What are You So Afraid to Pursue?

One of my favorite characters in the theater is Don Quixote from Man of La Mancha—the lovable old gentleman who charged windmills to right the wrongs of the world.  The great knight who was willing to march into hell for a heavenly cause; who strove with his last ounce of courage to reach the unreachable star; his destiny called and onward to glory he marched.

Don Quixote had a dream and, against all odds, wasn’t afraid to pursue his dream; how about you?  Do you have a great dream that’s worthy of a Don Quixote-like commitment?  What’s keeping you from pursuing your great dream?  More than likely it’s a lack of confidence in yourself, an empty black hole where faith in yourself should be lit up like the Christmas tree in Rockefeller Center.

Why?  Why don’t you believe in yourself?  Is it because of the “mistakes” you’ve made in the past?  Why do they bother you so?  Why can’t you see them for what they really are?—learning experiences, temporary setbacks.  No great achiever ever succeeded without making a ton of “mistakes,” which he/she used to take the corrective action necessary to accomplish the task at hand.  They were willing to do whatever it took for as long as it took.  Why aren’t you willing to do the same?

Do you not believe in yourself because others have berated you, told you that you were incapable, unworthy?  Was that so painful you lost perspective?  Why are you so willing to buy into their negative opinions of you?  Why give them that kind of ridiculous power over you?  Wouldn’t you rather show them how wrong they are?  (They are, you know.)  Stand up to them and make them kneel at your feet, pay homage?  Make them eat crow?

Ah, but to do that you must be willing to risk failure, which frightens you like nothing else can.  It’s so much easier to think about the dream than actually tackle it.  As long as you remain on the sidelines, instead of getting into the game, you can’t be defeated, they can’t make fun of you, laugh at you, deposit you onto the ash heap of mediocrity.  So you stand on the edge of the cliff and stare out at your dream—safe.  Safe but frustrated as hell….

I’m asked all the time why, after retiring from business, I decided to pursue a second career as a writer and speaker.  This is what I tell them: I knew that if I didn’t have worthy challenges, I wouldn’t be fully alive.  I need to be fully alive, my friends.  I need to be fully alive until my dying breath.

One of my favorite quotes is from an unknown source.  It goes like this: “If you don’t have a dream that is so outrageous that you couldn’t possibly succeed unless God Himself puts in a personal appearance, you’re not alive.”

There’s nothing quite like being fully alive.  Anything less than that is a life wasted.  Please, don’t waste your life!  Whatever “it” is, go for it!  Begin now.  If you’re not fully equipped, begin anyway; forge ahead with aggressive ignorance until you are fully equipped.

It’s a heavenly cause, so start marching!