Giving up on the dream


By Casey Heinisch

As children, we all had dreams of what we wanted for the future.  Some wanted to be professional athletes, others wanted to be musicians, and others wanted to be cops — some even wanted to be teachers.

I wanted to be a writer and film director.

Somewhere along the way, most of us gave up on those dreams. Why is that? Is it because we weren’t capable? Or is it because somewhere along the way, we were told we weren’t going to be able to do it — and we believed it?

The truth is it is probably the latter.

I remember being young and being told just how unlikely it would be that I would ever be a writer or director. I would always respond with: “I don’t care about that.” I would write stories about my toys, or invent new adventures for the X-men to go on, and show them to my friends. We all had a lot of fun acting them out in my backyard.

Over time I began to think my own talents and abilities weren’t enough — at least that’s what the people I trusted the most said to me. Eventually, that lead me to working on cars. Because there’s a 100% percent chance I could make a living doing that, and I was good enough to be a mechanic.

It was the safe way out, and I took it.

I never gave up on writing, and kept pursuing it in my free time. I even reached a minimal level of success with screenwriting, but, alas, still no career in it.

The real world hits hard, and it hits the dreamers the hardest. Life issues took over and I became more concerned with making rent and buying groceries. Writing took a back seat, and eventually it was in the rear view mirror.

The typical adult has obligations that take precedence over hobbies. It is a sacrifice of the things that make us happy in order to ensure that we can live like a “responsible” adult in “civilized” society.

I believe that personal fulfillment and happiness are equally important to our overall well-being as a place to live and something to eat. Without those, we aren’t living life as well as we could.  We tend to neglect the importance of the things that make us happy.

The people we look up to most: celebrities, athletes, politicians, educators, etc., are all people that never gave up on their dreams.

Jay-z says in one of his songs “I can’t base myself off of what everyone else isn’t”. That statement is powerful in itself. Just because other people weren’t able to do something, doesn’t mean that everyone won’t be able to do it.

It doesn’t even mean that they couldn’t do it themselves. It just means at some point they gave up.

There is this theory called the 10,000 Hours Theory.  It says that if you devote yourself to working sincerely on your chosen craft for 10,000 hours, roughly 5 years worth of 40 hour work weeks, you will have mastered it. Given that, not only is it possible to become good enough at anything, you can become good enough to be a professional at anything. As long as you’re willing to put in the hours.

I encourage everyone to follow their passions, whatever that may be. Even if you aren’t pursuing it on a professional level, keep it in your life on a personal level.

If you dreamed of being a firefighter but decided to go into business because of the money, you can still volunteer at a fire department. If you wanted to be a musician, you can still be in a band or go to jam sessions — you could even teach.

Someone who follows their passion is inspiring to those who are afraid to, and it sets a good example for them to follow. There are many ways to keep the dream alive, in some form or another, and still keep up with daily life.

It only hurts ourselves when we don’t follow our passions. So, don’t just survive. Thrive.