If you have a dream and you try to make it a reality, you might fail. Then you won’t have your dream anymore.
This is the hidden cost of pursuing your dreams. It’s not just the risk of failure that’s off-putting, it’s the loss of potential success.
I’ve found this to be a common reason why people with goals don’t move toward them.
If you have a dream, and you don’t pursue it, you can still cozy up to the possibility of living that dream “someday.” You can keep the dream alive forever… even if it never comes true.
Too many talented people choose to play it small, because although they don’t get to live their dreams, they can carry them in their pockets like charms.
Later in life, they may endure the sweet regret of knowing what might have been.
The Staggering Cost of Not Pursuing Your Dreams
Dreams for the future can soothe the soul when times are tough. Losing such a balm is unthinkable for many.
Research on loss aversion suggests that most of us would rather avoid a loss than go for a reward, even when that strategy doesn’t make sense.
Here’s why not just dipping your toe in but galloping hard toward your dreams may be worth the risk:
1. What if you die tomorrow?
I’m sorry to bring this up, but there’s no guarantee that you’ve got as much time as you think you have. What are you doing with your precious time if you’re not pursuing your dream(s)?
2. Consider your quality of life.
Not following your dream can have as high a price tag as going for it. Doing nothing costs you self-respect, confidence, the joy of the hunt, the thrill of success, like-minded friends and more.
Right now, picture living the rest of your life — which may be very long, in contrast to #1 above — NOT living the dream. How does it feel to consciously sign up for that?
3. Self-actualization, anyone?
I believe you’re here for a reason. Your job in this life is to fully express the gifts you brought with you when you were born. Not to self-actualize by pursuing your heart’s true desire is not to fulfill your mission on this planet.
Refusing to at least reach out and touch your potential robs you of one of life’s sweetest pleasures, not to mention a sense of purpose and meaning.
4. Security is an illusion.
I’d like to suggest that the only real security in life is being GREAT at what you do. Anything else can be taken away from you at any time.
Why not be great at what you love? It could be research, parenting, snowboarding, glass-blowing or speaking in palindromes. It doesn’t matter, as long as you’re following your heart.
Personally, I think security is overrated. Would you rather be secure inside a dungeon or insecure on the grounds of a magnificent but unfamiliar palace?
5. Money is no substitute for anything worthwhile.
If you’re not pursuing a dream because you think you can’t make money doing it, or because you don’t want to give up your current level of income, you’re saying that money is more valuable to you than whatever rewards you could get from living your dream.
Is that true?
It may be, especially if you have substantial financial obligations. Just be conscious that you’re choosing money right now, and be clear on what you’re choosing it over … y’all (I just didn’t want to end that sentence with a preposition).
We all have obligations — people and tasks that have a claim on our time and energy. But even if your hands are tied, your mind is still free.
You can make plans for the future. Make a plan to follow your dreams, and let the right others know how they can help when the time comes.