Remember the first time you traveled alone or the first time you stood up for yourself, the first time you rode the bicycle without any help or the first time you cooked a meal on your own? Do you recall the feeling of exhilaration whenever you achieved something?
Pretend that you have all the money and resources in the world, there is nothing holding you back and you have the support from everyone who matters. Now ask yourself this:
If you could fulfill your greatest dream, what would it be?
My friend wants to be an actress but is studying law. Another friend has his own band, but is unable to continue because he got a job overseas. My ultimate dreams do not coincide with my life at the moment. I am juggling a job and college. Right now, quitting either is not an option.
I wonder, in twenty years will we all regret not choosing to chase after our dreams?
This weekend, as I sat all alone on Valentine’s day, I realized how unreasonable I was being. It was not only my bigger ambitions that I kept postponing, but even small goals that I would have liked to achieve. For example:
I like listening to the violin, watching Irish step dance, following tennis on television, seeing my favourite Youtuber bake a perfect cheesecake and sometimes feel a pang of regret. I would never know what all this felt like first hand.
So I asked myself a couple of questions:
What is keeping you from doing what you want to do? What are you afraid of?
The answers came sooner than I thought it would. A tiny voice in my head said to me : What if I am not good at it? What if I am a terrible musician, a horrible dancer and a pathetic athlete?
It dawned on me right then, that the only thing holding me back was me.
I certainly wanted to gain a new skill, I was willing to work for it but I didn’t have the most important thing in the world : Self Belief.
No one ever succeeds on their first try. A puppy doesn’t stop trying to walk if it falls down a few times. Failure is unavoidable, but giving up is a choice.
Is the regret later on, really worth giving up on your dreams?
You will only be the age that you are now, once. Are you really going to let fear keep you from achieving all that you want?
“If you enjoy something, you will find a way to do it.” these are the words my grandfather always used to say.
There have been many things that I wanted to do when I was younger, but never had the opportunity. But now I am older, and do have the chance, so why not take it?
I enrolled in a dance class, and started writing a blog. I have applied for an internship for a profile that matches with what I want to do. I asked my friend if she would take me to tennis practice with her next week and she said yes! I’ve tried my hand at baking, and although the cake turned out like an over burnt pancake, it felt pretty good to have done something. I’m trying again tomorrow.
I may not be the best at what I do, and as they say practice makes perfect. So it makes sense to start sooner right?
It may not be wise to follow a big dream without a safety net, so be careful and wary of loopholes. Leaving a secure job at the office, to follow a career in playback singing when you have a family to earn for, may not be a good idea, as success is not guaranteed. But giving up on that dream altogether is not right. This is why fulfilling the smaller goals is important.
Believe me, fulfilling even one dream, no matter how small will give you enough confidence to take on the next one. And eventually, one day when the time is right, you will have the courage to do the one thing you want the most.
I am not saying it is easy, but it is better than feeling unhappy about not taking the chance years later.
So have you thought of what you want to do? Not just the big dream, but even the little ones? Now is the best time to go ahead and do it.
When I was younger, I enrolled in a professional singing class, thinking I had an untapped talent. I quickly realised, as did all the teachers, that I simply do not know how to sing.
On my very first day, a motherly looking lady who taught us, said to me, “Dear, why don’t you come for an extra class this week, so we can give you some special attention?”
“Oh yes!” I said as I beamed at all the other students, some of whom passed snide comments. I assumed they were jealous of me being singled out because of my talent.
Ah well, as they say, ignorance is bliss. For me, at least for a while, it surely was.
A couple of days later, feeling rather proud of myself, I found that I was the only student in the class room on a late Saturday afternoon.
“Now, sing with me…do re me fa sol la ti do…” my teacher said pleasantly.
“DO RE ME FA…” I started enthusiastically, completely unaware of how I sounded. Maybe I was going to be the next Christina, maybe I was going to be a best selling recording artist, maybe I’d win a Grammy…
“STOP! Please child stop.” interrupted my teacher looking distraught. “Lets do this one again. Try to copy me, come on we can sing together now, do re me…”
“DO RE ME—” I sang, or thought I did.
“Not quite, but much better,” said my poor teacher looking harried. “Lets try again okay?”
“DO RE ME FA SOL—”
“No no!” she exclaimed jumping up with as much agility as though I had thrown cold water on her on a winter morning.
“No?” I asked confusedly.
“Lets try again. Now try to sing exactly as I say.”
She tried to coax out pleasant singing tunes from me but couldn’t. After a good two hours she looked ready to give up.
“One more try,” she said determinedly and I agreed, so as to not hurt her feelings.
I tried to sing with her, but I think bad singing is something that is ingrained in me. I come from a generation of terrible bathroom singers, and I honestly don’t think I have any genes that can help me with my vocal abilities.
“Maybe I should learn something else.” I said when she finally suggested we try another day.
“What? No! You mustn’t give up.” she said shaking her finger vigorously. “If you stop, you will never learn.”
But the next couple of weeks of similar fruitless practise, was enough to convince her that my singing career was a lost cause.
