Time to Give Up Your Dreams?

Are you dreaming the impossible dream?

Stever Robbins
5-minute read
Episode #91

Distinguish Destination Dreams From Journey dreams

Some dreams are about the goal. You dream of curing cancer. If you need to find the cure to be happy, look at how far you have left to go and how fast you’re moving. Move to a new dream if it looks like you won’t reach the destination. If it’ll take 25 years to cure cancer-- but you can indulge your trapeze artist fantasies in just 5 years of circus training-- it may be time to trade in the lab coat for tights.

Other dreams are about the journey. Nineteen-year-old Matt Doyle loved acting more than anything, so he deferred a college degree to move to New York and try for Broadway. Other actors were discouraged by rejection, but he was in love with the whole experience. He kept at it: the auditions, the open casting calls, the rejections, the callbacks... Just being in New York, living the journey, inspired him. When you love the very act of pursuing your dreams as much as Matt did, stick with it. Even if you never get there, you’ll love your life. When the journey is the reward, why drop the dream at all?

Don’t Hang on to a Dream That’s No Longer Right for You

You may think, “I’ve invested so much time in my dream of being International Pretzel Sorting Champion, I can’t stop now!” Yes, you can. You’re allowed to change your mind; it’s everyone’s prerogative. Looking forward, ask if the dream still excites you now. Only if your answer is “Yes, Yes, Yes!” should you keep it.

And it’s fine to let dreams go, change them, or scale them down. My friend Mike’s dream of becoming baseball commissioner is now coaching his son’s baseball team. And he loves it! Also, you change. At 15, it’s great to dream of holding the world record for longest time chewing the same piece of gum. That dream will change by age 30, at least it will if you ever intend to have a romantic relationship.

Before abandoning a dream, look at how far you’ve come, how far you have left to go, and consider making it bigger or smaller. If it’s only the destination that matters, swap it out if it’s not performing. If it’s a dream where the joy comes from the journey, keeping it means keeping joy in your life. Matt Doyle kept hitting the auditions. By age twenty two, he's spent two years on Broadway in Spring Awakening, played the lead role in the touring company, and is opening in his second Broadway show this fall. You can hear him tell his whole story in an interview in this episode's transcript. And as for my dreams, Rachel Maddow, if you’re out there, you really need a business correspondent with fun sneakers.

This is Stever Robbins. Follow GetItDoneGuy on Twitter. Email questions to getitdone@quickanddirtytips.com or leave voicemail at 866-WRK-LESS.

Work Less, Do More, and have a Great Life!


Little Boy image courtesy of Shutterstock


About the Author

Stever Robbins

Stever Robbins is a graduate of W. Edward Deming’s Total Quality Management training program and a Certified Master Trainer Elite of NLP. He holds an MBA from the Harvard Business School and a BS in Computer Sciences from MIT.