“I’ve had a lot of worries in my life, most of which never happened!” Mark Twain
Take if from a man who knows. Mark Twain lived and wrote in a time and a place where his subject matter (racism & slavery) was not generally appreciated. He also tried his hand at making a traditional living and then decided to quit and live his dream of being a writer, which wasn’t always easy or without its financial setbacks. However, he persevered and is now one of the most well-loved and well-known American writers of all time. To read more about his bio, visit: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1244.Mark_Twain
F.E.A.R: False Expectations Appearing Real
How many of us, since our childhood have had dreams of being a writer, artist, photographer, dancer, musician or any number of creative pursuits, only to have those dreams squashed by the inevitable good intentions of a parent, teacher or authority figure with the words: “Well, you don’t want to become that! You’ll never make a living at it!”
I wonder how many people have heard these words – or some variant of them – and how many have given up right then and there and buried those longings deep within; and how many, despite or in spite of those words, went headlong in the pursuit of their dreams just to prove that person wrong. I don’t know about you – but I find the latter type of people – even if they weren’t all that successful – or at least not until after they were dead – much more inspiring than those who resigned themselves to a life and career that was more safe and secure.
These False Expectations – fears of what might happen – refer to the fears we have about stepping out into the canyon of our dreams. Much like in the movie, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade where he is standing right at the edge of a huge canyon and he knows in order to get to the other side he must cross it. However, there is no path or bridge – at least that he can see with his human eye. He has to essentially step out first in complete faith, before the next step appears for him.
It is never easy to do this. What if we step out and we plummet to our death? What if we step out and fail? This type of fear is based on false expectations – which seem very real – that we will fail. Why do we expect to fail, however? Where do these thoughts or beliefs come from? We know of plenty – thousands – maybe millions – of people who have stepped out and they have succeeded – some from talent and some from sheer luck or being in the right place at the right time: Oprah, Brittney Spears, Donald Trump – how many more?
Why do we perceive ourselves so different from these people? They are, after all, simply human just like us. They came into this world just like us and will leave it the same way. Why is their journey destined to be so much more wrought with financial success or fame or living their dreams?
I am here to tell you that it is not. One of my favourite quotations is: “Well, no one told me I couldn’t do it! So I did it!” The only difference between most of us longing for our lost dreams and those living them is one thing – FEAR – the false ideas and core beliefs we have about ourselves and our lives. We tend to remain where it is comfortable and safe.
I can tell you that I have never had anything too exciting happen to me by staying comfortable or safe. Trekking off to Colombia, South America to teach when I knew no one, was not without its discomfort or danger – but I did it and it changed my entire perspective – and I wrote a book about it! Applying and re-applying to Teacher’s College and getting rejected twice before getting my – albeit 11th hour admittance – was not comforting to my ego. Sitting for hours and hours pouring my blood, sweat and tears into three, now almost four novels, knowing full well that I might never get published wasn’t very comfortable either. Heading off to do missionary work for three months in a foreign country didn’t feel very safe – but the experience changed my life. Flying to Honduras to write for a month when I barely had enough money to live – the money turned up, however – didn’t make me feel very comfortable either. Resigning from my secure paying teaching job in a small town to brave the big city of Toronto to teach and write where I was most happiest, wasn’t very comforting or safe – but here I am – two years later, in Toronto, writing, teaching and enjoying my life.
Is it without struggles? No. Have I had my faith stretched as far as it could possibly go the last few years? Yes. Has a job always came? Yes. Have I survived? Yes. Am I determined more than ever to be financially free to write and travel this vast world now that I have had so many caverns and canyons to cross? Absolutely! This is what stepping out does – either by miracle, luck or perseverance we do make it the other side – and each time, it makes us more and more fear – less!
I once read a quotation that said, “Never sit down to write, until you have the courage to stand up and live!” (Henry David Thoreau). Hence, I am now sitting down to write – and to write with everything I have in me regarding my blog and my posts, because I have stood up and lived and I want to encourage you to do this as well. Do I suggest quitting your job tomorrow and taking up painting? No. What I suggest are a few practical things:
1. Make a list of all of your False Expectations: every fear, worry, excuse, reason as to why you shouldn’t be living your dream and why you will fail. Then burn it, toss it, rip it up!
2. Read Debbie Ford’s “Best Year of Your Life” and “What Colour is Your Parachute?” by Richard Nelson Bolles who states: ” Always define WHAT you want to do with your life and WHAT you have to offer to the world, in terms of your favorite talents/gifts/skills-not in terms of a job-title.” Incidentally, he was fired from his job in 1968 and you should see what has come out of him crossing this cavern of failure to his success. Check out his bio – well worth the read: http://www.first30days.com/experts/richard-nelson-bolles
3. Make a plan of what your dreams or goals are – go revisit your childhood – your inner child will tell you exactly what those dreams were.
4. Simplify Your Life – get rid of all the things, ideas and even people (especially toxic and negative ones) that are cluttering your life and holding you back!
5. Then put all of your energy into what you love – or all of your spare energy until things begin to start opening up for you. Since I began this blog and really focusing on writing – and writing the things that I am most passionate about – which is everything I have learned through my education, experience, people, setbacks and successes – my writing, my creativity, my inspiration and opportunities have opened up exponentially for me. Just today, without even asking for it, I was asked if I’d like to teach a Writer’s Craft Course, which I have been longing to do for over five years.
6. Then figure out how your dreams will meet the needs of the world. Service to others and making this world a better place for others while also nurturing your dreams is the best way to watch the Universe open its doors to you!
Leap of Faith (Indiana Jones) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a_-BOvWVycM
Remember: W.O.R.R.Y. Wondering Obsessively Rarely Reaps Your…Dreams!
Next Post: F.E.A.R: Forgetting Everything is All Right – How to Have More Faith!