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5 Terrible Excuses For Why People Let Their Dreams Go

5 Terrible Excuses For Why People Let Their Dreams Go

Everyone has dreams and aspirations, and yet most of us in life will never see them through. Perhaps it’s due to being afraid of failure, unprecedented circumstances, or even death. And the ones who do achieve their dreams? Most are often left unfulfilled, wandering aimlessly and confused — why?

Because dreams are meant to be dreams, they’re supposed to be unattainable. That’s why they’re dreams, right?

Wrong.

Here are 5 terrible excuses for letting your dreams go.

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1. You think you’re not good enough.

Yes, everyone has that little voice in their head screaming that they’re pathetic, a failure, and worthless. Sometimes, you believe you’ve created the best thing that’s ever been on earth, and the next day you are wondering how in the world you managed to create such a piece of dirt.

Well, there are many things that science has told us about that little voice. For one, it was originally used as a means of comfort and security. Yes, I know, that voice that calls you ugly and worthless was intended to be helpful, not harmful. And it’s not like you can tie it up, put some tape on its mouth, and throw it in the corner. But let’s face it, that voice is one of the best things we can have. It will tell us over and over when something isn’t good enough, and that’s us.

We know our limits, and so do our minds. So, the next time you hear that little old brain of yours telling you that your piece of art/literature/acting/athletics is terrible, think of it as a way of your brain saying this: I can do better, I know I can. I can succeed in my dreams.

2. You say you “don’t have enough time.”

I’m going to say this once: dreams are meant to be taken and worked on. And if you don’t have enough time for something you’re passionate about, then you truly never were that passionate about it.

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Successful people make time, and if you’re one of those people who are constantly on Facebook, Instagram, or Tumblr, grab a stopwatch and start counting the minutes. When you decide that you’re going to sit down and watch TV, start counting the minutes. A recent study from The Telegraph shows us that the average person spends an hour and forty minutes on social media each day — and you still say you have no time?

If you truly have no time, no time in the world to do what you love, drop what you don’t like and start doing what you love. Yes, you might make a little less money, you might not be able to go to the gym, you might not be able to do certain things you like, but you will be able to do the thing you love and pursue your dream. You have one life, so what do you have to lose to go after a dream? Nothing.

3. Your peers think otherwise.

Hey, Jenny, heard you want to be a writer. Good luck with that — you can’t write, and becoming a successful author is, like, super hard, so come party instead.”

Everyone has that one person who will stop at nothing to put down their dreams, their aspirations. These people believe that in life, you have to be a realist. Being an artist doesn’t pay bills, neither does being a writer. What pays bills is working a 9-to-5 job that you might hate, and for what? A nice car, a nice house, a nice job, some status? But what about that dream? What about that dream to be a writer, to publish work?

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You know, I can tell you something, something that’s a fact. If you worked a 9-to-5 job and died tomorrow, what would happen? Someone would come and take your place, people would mourn, and that would be it. Your life as a blip in the earth’s existence. Forgotten. However, if you go out there in that big world and attempt to make something of your dream, you will be more successful than any other millenial who worked all day in a job they despised. Whether it’s being a dancer, being an athlete, being a writer — you have the chance of never being forgotten. The chance of your name to be written on a great piece of work, in a record book, in an amazing play. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain. So go for it.

To quote Alan watts: What would you do, if money was no object?

Do it.

4. You say, “I’m not quite ready yet.”

It takes a lot of courage to chase a dream. That becomes more evident when you sacrifice family time, your lifestyle, your hobbies, your finances, and even risk losing everything. Now, I’m not saying go out and quit your job, burn your bridges, destroy your foundations. What I am saying is to rediscover that passion, that eternal flame that is within all of us to chase our dreams, because you only have one life.

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With every day that passes, you are the oldest you’ve ever been, and the youngest you’ll ever be again. Time will run from you, and I hear a lot of, “I’m not quite ready yet” or “I’m too young, I don’t have enough experience.” That is bologna. I will say this time and time again: you don’t wait for opportunity, you create your opportunity. You build your bridges, and I’ll be damned if there is a path that leads to success that is covered in debris, fallen down and broken — you’d better get ready to clear it. Because you are ready. You will make yourself ready.

5. You lie to yourself.

Being honest to yourself is one of the hardest things to do in life. People do not like disappointments, and when you are striving to be successful, you always hear the words, “I’m doing my best,” “I work my butt off,” and “I’m always busy.”