“I’m sorry.” she said looking defeated, but brightened up as she added. “I will recommend you to a better teacher, he is well known abroad and he will certainly help you!”
I shook my head at her words. “No thank you, I think I’ll just move on. Proper singing is just not for me.”
The only reason I gave up was because my four year old niece voice-taped me singing in the shower last weekend and played it aloud during my sister’s anniversary dinner party. It was quite embarrassing to have a table full of people look at me in a peculiar manner, before bursting into, rather rude I might say, laughter.
“I heard you were taking lessons?” inquired my uncle trying to stifle a laugh.
“I am, but as you just heard, its been futile.” I said glumly.
“Oh don’t be fussed.” said my aunt encouragingly. “You sing much better than your father any day.”
That cheered me up quite a bit. Dad good naturedly agreed to sing for us. I joined him in the chorus, and then everyone sang the second stanza together, before the restaurant manager asked us to shut up as we were disturbing the guests.
In all honesty, singing is not one of my strong points, but who cares anyway? When I am with my close friends and family, I can sing as tunelessly as I want, they won’t mind. I will continue to be a bathroom singer, simply because I like singing in the shower.
But I won’t try to learn how to sing again. I am convinced it is a talent you are born with. Instead, I’m going to do something I am actually capable of, such as learning how to paint, write a blog or play a different sport.
We all have something that we are not good at, and unless you see some progress in it, it is sometimes best to shift focus onto something you can achieve. Don’t give it up completely, though, for you will miss it.
Thanks for reading 🙂 You make me so happy.
I met a few of my old classmates recently. We all went for lunch and ordered plenty of food. Every one was happy and talking about how they were doing. I was enjoying myself thoroughly until someone asked me if I would like to raise a toast after the drinks arrived, in honour of a friend who had got engaged. My mouth moved of its own accord as I squeaked out an “Of course!”
I don’t drink alcohol and have never raised a toast to anyone in my life. In fact, public speaking has always been something I dread…but more on that later. I have seen toasts being raised in movies, and I know how its done, and I know I can do it, but a tiny voice in my head keeps dissuading me.
What if…I mess everything up? What if…I don’t do it right? What if…everyone thinks I’m a failure? What if…I lose my friends?
What if I could just stop thinking and enjoy the delicious dinner in front of me?
Seeing me look troubled, my close friend asked me if I was alright. I confided in her in hushed whispers, and she laughed. “So what if you mess up? Everyone messes up sometimes. You will always be our good friend no matter what. In fact if you do something stupid, everyone will loosen up and have fun.”
I grinned at her words, feeling much more confident. I savoured my cheesy pasta in peace, my anxiety finally giving me a break. When the drinks finally arrived, I stood up hastily, promptly knocking over the chair behind me. It landed on the stone floor with a loud crashing noise; everyone looked around at me, including people at the other tables; the waiter hurtled to set the chair straight.
I laughed nervously and said, “Well I guess that’s one way to get your attention. Glad it worked.”
I paused, everyone was staring at me.
“What if…” started the tiny voice in my head.
“Oh just shut up.” I thought strongly, and surprisingly it did. The second I stopped worrying, everything was okay.
“I would like to tell everyone of how lucky this handsome young man Fred, is to have got Sue to finally say yes.” I said to a heartening applause. “Sue is not easy to convince, considering how stubborn she was in school. It seems only yesterday she was telling me she would never get married, and here she is, getting ready to walk down the aisle.”
I spoke for a good three minutes after that and successfully completed the toast. When I sat back down, I understood how much simpler everything was if one stopped worrying.
I worry far too much. There, I said it. I’m probably the biggest worrier there ever was, and I don’t even have any kids yet.
I realise that my life does not pause for me to ponder and get stressed over what might happen. In fact every second I spend worrying and getting anxious, is actually taking away valuable moments of my life. I could be out enjoying myself with my loved ones, pursuing my hobby or learning a new skill.
There will be highs and lows in life, but you shouldn’t be thinking about possible lows when you are at your highest in life—it will only bring you down.
I know its difficult to stop worrying all at once, but by taking baby steps we can combat this endless anxiety.
Some helpful tips:
i) Always have a positive outlook. If you must think of What if…, think instead, What if…I do really well? What if my hard work pays off? It will surprise you how much this helps. A positive attitude cultivates hope and builds faith in one’s own self.
ii) Don’t worry about situations that have not yet occurred and probably will never occur.
iii) If its out of your control, don’t dwell on it. What if I don’t pass this test? If you’ve already given the exam and submitted your answers, then there is nothing you can do anymore. except forget about it and go have some ice cream.
iv) Exercise. A quick workout or playing a sport takes our mind off unnecessary things and prevents anxiety. Moreover, you feel happier and more positive after a workout.
v) Laugh as much as you can. It is incredible how much easier things are when you are happy. Try to look at the humorous side of things. If you are worried about not being able to pay the mortgage, think of how cool it would be if humans shifted to the moon. You’ll still have to pay the banks in the end, but at least you would have had a good laugh.
Here’s to you!
Twenty one years old and not very focused, that is how some people would describe me perhaps, when I am not around. But before I start to… Read more “Should you tell others your dreams?”