The Falsehood of Being “Behind”

The Falsehood of Being “Behind”

I once stumbled across a post that I saved and shared on social media because it spoke so personally to me:

“Just because you took longer than others, doesn’t mean you failed. Remember that.”

I don’t know who wrote it or where it came from, but I would wholeheartedly give credit to its origin. This was one of those quotes that struck so deep it was like a punch in the stomach. A punch that I very much needed. From high school, I did not do things like my smart, overachieving, well-to-do group of friends. I graduated a year early, took college classes during the summer, did not participate in National Honor Society or other honorable student organizations, went to community college instead of a four-year university directly after graduating, and so forth. Certain motivations like avoiding unbearable student tuition debts as much as possible made me choose this kind of path, as well as circumstances like breaking my back which led me to start online classes out of sheer boredom. There’s also the factor of spending most of my time doing internships practically every semester for the past four years. Needless to say, I have done things a little differently from my peers; from most people my age, I think.

From the moment I graduated high school I have struggled with doubt, regret, jealousy, comparison, shame. I just turned 22, and many other 22-year-olds I know are nearly finished with their Bachelor’s, whereas I am just now, not even yet, on my way towards that same goal. Yes, I have made progress with an Associate’s that gets me a little ahead of the four years, with doing internships that have proven valuable experience and connection. It’s still hard not to think about how I will likely be 25 or 26 when I do get that Bachelor’s, as apposed to old friends already having it before their 21st birthday.

Everyone in my life who is in the loop of my life has repeatedly told me, “Why do you think this? You are only such-and-such years old! You’re still young! You are doing fine! Chill out!” And I imagine those who are older than me are probably rolling their eyes in their mind as they say this. If I step out of my body and rationally observe myself, I have the exact same reaction. Why, indeed? I really do need to chill out.

It all boiled down to personal expectations. I live in this subconscious mindset of age-induced deadlines, of assumed projected standards from others, of living up to a subjective definition of success, according to society.

This idea is “being behind” as if life is some kind of race to compete in is totally, completely, stupidly false. I know this. Doesn’t mean I’ve successfully overcome it, but I’m working on that.

Why is it false?

There are different paths to the same goal.

Your path is different from your peers.

Age is irrelevant. It has nothing to do with achieving dreams.

Your age does not define you or your level of success.

“Success” is a vague term that can have a million definitions according to the individual.

Doing things for the sake of accomplishing certain societal standards is a major waste of energy and passion.

More often than not, the expectations you imagine are from outside pressures are actually your own placed upon yourself.

There is no designated deadline based on timeline, age, or order of goals that says “you failed.”

Accomplishment differs between careers. What makes someone a doctor will be a very different list of goals from what makes someone a filmmaker or an entrepreneur or a childcare provider.

Value of time and energy also differs between careers. It may be more worth it for a musician to spend their time networking while an aspiring vet will spend their time in school.

5 Things to Say No to if you want to Pursue your Dream

5 Things to Say No to if you want to Pursue your Dream

Oh, the illusive, excruciating art of saying “No.” It evades us all. But it must be done, especially if we have some goals to achieve. There are a few certain things you must deny, no matter how hard it is:

  1. Multitasking

Hobbies are good, work is well, but too much will stunt your progress. If you want to achieve a specific dream, you must put your all into it, keep yourself focused on it, make it the most important thing in your mind.

2. Procrastination

It doesn’t matter if it’s just “part of your personality.” You must say no to procrastinating your dream. Ignore your age, your financial status, your level of education, your circumstances. Get going!

3. Compromising

Your dream is much too valuable to compromise for anything. If something is forcing you to, whether it be a relationship or work position or a life choice or circumstance, then that thing is not worth having in your life.

4. Comparing

Comparing to others is such a dream killer. Not to mention a self-esteem killer. Stay away from this! Forget the others, this is your story. Who cares how they did it?

5. The past

If your past is holding your dream back, it’s time to say no and let go. There’s no moving forward until you do.

10 Thoughts you’ll Encounter While Pursuing your Dream

10 Thoughts you’ll Encounter While Pursuing your Dream

As you go about making your dream a reality, there will always be certain thoughts that cross your mind, bringing in doubt, fear, and discouragement. But they’re just thoughts, and we can’t trust our thoughts. Your head likes to mess with you, especially when it comes to the thing you love. These thoughts will likely stumble into your brain at some point, but there’s no need to dwell on them.

  1. “I’m too young.”

1 Timothy 4:12 says, “Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.” So what if you’re still a minor? You should be working on your dream right now. There are dozens of success stories of people 18 or younger achieving amazing things. Age is irrelevant when it comes to achieving dreams.

2. “I’m too old.”

My favorite author C.S. Lewis said, “You’re never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.” Did you know he was in his 50s when he wrote the first Narnia novel? And he actually first had conceptual ideas for it back at the age of 16, but he did not begin writing it until much later. Considered his greatest literary achievement, amongst others, that’s an inspiring story. Once again, age is irrelevant to dreams.

3. “I’m running out of time.”

How, exactly? Because you’re growing up? Because you’ve created imaginary deadlines? Because your achievement date doesn’t match that of your peers? No, you’re not running out of time. And you better be pacing yourself.

4. “I took too long.”

I recently came across a post that I then shared on social media because it spoke so personally to me: “Just because you took longer than others, doesn’t mean you failed. Remember that.” Remember that, indeed.

