Hello, dear readers, and welcome!
I hope your December has been wonderful so far, and that you're having a lovely holiday season. I know that I am! I recently purchased my tree (a bit late; thankfully they still had some left!), and he is simply gorgeous. It's this time of year that we rush about buying presents and spending time with family, but it's also a good time of year to rekindle our hopes and dreams, so I'm writing up a post concerning that.
A note: Also, last Friday was Walt Disney's birthday! Happy belated, Walt. You've taught me so much. In celebration, I'm going to use some of Walt's quotes in this post. I hope they inspire you, too.
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Life is full of ups and downs. Naysayers. High-brow people with little monocles over one eye, examining everything you do, and everything you write (or so my writing group likes to say). It can be difficult to move forward in life with so much weight pressing in upon you, and sometimes it seems like your dreams are so, so far away.
Am I doing this right? Am I doing this wrong? Should I change direction? Should I make another decision? Is it too late?
I don't believe it's ever too late to achieve your dreams, to go after what you want, so long as you believe that you can achieve them. That doesn't mean it will be easy, and that doesn't mean it will all fall into place. It also doesn't mean that the achievement of your dreams will look exactly like you thought, but it's worth fighting for anyway. Successful people are the people who do not give up. They are not always the strongest, the most intelligent, or even the most well-equipped: but they aren't quitters.
I don't believe that anything comes easy. I believe that hard work is always involved -- and mistakes, clean slates, admissions, and of course, heart. I'm always talking about research -- and yes, don't just believe, do your research. Find ways around problems. Do your best. Learn your history.
If you want to be a sports star, train, read up on your sport, take advice from people who have come before you, carefully think over your options and opportunities, and choose the one that best suits you. If you want to publish, then do the same. Research, look over your options, innovate, try and fail, try and succeed, read the fine print (that goes for any career, actually).
When we come up against walls, we need to find ways around them -- and sometimes even ways through them -- instead of allowing them to block our paths. There is beauty in hope and faith, and they are important things to kindle, but logic is an important part of the equation, too.
"No one can ask better of you than your best", my mother has always said. Growing up, I heard this again and again, and I honestly wish that I had listened to her sage advice sooner -- but then that's life; sometimes we must learn the hard way. We often spend so much time trying to please someone else, or to please some ideal, that we can get lost in the process.
Is it too late? Have you failed? Have I failed?
Whatever it is you're aiming for, keep going. You're not too young, you're not too old, you're not stupid, or ugly, or less than in any way. Throw away that high school mentality, and get to being the best you that you can be, whatever that entails.
Whatever it is that keeps holding you back, whatever it is that keeps getting in your way: let it go (and yes, that song is now going to be stuck in my head...again). You never know what you will accomplish when you let fear go, and tackle your dreams with everything you have. There is a difference between having delusions of grandeur when it comes to your dreams, and having faith and confidence that you are able to achieve what you wish to achieve.
Last post I spoke concerning wanting to publish traditionally. This has always been a dream of mine, and I've never stopped wanting it. I really enjoy self-publishing, and perhaps I will end up being a hybrid author, something I think I would also enjoy, but that first dream has never gone away, and I doubt it ever will. It's my personal dream, and I have confidence that I can achieve it -- just as I have confidence that my connected dreams can be achieved. Is this blind ambition or an overabundance of pride? No, it's not. It's simply faith, backed by the knowledge that I am good at my craft. And whatever dream you have, whatever your heart has always been steering you towards, whatever your cultivated talent is, is the same: achievable. Confidence and haughtiness are not the same thing.
Allow yourself to be confident -- in fact, strive to be confident. It won't erase the bumps in the road or the trials, but if this is what you want to do, then don't back down, and don't allow yourself to doubt. Be wise, and seek wisdom, but be confident in your ability.
When your heart is in something, it's the thing itself that matters -- not the potential profits, not the amazing deals, and not the celebrity status (that most of us don't reach, anyway); money really doesn't matter at the end of the day, and focusing on it will only make you miserable. My family said to me recently that if you focus on your work, and do your best with it, then all of the good things will follow naturally, and I agree. Again, it won't be easy, and it may take longer than you want (or think it will), but hard work pays off. Keep focusing on the quality of your work, on your strengths (though don't ignore your weaknesses; work on your weaknesses), and the reason why you do what you do.
What makes your work exciting, interesting, fun? What fuels this passion of yours? Is it a love for people? A love for innovation? A love for science, or politics, or the arts? A love for history? A love for language?
Mine is certainly for a love of language, and new worlds, and the communicating of ideas. That's my passion. What is yours?
Whatever it is, follow it, and keep it in your sight. Don't worry about what is on the side of the car, trying to distract you. Be mindful of and learn from the past, but don't keep your focus on the rear-view mirror, either.
My often-said, favorite Walt Disney quote can be summed up as: "Keep moving forward."
Whatever adversity you are facing, instead of allowing it to try you, to get you down, or to frustrate you, use that adversity to do something productive. Channel it, instead of wallowing in it, instead of allowing it to cloud your vision. It's only human to get upset, to become frustrated, to be downtrodden when we are faced with difficult situations or when things simply do not seem to be going the right way, and of course when others openly doubt us. But we can choose how we react, and we can choose to do something good with those feelings.
Let it go. Use that energy for your craft. Run. Make something. Solve a problem. Teach your best lesson. Program a new robot. Tackle that story again -- or, perhaps better, put your characters in a similar situation as you, to make them more human; allow them to react to your situation, and you may just find some clarity.
Emotions are fickle, but ultimately we can choose how we act, how we believe, what we put our energy into. Keep believing, keep learning, keep pressing towards your goals, and when challenges arise, find ways through them, learn from them, and then let them go.
Keep following your dream, no matter what. You can do it!