Follow your dreams, not your passion

by Alan Knott-Craig: Successful entrepreneur and best-selling author, chairman of HeroTel, a wireless broadband provider, and founder of Project Isizwe.
A dream is different to a passion.

A dream is something in your head, a vision, something you’ve always pictured.

A passion is something you love doing. Something that makes time fly by.

Chasing your passion is like trying to still the ripples on a pond with your hand.

You can’t do it, and eventually the frustration takes the joy out of your passion.

Chase your dreams, not your passions.

Dreams are like visions. Sometimes they happen whilst you’re sleeping. Sometimes they happen when you’re reading a book. Sometimes they happen when a loved one dies. Sometimes they happen when you’re sitting in your umpteenth corporate meeting. Sometimes they happen when you’re talking to someone. Sometimes they happen when you’re ten years old. Sometimes they happen when you’re sixty years old. Sometimes they happen in the shower. Sometimes they happen whilst singing along to Roy Orbison in your car. Sometimes they happen when you have your first child.

Sometimes they happen for no reason at all other than Destiny.

The point is not how your vision appeared. The point is that you have the good fortune of having a vision. Not everyone is that lucky.

Maybe your dream is to have children. Maybe it’s to live on an island. Maybe it’s to build a billion-dollar business. Maybe it’s to change the education system. Maybe it’s to go to Mars.

Whatever it is, don’t take it for granted. Treasure it.

Most people are milling through life not knowing where to go. Most people wish they had a dream.

If you have a dream, you’re already blessed with more than most. You now have to chase it.

“I can’t, I don’t have enough money.”

“I can’t, my wife won’t let me.”

“I can’t, it’s too hard.”

Blah blah blah. Excuses will only result in you lying in your bed when you’re seventy years old regretting not following your dream. It’s around about then that you’ll comprehend that you only get one life, you should have lived it to the max.

Need money? Save up.

Too difficult? Toughen up.

Spouse won’t let you? Leave him, he obviously doesn’t love you.

Not only will you always regret not chasing your dreams, you’re also insulting all those people out there that never had a vision, never had something to chase. They would give anything to have a dream, and yet you selfishly ignore yours.

Don’t be a fool. Ignore the naysayers and take the first steps to living your life to the fullest, bringing your dreams to fruition and making the most of your short time on Earth.

And yet folks still don’t do it. They consciously ignore what their heart tells them to do.

Why don’t people follow their dreams?

For most people it’s because they can’t handle the uncertainty.

Maybe this is you. Maybe you just can’t handle not knowing what will happen tomorrow.

So instead of following your dream and venturing into the unknown, you choose the well-trodden path.

You choose to stay with your spouse because it’s embarrassing to admit you made a mistake, even though you’re desperately unhappy.

You choose your corporate job because you need the monthly paycheque to cover your mortgage, car repayments and school fees, even though every day is soul-destroying.

You choose to study medicine because you don’t want to disappoint your parents.

You choose to live your life as it is, even though you know it’s not the life you should be living.

The operative word is, “Choose”. You choose. It’s a choice. Not being happy is your choice. Having regrets is your choice. Having high overheads is your choice. Having a mortgage is your choice.

Not following your dreams is your choice. Never let it be said that you didn’t make the choice to waste your short time on Earth. You can’t use the excuse of, “But I had no choice.”

Not everyone has a dream, but everyone has a choice.

The choice you must make is whether you’re willing to pay the price of dealing with uncertainty.

Are you willing to live without debt? To drive a second-hand car? To not care what people think? To rebel against your parents? Against society?

Are you willing to lower your lifestyle and overheads in order to make yourself less vulnerable to unpleasant surprises?

If you can remove the fear of the unknown you’ll be freed to follow your dreams.

If you follow your dreams, you’ll find success.

Useful resources:
The Big Almanack
Alan Knott-Craig is a highly successful entrepreneur and best selling author. He is based in South Africa and passionate about starting businesses in the telecoms, media and tech sector.
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