“If your dreams don’t scare you, they’re not big enough.” These are the words I’ll cling to for the rest of my years, no matter what anyone will try to tell me.
I can’t remember how many times I’ve been told to “get a degree”, or better still, “get a degree with honours.” And after that, get a job.
Growing up, it’s always felt like there was only one route to success—one that my parents, relatives, and Singapore society have already mapped out for me. Exploring isn’t encouraged. Stray a little from it and your life is basically ruined. It’s almost as if if your dreams didn’t fall on the beaten (to death) path, it’s not worth having. And if it doesn’t earn you much? That makes it all the more pointless.
“Dreams will be dreams”, our painfully realistic fellow Singaporeans will tell us, reminding us again and again of the risks of going our own way, the risks of pursuing what we truly want, as if it were already guaranteed that our dreams wouldn’t work out.
But is it so wrong to want more than just a 9 – 5 office job?
If you have a dream, keep it big
Don’t let anyone tell you what to do or who to be. Cliché as it may sound, stay true to yourself. Living out someone else’s dream isn’t going to make you happy. Don’t belittle your dreams or let others make you feel foolish for having them. It’s good to have ambitions. It’s good to work towards something you feel deeply passionate about.
Whether your dream is to be an artist or the CEO of your own company, keep dreaming, and keep those dreams big. Always make sure your dreams scare you a little, so they give you that rush of adrenaline you need to break out of the status quo.
Dare to talk about your dreams
Let’s face it. If you can’t even bring yourself to talk about your dreams, how will you have the courage it takes to achieve them? If you have a dream, own it, no matter the judgment or the looks people will give you. Own it, even if no one else gets it yet.
Also, remember: the friends who support you and your dreams are the ones you should keep close. These are the people who truly understand you and have faith in your ability to turn your dreams into reality. While negative voices tend to be louder than positive ones, it’s important that you block them out and be receptive to support and advice from those who truly care.
Don’t suppress your dreams, chucking them into the deepest recesses of your mind, wishing them away. The best way to keep your dreams big is to talk about them, and to speak them into reality, no matter what naysayers might say.
Find ways to make your dreams a reality
Making your dream a reality will require some strategy. It can’t come true if you don’t plan for it to happen. An important step to achieving your dreams is to break your bigger goals—those seemingly impossible ones—down into small, achievable objectives. Start small, and don’t discount your first steps, no matter how small or insignificant they may seem.
If your dream is to be an artist, set aside time to nurture your artistic abilities and sensibilities. If you dream is to be a musician, perhaps it’s time to start singing some covers and putting yourself out on YouTube. Who knows what’ll happen from there?
Along the way, look out for helpful classes, short courses and get professional advice when you can. It’s also good to surround yourself with the right people, people who are interested in and are driven by the same things you are, so you can help each other along. These steps may seem small at first, but over time, if you keep at it, you’ll find yourself that much closer to your dream than when you first started out.
People aren’t afraid to have dreams. What they’re afraid of is chasing them. It’s easy to give up halfway and to let all the negativity surrounding you get you down, but here’s the thing about having a dream: you’re not going to have many supporters at first.
Try something different, stray from the status quo, and leave behind the people who only ever put you down. Chasing your dreams requires stamina, faith, and a truckload of courage. There’s nothing wrong with envisioning something different for your life—a different picture of success. Like with most things, if you want it, it’s your responsibility to you to go out there and get it.