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Don’t dream of being a rock star, become one

I stumbled across a question on Quora from a 19 year old about whether or not they should give up on their dream of being a rock star.

I’m 19, should I pursue this dream? I genuinely believe I can make it and I feel even stronger that I was born to do this. But am I too late?? . I get that everyone believes that with hard work and passion you can achieve your dreams but should I have a stab at it myself?

How do you break it to a 19 year old that it’s admirable, sometimes expected to pursue a dream, but that our dreams change over time? How do you tell them that it’s not the destination they should focus on, but rather the journey in front of them?

To be young again

I work with late-teen, early-twenty year olds who are working through the Praxis program. These “kids” are the crème de la crème of their generation. Ambitious, motivated, passionate. I’m tasked with advising the participants throughout their 9 months with the program.

Although I’m not that much older, I often have to think back to when I was their age. With the comforts of our childhood home freshly faded, it’s tempting as a new adult to look ahead at life and visualize only the destination.

It’s tempting to love music and dream of being a rock star.

It’s tempting to love solving problems and dream of becoming the next Zucks.

It’s tempting to look at our interests and immediately map out the rest of our life.

It’s tempting, even as we get older, to want to jump to the summit without partaking in the climb. Why? Because the climb is hard. The climb is full of setbacks, worries, exhaustion, and pain. We’d rather gaze up at the summit and ignore the mountain in front of us.

It’s okay to long for the summit. It’s not okay to ignore the climb ahead of you.

Action, day in and day out, is your only focus

At 19, I was destined to become an award winning film director, or so I thought. I enjoyed filmmaking, but I didn’t put in the work. I didn’t hone my craft. I didn’t seek out challenging opportunities. I sat on my hands and dreamed.

Eventually my interests changed. Actually, I created a cooking blog because I didn’t want to go through the hassle of filming my own cooking show pilot.

Unlike filmmaking, I took blogging more seriously. Every week I showed up, took action, and moved on. Sure, I still have dreams of landing a publishing contract but my focus for the past five years is always the same: sit down and write my next piece.

From this experience, I’ve learned it’s important to be passionate about something, but even more important to put in the work.

Like the 19 year old at the beginning of the post, sometimes we wonder if it’s worth “being a rock star.” Although I’d never discourage anyone from pursuing their dream, I’m always quick to mention that becoming what you want to be should always be your focus.

In becoming we pay attention to the steps right in front of us. The small, seemingly insignificant sequence of actions needed to attain a dream become the necessary habits of our day.

And it’s these habits which fuel the climb. And it’s the climb which leads to the summit.

Don’t dream of being a rock star. Become one.

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Hello, my name is Declan. I’m a husband, father, writer, and founder of SHRPA.

My mission is to get 1,000 people serious about going after their goals and dreams.

I’m here to climb with you.

Stay-at-home dad. 9-to-5 escapee. Aldi aficionado. Me in a nutshell→ declanwilson.co/start-here

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