The other day, I engaged in the following conversation on Twitter:
Him: There are a lot of tweets directed towards aspiring filmmakers telling you to “never quit” and “follow your dreams.” That’s terrible advice.
Him: If you met some guy and he said he wanted to be a professional NBA player would you immediately suggest he follow his dreams and never quit?
Me: If that’s where his happiness is, then yes, I would. Who am I to call down his dreams? Would in fact offer to help.
Him: Attention anyone in the world who is looking for someone to help them become a professional basketball player.
Me: If you never try, how will you ever know what you might accomplish? Why live by someone else’s thoughts on what is feasible?
I understand his point.
So often, people express a desire to become something or someone without a good understanding of what it takes to do that. And in a subset of these situations, the aspiring individual isn’t willing to put in the requisite work to overcome their ignorance or skill-set shortcomings.
I’ve known several people who upon seeing how much joy writing brings me express a desire to write. And then do nothing about it. And unlike the professional NBA player quest described above, writing simply requires a computer or pen & paper. And yet, many of these people refuse to write.
But even knowing this, even if I had complete clairvoyance to a future of procrastination or frustration and agony for them, does this give me the right to tell them they shouldn’t try? I don’t feel that it does.
Despite my conversational counterpart’s sarcastic response (I assume it was sarcasm), I am happy to help anyone become a professional basketball player, if that’s what they want. I have no idea what skills I could possibly bring to that quest, but hell, we all need support to follow our dreams.
You don’t have to be an expert in a subject to help someone.
You can help them better understand what they’re attempting so they can make informed decisions. You can offer a couch or spare room if they need a safe haven. You can cook a meal or several for them when money is tight. You can cheer at their successes and offer a shoulder in times of frustration or disappointment.
And most importantly, you can let them know that success or failure—whether internal to them or measured by external yardsticks—has absolutely no impact on whether you will be there for them.
To all of my friends and to people I have yet to meet in life, pursue your dreams with everything you have, make your life choices knowing that I will be there to help you in any way I can.
And do your best to ignore the dream snatchers who think they are doing you a favour by talking you out of your dreams.
And if you’re tired of watching me live my dreams, check out the blog of a friend of mine who has started living her dream life: Pipe’s Adventure.