5. “I should have done it like the others.”

No, you are not them. They are not you. Your path is different. Something I always say: “There are many different paths to the same goal.” Just because you’re doing things differently from everyone else doesn’t mean you won’t achieve the same thing. Stop comparing yourself.

6. “I missed my chance.”

Doors open and doors close. They also open again. If you missed something, then something else will come along. It may change up your path a little, but like I said, there are many different paths to the same goal.

7. “I chose wrong.”

If it’s what you love to do, then you did not choose wrong. If you’re basing this off of the monetary success, well, DON’T! If your goal is to make money, well then, I hope you chose a path that made sense for that.

8. “I’m not skilled at this.”

If you’re passionate about it, then you will get good at it. Truly, ability should come naturally with passion, so perhaps you’re just underestimating your skills.

9. “I know nothing.”

Well of course, you’re still learning! That’s what studying is for! This is such a silly notion. If you’re passionate about it, the studying part will just be part of the fun.

10. “What the heck am I doing?”

Oh, we all think this, of everything. At least you’re doing something. So what if you have no idea? You’ll learn by trial and error. There’s no greater teacher. Let this thought slip away and laugh it off.

5 Ways to keep your eyes on the prize (a.k.a. your dream)

5 Ways to keep your eyes on the prize (a.k.a. your dream)

  1. Make it visible

Keep your dream in front of you at all times. A great way to do this is to make a vision board. At least have your dreams or a motivational quote written down somewhere where you can always see it.

2. Have accountability

Designate a friend or family member to be your accountability for your dreams. They will be the person to keep you on track and check in on where you are with achieving your goals.

3. Seek out a mentor

This person is different from your accountability. They are the knowledgeable one who will train you in the area of your dream and help you develop.

4. Dedicate a space

Find out where and how you work best. The right space will be organized and designed to provide you the most focus and output. It may be your room or a coffee shop or your local Barnes & Noble. Experiment in different locations and observe your level of concentration and productivity. Then, keep going back to that place!

5. Learn your productivity triggers

Do you know what motivates you to work? Pay attention to the things that trigger you into ultra-drive, that inspire new ideas, that energize you, that feed your passion to take on the world. When you know your productivity triggers, you can use them as tools to get yourself into the working zone.

The Danger of Putting your Dream on a Pedestal

The Danger of Putting your Dream on a Pedestal

As someone who thinks of dreams, who lives for dreams, who worries over dreams, who endlessly talks about dreams…I naturally live my life around my dreams. Many would say that’s a good focus to have, and it is. But too much of a good thing is too much of a good thing. At some point I realized that I had reached a dangerous zone of idolization.

Leviticus 19:4 says “Do not turn to idols or make for yourselves any gods of cast metal: I am the Lord your God.” Our minds initially go to physical idols, like statues. The Bible is indeed addressing these, but we forget that it’s also addressing intangible idols that we can set up in our minds. This can be anything, and anything that begins to take God’s place in our thoughts and attention ultimately becomes an idol. The scary thing is, this can go unnoticed because it’s not directly in front of our eyes.

After a serious bout of stress because I had convinced myself that my dreams were never going to be fulfilled, I realized I had risen my dreams to a level on the verge of obsession. It became harmful to my mental life, my daily habits, and my relationship with God.

During those times when it seems like our dreams are on hold or they look bleak and impossible, perhaps that’s the season of character building. As I’ve said before, Character comes before dreams, Character is more important, Character is God’s greatest concern for us.

By all means, follow your dreams. Pursue them with passion and persistence. But beware of putting them on a pedestal and obsessing over them. It will just make you an anxious, bitter, dissatisfied person. Nothing good comes from obsessing, even when the topic is a positive one.

 

4 Reasons Why You Don’t Follow Your Dream

Fear, patience, time, decision…four factors that often define whether we succeed in achieving our dreams or not. Clelia from Keep Calm and Travel explained so perfectly the 4 reasons why your dream gets left in the dust. Even though I’m not a traveler, stumbling upon her blog was meant to be, as it’s been an inspiration for me as a blogger, and I get encouraged and motivated by her posts. If you haven’t already, I highly suggest checking it out. You’ll love the color, passion, and beauty that resonates from her blog.

->The Top 4 Reasons Why You Don’t Follow Your Dreams Now

“Run mad as often as you choose, but do not faint.” What did she mean?

“Run mad as often as you choose, but do not faint.” What did she mean?

If you’re a Jane Austen fan, you might recognize this quote from her novel Love and Friendship (it’s not from Mansfield Park, despite the BBC movie using it):

“Run mad as often as you choose, but do not faint.”

Funny enough, within the context of the novel it originates from, it’s pretty much literal. The character Sophia, who speaks the words, is basically telling her friend Laura to not faint so as to avoid a fatal outcome like her own (developing consumption). But the quote can very much be interpreted beyond the literal, and perhaps is even intended by Austen to be so.

When I read this quote, my mind goes to the scripture Galatians 6:9-“And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.” The concept of endurance is often repeated in the Bible; it is encouraged. “Keep going,” it says. That is what I interpret from this quote.

“Run mad as often as you choose…” by this I get that we should have adventures, be a little crazy, and not stop.

“…but do not faint.” don’t give up, no matter how tough things get. Don’t fall into discouragement and despair.

In other words, keep going.