“The mark of the immature man is that he wants to die nobly for a cause, while the mark of the mature man is that he wants to live humbly for one.” – J.D. Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye
I write a lot about pursuing dreams.
I write about it, because I believe in it. I believe that our personalities, our talents, our passions, our psyche – the way each of us is made – is intentional. I believe that we have dreams for a reason. And I believe one of the deepest regrets each of us can have in life is time lost to things that didn’t matter.
I think that the tricky thing about being passionate about pursuing our dreams is that it can be easy to pursue them at any cost. Don’t get me wrong – the things we are passionate about are worth sacrificing for.
But even more, the things we are passionate about are worth the time it takes to build a strong foundation.
As children, we are completely governed by our dreams. In our minds, there is nothing that could stop us from being or doing anything we want to be or do. The older we get, the more reality sinks in. And we usually come to one of three conclusions:
- I have to give up my dreams and settle for something practical.
- I’m going to ignore responsibility and pursue my passion.
- There are obstacles I have to overcome in order to achieve my dreams.
The thing is, just being willing to sacrifice for our dreams isn’t going to cut it.
We have to be willing to play the long game. We have to be willing to put in the time, hard work, and patience to build a foundation that will set us up for success so that we can overcome the obstacles and achieve our dreams.
It’s possible to have a job you don’t love or can’t see yourself in forever – without settling. Just remember: you’re building a foundation.
Do you know what most foundations are made of? Concrete. Do you know what concrete is?
Gravel/sand/rock + water + cement = concrete
Concrete is boring and monotonous. Concrete hurts your bare feet when you walk on it. Concrete scrapes up your knee when you trip and fall. But a concrete foundation makes sure your building won’t collapse.
Embrace the season you are in, but don’t stop moving forward. Don’t settle or give up on your dreams; instead, take the time and care to make sure that you have a solid foundation to build on, so that your dreams will be able to withstand and overcome the obstacles and difficulties life might throw at you.
It’s okay that you’re not where you want to be – as long as you don’t forget that you’re not there yet. You haven’t arrived, and you never will. It’s that dissatisfaction that keeps us growing and moving forward, overcoming obstacles and achieving our dreams. But don’t despise a humble, patient, painfully boring, concrete-pouring, foundation building season. Most likely, it’s exactly what you need.