Sure, I’ve given you 5 Reasons to Defer a Dream. Sometimes it’s best to put a dream on hold.
But there are also reasons not to defer a dream, especially if it is something that will be very rewarding to you and bring benefit to others. So, even though they present certain challenges, here are 5 reasons not to defer a dream:
1. Fear of failure.
The topic of failure is intriguing, if you think about it. There are some “failures” which can truly be understood as failures, like if a building is built in a shoddy manner and it falls on the heads of those within. In the ancient world, if you were a builder and your building failed in this manner, you were liable.
But most failures really aren’t failures at all. They are experimental steps in a process of figuring out the best way to accomplish things. They are explorations that need new directions.
If a fear of failure is preventing you from pursuing a dream, it might be time to think (or play) hard. What’s the worst that could happen? What’s the best that could happen?
Your brain is actually interested in the answers to these questions (as a child, you often role played your possible answers using blocks or made-up games, when no one was watching over you). Write all your ideas about best-case and worst-case scenarios down, from the wild to the mundane, for as many days as you like, until you have nothing more to say on the matter. Then do one very small thing towards your dream. It’s hard to fail at a very small thing.
2. Money (with caveats).
If you are not in debt (the kind that is already going to take you too many years to pay off), then money is not a reason to defer your dream. There are ways to raise it or borrow it. The real question is, have you done your homework enough to know what the possibilities are of earning the money back, if it’s a dream like a business that will take continual financial commitment.
Sometimes it’s hard to know if you can get what’s called a “return on investment.” For instance, I run an online business in a time when online businesses are more competitive than ever. It used to be “easier” to make money online. Early on, I was heavily counseled to borrow a lot of money to follow my dream. I declined. And it was a very wise move. Instead, I chose to build the business slowly, and it is growing steadily—while debt might have otherwise doomed it to fail (part of being successful at business is being able to wait out the competition that has not managed its money or other resources wisely!).
3. Someone else beat you to it.
As a wise man once said, “There is nothing new under the sun.” It’s really about what you bring to the table that’s unique and whether you can manage the process or publicize the project effectively.
One of my favorite examples of this from my own business is a book called How to Read a Poem. There was already a book by that title, by some famous guy who is… not as funny as our author. His work is also angled to a different audience. And, besides, we got our own famous guy to agree to the use of his poem Introduction to Poetry. So, as it goes, How to Read a Poem: Based on the Billy Collins Poem “Introduction to Poetry” is a successful title, even though someone else appeared to have beat our author to the idea.
4. You don’t have the perfect game plan yet.
I assure you, anyone who thinks they have the perfect game plan is in for a surprise. Part of being successful is learning to listen along the way, be flexible, and be willing to make adjustments. You don’t need a whole plan. Just some ways in, to start. (And, of course, if the project involves money, you will have to have done some reasonable research on the matter of return on investment. That said, even “successful ventures” can sometimes end up with financial woes. So, yes, there is risk no matter how you slice it. And it’s not so simple in the face of that to just refuse to take any risk at all, because there is also the risk called “opportunity cost,” which is the price you pay if you miss a good opportunity.)
5. Someone laughed at your idea.
I can’t tell you the number of times people have laughed at my ideas, either literally or figuratively. It is no reason to defer a dream. People may be amused by your ideas for any number of reasons, including their failure to see how they themselves might accomplish it, or jealousy, or a misunderstanding of the depths of interest and skill you possess. And sometimes, in interesting cases, laughter may even be a signal of the strength of an idea, as when my Team laughed about the thought of taking poets to work on popsicle sticks (and then went on to create one of the most popular of four public days for poetry that we host each year).
Do you have other ideas about why a dream should not be deferred?
I’d love to hear about them.