There’s no question that dreamers are a little crazy. They take leaps of faith, leave their jobs and steady paychecks behind, make sacrifices that no “normal” person would ever make, and take on an unfathomable amount of risk to chase their dreams.
Life for the majority of people follows a very predictable and linear path. Finish school. Find a job. Get married. Have children. Retire. Die. It sounds morbid and generalized, but this is the reality for most people. They let their friends, family, colleagues, and society dictate the choices they make in their life. It’s not that they don’t have dreams, ambitions, and “great ideas.” The problem is they never allow themselves to pursue them. Instead they let fear, excuses, and conformity get in the way.
Then there are those who have an unsettling desire in their soul for more. Those who want to leave their mark on the world, change it in some way for the better, help others, solve problems, and live each day doing what they love. Anyone who feels this urge, and acts on it, falls into the minority of restless souls fighting to change things and become their true, authentic, passionate self.
I’ve spent the last three years of my life chasing a dream. The first two were drastically different than this past year, the latter of which I became a college graduate. The moment I graduated I was no longer “the college kid with a social media side project business thing.” It became apparent rather quickly that I had evolved beyond what society had expected, even demanded me to become. I can’t even begin to tell you the amount of times I’ve been asked why don’t I have a “real job.” Why am I not “established?” Why am I still working on “that silly social media thing?” These are just some of the many bullshit questions and gossip I’ve experienced over the last year from haters.
Scenario: you run into an old friend or family member that you haven’t seen in a number of months. They ask the inevitable “what are you doing these days” as if what you choose to do with your time is somehow correlated with your self worth as a human being. You tell them you’re working to grow your business and talk about things they probably couldn’t be bothered to understand. “We just shipped the new update of our iOS app and we are really excited.” The bemused look of confusion on their face followed by a roll of their eyes tells you that they are unimpressed with your “app thing” and that this surely “must be a phase.” No rational person would ever willingly dedicate all of their time building a silly mobile app instead of earning a living and starting a “life.”
Then there are the haters in your own industry, sport, profession, or whatever group exists inside the dream you happen to be chasing. In a way it’s ironic because on some level this group of people understands all of the fears, anxieties, and struggles you are going through better than anyone else. Many of them have been in or are even currently in your shoes. For whatever reason their unruly competitive nature and hyper-inflated egos drive them to look down on you, talk shit behind your back, or even write you off as a rounding error. There’s nothing wrong with having some competitive spirit, but that doesn’t give anyone an all access pass to being an asshole.
At first when people would look down on me with their snarky, cynical, and sarcastic responses it hurt. The inevitable rise of fear and anxiety swirled through my mind, until one day I stopped giving a shit. Who are these people to tell me how to live my life? What right do they have dictating the journey I take? Why on earth would I ever let anyone set the standard of what it means to live my life and follow my dreams?
I wake up every single day and do what I love. My team and I build phenomenal products. I talk with thousands of people from around the world who not only support what we are doing, but believe in it enough to pay us for it. The rate at which I learn is undeniably faster than anything a “normal job” could ever teach me. I am my own boss. The freedom I have is one of the most rewarding and challenging things I’ve ever experienced. I have fun. I’m prepared to fail. I’m prepared to succeed. I have no fear. I set my own baseline. I am the standard. No miserable hater is ever going to take that from me.
It’s easy to get wrapped up in the bullshit people are undoubtably going to throw at you when you’re chasing a dream. Let them talk their shit. Let them roll their eyes at you. Take control of that negative energy, put on a smile, and transform your fear into positive action. The only one who is controlling your destiny is you, and that destiny is to keep building your dream.