Recently, a friend of mine sent me the quote I chose for the title of this post. Sir Richard Branson, founder of The Virgin Group, said it. Its really a pretty simple quote, but it can cause one to do much reflecting and looking deep into themselves for answers that they might be scared to find. For me, my dreams are terrifying. Not that they are huge dreams like world domination or creating the next big tech gadget, but the simple thought of packing up and hitting the road, with no final endgame in sight, is still a very daunting thought. Fear can be a pretty good persuader, fear of failure, fear of the unknown, fear of where I will end up in 10 years, all very valid fears, but also the way I look at them now, they are also excuses. Excuses to not follow your dreams. Fears can be confronted, dealt with and even overcome. It’s a choice to allow fear to dictate how you live and where the path in front of you will take you. But you can also make the choice to confront that fear, head into the unknown and carve out your niche in the world.
I’m choosing to confront my fears. I am no longer willing to allow them to control my decisions, and I am making a conscious effort to push fear out of my life. After all, fear only adds stress, and stress slowly eats away at your health and happiness.
“Always do what you are afraid to do”
-Ralph Waldo Emerson
For me, that fear was losing what I have. Losing my home, my car or truck, or my job. Those very same fears have kept my feet firmly planted, working, existing, and generally not as happy as I think I could be. I worked hard for all of it, but in the end, all of it was not adding up to make me a happy person. Home repairs, vehicle repairs, job stresses, they just do their damnedest to offset any potential happiness I would gain from having (and keeping) them. While I do enjoy the things I have acquired, an ATV ride through the woods of the northeast, taking the Jeep Wrangler for a rock crawling adventure, and even peacefully sitting by the side of my koi pond, they just don’t bring me the happiness that I keep searching for. Throwing money at things doesn’t bring you happiness, buying things wont buy you happiness either. Happiness starts inside, and once you realize that, you also realize just how little happiness your possessions bring.
So what does all of this mean? Honestly, I don’t know yet. I’m still planning, calculating, and figuring out the next 365 days of my life, and I’m hoping that I am strong enough to keep fear at bay, and that I find myself in a very different place in my life one year from now. For now though, I am taking an inventory of things I MUST have, things I want to keep, and things that can be sold. Its amazing how much crap we tend to accumulate in our lives in search of happiness, and its even more amazing just how little happiness each of those possessions really brings you. You start to realize this when you take inventory of everything.
I would like to follow my dreams though… And I’m working diligently on doing just that. Its pretty liberating when you realize you don’t have to work your ass off to keep everything you have, and when you realize that you actually have enough to be able to follow your dreams. Its just taking that first step, and then the step after, thats difficult. But once you start walking, I believe it won’t be too long before you are running, and each step becomes easier and more effortless than the one before.
This year… I follow my dreams…