When we were little, some of us may have thought we knew exactly who we wanted to become. A doctor, an astronaut, a chef, a teacher or even an actress. Those of us who dreamt of our careers as children were oblivious to the challenges and obstacles that would impede us from becoming who we wanted. Either that or we thought we would find the strength to defy any force that stood in our way. Parents smiled and encouraged us, but later they’d advise us otherwise.
As dreams of acting on the big screen or owning a bakery eventually faded away, they were replaced with thoughts of a realist. How likely is it that I’ll actually make it to the moon? Maybe I should just be a banker, I won’t have to go to school as long and I’ll make more money. The picture we once painted of our bright and colorful future has been painted over with duller, less vibrant colors.
There are those, of course, whose childhood dreams don’t wash away with age, but grow stronger. Those brave individuals want nothing out of life but to get what they want. They go after it with such ferocity that those around them truly believe they’re going to be the famous rock star of their dreams. It may not be self-confidence and ambition alone that drives them to believe in the beauty of their dreams, but those in the past who didn’t see the beauty. Actors, writers, athletes and many more note the naysayers of their past and how they inspired them to follow their dreams. After all, success is the best revenge.
When I was in middle school a fellow classmate consistently called me stupid. I thought to myself, “I’m going to get my doctorate degree and at our reunion force him to address me as doctor.”
Now, I can’t say that I’m planning on following through on that exact plan. But it did spark some motivation in me, to work really hard in high school to prove my classmate wrong. He later remarked on an insightful comment I made in our high school English class; little did he know it was all thanks to him.
All pessimism aside, adopting our childhood mentality of “I can do anything and be anyone I want to” would perhaps end our fear of having to eventually face the real world on our own. Passion is a very powerful emotion. It can take you from being mediocre to fabulous. It can take you from being an ensemble member to the lead actor, or from someone’s assistant to a big time executive.
Following your dreams may seem like an idyllic thought or the “moral of the story” written by Walt Disney, but it’s a crucial part of the pursuit of happiness. Contentment in what you wake up to do every day is something that is worth seeking.
According to an annual survey of employee job satisfaction done by salary.com, 65 percent of respondents say they were somewhat satisfied, but less than 15 percent said they were extremely satisfied.
What does that say about Americans and the jobs they have? It means we’re not doing the things we love to do. I have a friend, an incredible and passionate writer, who is majoring in journalism at New York University. He plans to attend law school when he graduates because he thinks a career as a journalist will not make him as much money as a lawyer will. While I see the logic in his decision, I think he will surely feel the effects of his choice down the line if he doesn’t love what he’s doing.
While we have this exploration time for the next couple of years, don’t feel like you have to settle for anything less than what you love. It’s worth a lifetime of happiness to remember your childhood dream and make it a reality.