I’ve never been a really big fan of the term, ‘chasing dreams’. It really just seems a bit silly to me. Setting and achieving goals? Yes! Chasing dreams? Not so much. Living the lifestyle you want, and having the career you’ve always pictured yourself with, isn’t something that is done my ‘chasing’. It’s something that you get by assessing your current situation, ironing out the kinks, and nailing your short term goals first, in order to grab hold of your long term goals in the future. Whenever someone says, “chasing dreams” I picture a hamster on it’s running wheel. It’s little legs are moving a thousand miles an hour and it’s getting no where. It’s extra energy is being worn out, yes… but it isn’t moving forward, or changing in any way.
Let’s picture two men. They live in neighboring apartment buildings each with a roof top garden area that they retreat to in the evenings. The buildings are jumping distance apart, with the hustle and bustle of a big city below.
The younger of the two is in his mid-twenties, his name is Dan. Dan works a 9 to 5 construction job making barely over minimum wage. He’s content (for now), and will probably go nowhere and do nothing other than his job until he reaches the ripe young age of 62 and retires. At which point he’ll finally get on a plane and visit some distant family a few states over, so that he can say he’s, “done some traveling after retirement.” He’ll likely marry and have a couple of children. Both he and his wife working full time in order to support them.
The older of the two men is Jack. Jack is a middle aged dreamer. He wants to be rich, and he places himself on a pedestal of false entitlement. He thinks he’s above most of the jobs he’s landed, therefore they never really last more than a couple of years. He’s jumps in on pyramid schemes often, and knows from deep within that he’s destined to be a millionaire some day… He just hasn’t quite figured out how to get there yet. He doesn’t stick with anything long term, and he doesn’t really have any one direction.
Dan likes Jack, he thinks he’s kind of funny. He doesn’t let Jack talk him into joining forces on any of the half-ass “business adventures”, well because quite frankly they’re never really practical. Dan does however like to talk to him about them, and watch from a distance. It’s a bit of entertainment per-say on his otherwise boring lifestyle. Dan feels like he’s a safe and practical human, unlike Jack.
It’s a mid-summer evening, still warm out but the sun is starting to dip behind a few risers across the city. Dan and Jack each make their way to the gardens. Dan jumps on his elliptical and begins peddling with all his might to work off the pasta he indulged in for dinner. Jack kicks back on his patio recliner, slides on some shades and begins sipping a chilled beer to cool off.
Dan stops to catch his breath, wipes some sweat from his brow and shouts across the way to his friend.
“Yo, Jack! Whats goin’ on, bro?”
Jack shouts back, “Hey, brotha’. Just catching some rays. How ya’ doin’, Man?”
“Not much here either. Work kicked my ass today! What did you do?” Dan pries, always a little curious.
“Just chasin’ the dream, Brotha’. Chasin’ the dream.”
Jack then leans back into his chair. End of discussion.
This is a regular conversation. It doesn’t change much. Seems a bit redundant, right?
Now, let’s say Jack isn’t just a dreamer. Let’s explore a whole new angle. We’ll call it phase two where Jack is actually a man of goals. He’s stuck with the same ‘dream’ for over five years, and is still plugging away at it.
It’s a dream that until now hasn’t paid out much, but he’s done it long enough that trial and error is working very ferociously in his favor. (let’s say he’s a writer… just for example 😉 ) With the help of his yearly, and even monthly goals he’s figured out the quirks, and ironed his own kinks. In phase two, Jack has maintained a steady job, much like Dan in order to pay the bills, but he’s also believed in himself enough follow through on his own personal vision of what his life could be if he only tries. One step at a time he’s moved forward, and he’s finally accomplished something worth reporting.
Fast-forward a bit. Dan on the elliptical, Jack sipping a cold one. Dan still thinks Jack’s efforts are a waste of time, but he’s still watches… Just like in phase one.
Dan shouts, “Hey Jack! Sup, Man?”
This time Jack’s heart skips a beat. His mind is on a reel of excitement, as he recalls reading his name… Printed in big fat bold letters on a best sellers list of his ‘dreams’ earlier that day.
“Yo! Dan,” he hollers back. “You finish that scrapper on 34th yet?”
“Not yet, Brotha’. Probably by next month though, we’re finishing up the final details. What about you? You make the big time yet, so you can quit the office?”
The corners of Jacks lips stretch toward his ears, and he sucks in a deep refreshing breath.
Jack chuckles a little and takes another sip of his beverage before mumbling under his breath. “Maybe next month though, I’m finishing up the final details.”
SO WHAT ARE YOU? A GOAL(er) or a DREAM(er)??