over sitting in an office where I’d be hating life. You have to enjoy life; we are only here once (I think).

    I have a passion to coach, I love it and have done it in previous office jobs. So my aim is now to take that online in the IM world… I’ve hit so many road blocks and it’s incredibly hard to overcome some hurdles sometimes. However I pick myself up and move on, using my DREAM as my motivator to keep me going.

    The story you told is inspiring and makes me want to work hard to get to my final destination. Thanks Steve.

    Wish you best of luck with your ventures and hope you enjoy your time doing what you love.



    • Hey Joey,

      Yes, you have to enjoy life while you’re here. As far as I know, you only live once. At least that’s the way I’m living it.

      Picking to do what you’re passionate about is definitely the better way to go instead of sitting in an office doing something you hate. I’ve done that and regretted the time I spent there.

      Good luck on your coaching. Eventually all those roadblocks you’re hitting will get easier and easier to overcome. If there’s something I’ve learned over the years, it’s that you sometimes have to take the path of most resistance to get where you want in life.

  5. Steve reading your post made me relive an old regret. I sometimes look back on a certain period of my life (when i was climbing the corporate ladder) and pushed myself to climb it despite the fact that i hated it and had this whole other creative side i was ignoring. I thought i was doing what i was supposed to do. Now looking back, i feel regret. I can’t believe i was so proud that i was the last one at work everyday, or the best speech giver or that i was chasing a title. Now those things seem trivial.

    Like you said, i would rather fail while trying to achieve a dream rather than never try at all. The journey for the dream is part of the experience.

    • It’s surprising how many people have told me about a similar regret. So much time spent doing a job they really didn’t enjoy. I’ve been there before too so I know what that’s like.

      At least you stopped working late and chasing those titles. Imagine the person who spends their entire life doing something they never actually enjoy.

      I think it’s never a bad thing to get into a job you don’t like. What’s bad is when you stay there despite not liking it.

  6. Thanks for this. At this point, one of the things I’ve recognized is that whether I “succeed” or “fail” at what I’m doing (which, at the moment, is producing and writing an online animated musical) is largely irrelevant — this is what I like to do, and I would continue to do it regardless of whether anyone listened. Thus, the whole “fear of failure” issue doesn’t really come up for me so much anymore.

    • Wow, making an online animated musical sounds like it would be a great experience. I hope you have a great time making it.

      You have a great attitude about the whole thing. It’s what you like to do. That’s what matters most. So much so that it doesn’t matter whether you succeed or failure. Although I’d say that doing what you love is always a success.

  7. I am completely with you on this
    – pursue your dreams
    – better to have tried and failed

    If you do not even try to pursue your dreams, it is the same as giving up on YOU, so just taking steps, however small they may be, is empowering you and this can lead to the necessary opportunities opening up to you.

    Are you spreading your wings and go after your dreams? Dare follow your passion and see in what direction you will fly … it is all about the journey I agree.


    • It really does seem as if you’re giving up on you. What does it say about yourself if you won’t take a chance to go after what you want? It means you don’t believe in your abilities to make it. That’s a sad place to be in.

  8. Great advice. However, when pursuing our dreams, we must first learn to have the wisdom to see whether a dream is a good one or a bad one. Some dreams that are seemingly attractive may end up bringing us unhappiness and suffering, such as luxury life styles, vanity or fame. While some truly worthwhile dreams may not look very appealing at first glance, such as helping others, contributing something positive to the world, etc. If we pursue the wrong kind, we may risk wasting our entire life chasing but not getting what we want. It’s true life is a journey, but not all itineraries are worth the effort and trouble.

    • You make a good point, Harry. There could be instances when dreams are destructive. The examples you gave such as doing things for vanity or fame could bring you unhappiness. It’s true that some paths might not be as worth following as others.

      I still think it’s good to follow every dream though. Sometimes it’s hard to see a path as destructive until you’re actually on it. And there should still be good things to learn along the way – life lessons and experiences. If you do find yourself following a destructive dream, you should get off it and onto a better more productive one

  9. This is an old post but relevant for me right now. My husband of 25 years left us because we were in the way of him fulfilling his dreams.

    However it seems my definition of a dream isn’t the same as his. He felt a dream is owning as many cars possible. Snowmobiles. Powerboats and PWCs. Yachts. Planes. Latest gadgets. He financed it all because we don’t take money with us was his belief.
    I don’t see any of this as a dream. It was stuff. The adventure to see sights by water and land that is a dream. But i don’t agree it must be achieved in the latest most expensive toy we must mortgage. That’s vanity.

    Once he left he used his last cent to start a side business on the water. This is a dream and i may have supported it but never had the chance. He found a young rich girl that would make his dream a reality. Although he did go in debt too to make it happen.

    I asked him what the dream goal was. He said to show others a good time. Young got girls paid for trips or cool guys fussed about his business and that made him happy. The pretty partner was the cherry on top.

    I still don’t see how this is a dream unless i don’t understand the definition. However i feel the personalities here might be able to explain it to me. My only regret is spending 25 years with this man whose only dream was to feed his own selfish pride.

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