I can remember back to the 1st grade when were asked to do a project on what we wanted to be when we grew up. Back then I felt like there was no restriction on our allowance to dream… to visualize… to go big and ridiculous. “I want to be a Professional Wrestler and a Police Officer!” If I recall correctly, those were my choices. If I recall correctly, nobody took those choices away from me with cynicism. I was allowed to be a child and have the wonder and think with the level of possibility that a child thinks with. It’s funny if you think about it. We don’t know poverty or riches as little kids. We get given that frame of reference by our surroundings. We often don’t know limitations as little kids. However, very quickly, life and people start to highlight limitations as if they are the only thing in existence:
“You can’t do that!”
“Well that seems unreasonable to me.”
“Really, it’s time for you to be an adult and let go of these pipe dreams of yours.”
But don’t we have the right to shoot for what we want? Don’t we have the right to go towards the heartbreak that will come from doing anything that we are passionate about? Can’t we believe that by embracing that heartbreak, not only can we survive, but we can become stronger and wiser with how we move forward? After all, there is no growth without tension.
Of course, everyone is scared of failure and if you aim small enough and easy enough, I suppose you can somehow avoid that fear. However, there is that pesky, burdensome thing know as regret. I’d rather endure a spectacular failure in efforts to answer a deep lingering question of ‘what if’, as opposed to suffer for the rest of my life simply asking the question and dealing with deep lingering regret because the time to get the answer has passed. We only get one shot at this life as far as I’m concerned. I’m going to go all out.
In recent times I’ve had the conversation around those whom we might call ‘dream-stealer’s’. They’re our family members, friends, coworkers, spouses etc. They’re the people who we have decided should agree with our big dreams because they love us and therefore should affirm our deepest desires. Listen people, it’s your dream and you can’t expect anyone else on the planet to love it and nurture it and protect it like you will. It’s individual. It’s personal responsibility. Be a sniper about it. Be a quiet killer!
“Travis, What are you talking about?!”
I’m talking about nothing, which is exactly what we should be doing in the beginning of a journey to a big goal or dream. Be quiet! People can’t undercut what they don’t know about. We have to learn how to quietly begin working for what we want and let the fruits of our labor speak for us.
A sniper has a singular task: to eliminate the target and be undetected in the process. They don’t highlight themselves. They stalk and wait patiently. They learn and grow intel on the objective. They prepare. Eventually, the right opportunity meets their preparation and.. Boom!
Why do we feel the need to tell people? Why are we shocked when people tear it down? When I first began speaking I was a member in a local church. Many of the people who I thought would be profoundly supportive were ether eerily quiet or utterly rejected what I was doing. This was about 3-4 years ago when I began teaching personal development. It didn’t bother me one bit. I didn’t like it, but it didn’t surprise me. Why? I’m battle hardened. I’ve been through this breakout process more times than I care to count. It’s where you start thinking thoughts and doing things different from the people around you and they are bothered by it. I’ve dealt with this resistance from others in every significant accomplishment I’ve set out on. Sometimes I’ve failed dramatically. Sometimes, as I’ve chronicled often, I’ve won big.
I’ve learned that when a dream is in it’s infant stages you have to guard it from the negativity and cynicism of others. This is especially true when you aren’t battle tested like I am. I could give a damn what people think because I’ve climbed a Metaphorical Mount Everest like 12 times in my life. Whether other people think I can do it again is nether here nor there to me. For those of you who have yet to do such things, save your self some grief and hide your hope in your heart. Allow a quiet confidence to build. Allow the incubation period to grow your saplings of courage and resilience into tall strong trees. Again, people can’t tear down what they don’t know of. In the beginning, be quiet about it and only let your actions speak.
We tell other people about our hopes and dreams because we’re looking to be affirmed. We want to be accepted. If it’s something big, then it’s probably scary. It’s nice to receive lots of support in a scary process, but there are many times when we won’t have it. That’s okay. Hell, that’s good! Now we get to learn how to affirm ourselves and shed the need to be affirmed by others. Win or lose, there’s victory in that.