Far too many of us "follow our dreams" because we get excited at the thought of being rich and famous, or get caught up in the hope of the prestige of being "successful" and admired by our peers. How many of us follow our dreams "for the love of the game" whether we actually achieve our dreams or not? I often need to remind myself of this because it's easy and natural to want to be "successful," but we should be following our dreams because it means we're enjoying what we're doing. Following our dreams needs to be about finding joy in the journey.
A few years ago I watched a documentary film that had a such a big impact on me that I've thought about it again and again even years later. It was called Planet B-Boys (You can check out the trailer for it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PpntYFfVoQU).
In a nut shell, Planet B-boy is about breakdancing teams from several different countries preparing for the world championships. Their dancing was incredible! The team that won stuck out to me because they kept talking about how much they loved what they were doing. So many of the other teams kept talking about how important it was for them to be the very best and how important it was for them to win the competition (and that's fine, there's nothing wrong with that). The team that won, however, kept talking about breakdancing itself and how it made them feel. You could tell they were doing it "for the love of the game."
I'm not saying that destinations and goals aren't important. They are important, but if we make following our dreams more about the destination than the journey then I think we've missed out on something. I think that too often our dreams consist of setting a destination in our minds that we need to hit or else we have failed. I feel a little frustrated sometimes with the whole "follow your dreams no matter what and it will work out if you never, ever quit" mentality. Sometimes our dreams don't work out the way we planned. Life is a battle and despite someone's very best efforts, things don't always work out for them, and that's OK. There's a big difference between giving up and things not working out. Sometimes we need to alter our course a little bit, put our dreams on hold for a tiny bit, or find new dreams.
My mother is one of my creative heroes. She writes books, particularly clean romance novels. I think I got my storytelling genes from her. My mother's dream has been to get one of her romance books published. Despite many efforts and some close calls, she was never published until she finally self-published her books on her own. I've read her books. I can honestly say (knowing my biased position) that I really enjoyed them, and I say that as a man. I can truly say they're good stories that aren't a bunch of romantic fluff for females only, but well thought out, well paced stories with great characters and storytelling. I can honestly say that her books are just as good as the books I've checked out from a library (and a whole lot better than some others I've read). It helped me to realize that "success" does not equal talent, nor does lack of success equal lack of talent. I hope that no matter what happens with her books, she knows that they are good books. Also, my mother didn't stop writing books because she'd never been published. I can see her passion for it.
"Success" does not equal talent, nor does lack of success equal lack of talent...
My favorite book of my mother's, Catch a Morning Star.
"Success" can be a fickle thing. Athletes get injured. The other actor gets the gig because they were the right height. Your coworker got the promotion. You have to get a day job because your dream isn't paying the bills. Sometimes life throws us curve balls and we strike out, and that’s OK. The point sometimes is that you went up to bat to try, and you’re willing to try again. If you're doing it "for the love of the game" then there is a small victory every time you get up to bat, whether you strike out or get a home run.
My dream is to make and share fun stories and beautiful imagery (through fun, family friendly videos). Right now I make corporate videos. It's a good job and I'm grateful for it, but sometimes I feel like a fantasy writer who's job is to write instruction manuals. I've watched successful Youtube channels have fun following their dreams and making fun videos, and I hope and dream that I can achieve the same thing. But whether our channel becomes successful or not, I hope that I'll be able to look at my channel and be proud of the videos we made and how much fun we had making them. It's easy to get caught up in the views, likes, and share counts, but I realize that I need to be making my videos because I enjoy making them, and not the other way around.
If you've made it this far, thanks for listening to a random guy rant. I hope maybe it helps someone somewhere who might feel discouraged about following their dream. Maybe I'm writing this for myself more than anyone else. If you truly love what you do, then follow it, and excellence will follow. Things might not always work out how you hoped or planned them originally, but if you do it "for the love of the game" you'll find a small piece of happiness that will be yours whether you reach your destinations or not. Don't make the mistake of never following your dreams. As the saying goes, if you shoot for the stars and miss, you still will go a lot farther than if you never tried. It's OK sometimes if you need to put your dreams on hold or alter them a little bit. Sometimes we need to go for a piece of our dream, but follow your dreams nonetheless.