“Too many people never go after what they truly want out of life, because its easier not to.” — Jasmine Hamilton (from The Star Prince by Susan Grant)
A writer friend of mine, Jill Knowles, once observed how lucky we are to have the dream of being successful, published writers. That we are richer for it than those who go through life without any goals beyond paying the rent and making the car payment. That even if we don’t fulfill our dreams, just having them and working toward them is a good thing.
I think this is true. And yet sometimes dreams should be modified.
M.J. Rose wrote in How to Publish and Promote Online (co-authored with Angela Adair-Hoy) “I had a big dream: a bookstore window filled with stacks of my book. And only a big publisher had the ability and distribution to make that happen. But after five years I had to face facts. My dream wasn’t coming true. So I let go of the big dream and turned to a very, very tiny one: I wanted someone to read my book. Just one other person.”
Of course, through her efforts at self-promotion and the quality of her self-published book, Lip Service became successful and was ultimately picked up by a big New York publisher. As they say in the weight loss commercials: these results are not typical. But her success might not have occurred at all if she had clung stubbornly to her original dream of big publisher or nothing.
Rose concludes, “If you scale down your dream to make it fit in the palm of your hand, you can accomplish something. And then the dream will grow on its own.”
At least it did for her.
This isn’t meant as advice to give up on big dreams altogether, but as a suggestion to use smaller dreams as stepping stones to that ultimate goal. Don’t give up on yourself, but don’t make it harder than it has to be. Remember dreams are meant to motivate, and they don’t last. Once you’ve achieved one goal, you have to find another dream, and another.
And sometimes dreams change. Sometimes you realize that you don’t want what you started out to get. As long as you’re still working toward something, and not giving up because “it’s too hard,” that’s okay.
There’s an old aphorism, If wishes were horses then beggars would ride. Wishing is only a problem if you don’t also do the work. So wish. Dream. Imagine. Then go out and get that horse, or pony, or skateboard.
It’s not the size of your dream that’s important, it’s how you use it.