People like to proclaim self-greatness. But it’s always good to understand you aren’t the best — yet. I’ll give you an example. My dream is to become a writer, and when I was younger, I used to claim that I didn’t read books because I thought all the stories were pointless and I didn’t like the way other writers wrote. Well, I was lying to myself, and had convinced myself of this lie. The reality was that I believed I wrote the best and had the talent to be the greatest — I still do, but in a much humbler way. I stepped back and told myself that I am nothing but dirt right now. That in order for me to grow, I must learn from the best. I picked up many novels by Stephen King. I don’t like his novels greatly — some I love, most I like. But he is argueably the most popular and well-known writer there is. I stopped seeing myself as someone who can contribute to the world of literature, and starting seeing myself in my true form: as an apprentice, learning on his own through self-education.

So, stop with the excuses and go out there and change the world.

Featured photo credit: Viktor Hanacek via picjumbo.com

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Last Updated on January 15, 2019

How to Talk to Strangers Without Feeling Awkward

How to Talk to Strangers Without Feeling Awkward

Many of us feel awkward talking to strangers. I’m a very outgoing person, even though I sometimes feel uncomfortable walking up to someone and asking a question or starting a conversation. I consider myself pretty high up on the extrovert meter. So what is it that makes us pause and become worried or anxious about talking to people we don’t know?

In this article, we will discuss why we feel this way as well as some tips on how to talk to strangers without feeling awkward.

Step right up, don’t be shy!

Why We Feel Awkward Talking to Strangers

The next time you feel uncomfortable talking to a stranger, tell yourself that’s completely normal. There are numerous reasons why it’s actually natural to feel awkward talking to strangers:

Our Stress Levels Rise Around Strangers

Numerous studies have show that our levels of cortisol go up when we are around strangers.[1] Cortisol is the hormone inside of us which produces stress responses.[2]
So there you go, right off the bat you can see part of your standard response to strangers is due to a chemical reaction!

A very interesting by product of increased cortisol is that it makes us less empathetic. More than likely this can be traced to our evolution. The increase in the cortisol and the corresponding decrease in empathy makes us want to stay away from strangers. We are biologically wired to feel concern around strangers.

Evolution Taught Us to Be Wary

Evolution has also taught us to be wary of strangers in general. Humans as a whole have spent a large chunk of their history banded together in small protective groups. We did this in order to help protect each other and maximize resources.

When you think about it in this context, outsiders to our small groups or strangers are considered potential threats. Fear of strangers is common across almost all human cultures.

Culturally Conditioned

We can also thank our society for helping us feel uncomfortable and sometimes afraid of strangers. The term “stranger danger” is something most of us can relate to either growing up or raising kids. Or both.

I remember hearing this from my parents, mostly about not getting in someone’s car I didn’t know. And as the father of 2 teenage girls, you can be sure I’ve talked to them about this very concept more times that they want to hear.

The thought that strangers can be dangerous is built into us as it is. Toss in the amplification of the media on strangers doing things such as kidnapping kids and it takes it to an even higher level.

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Now that we’ve reviewed some of the reasons why we are nervous, let’s look at why you should talk to strangers more.

Benefits of Getting over the Awkwardness

Let’s take a quick look at some of the advantages of how to talk to strangers without feeling awkward. These are some high level benefits of talking to strangers.

1. Broadens Your Network

After you talk to someone, you didn’t know previously they become someone you know at least a little bit. This alone helps broaden your network of people you know. This is helpful in many ways whether it is work related or socially related.

2. Improves Your Communication Skills

I am a huge proponent of the value of solid communication skills and have written about it often. The more you talk to people, especially people you don’t know, the better your communication skills become.

Interacting with a wider variety of people will bring the added benefit of improving your communication skills.

3. Continually Learning

So many of us don’t actively seek to learn new things. This is one of the primary keys to staying engaged in life and our own personal self fulfillment.

Almost every time I speak to someone I didn’t know previously, I’ve learned something new. When we speak to strangers, it pushes us out of our comfort zones and we tend to learn new things.

4. Increases Self Confidence

Every time we learn to do something we were previously anxious about, we feel better about ourselves.

Forcing ourselves to talk to strangers will lead to increased self confidence. As we get more and more comfortable doing something that previously made us feel awkward, our self confidence will go up and up.

So, how to talk to strangers to reap these benefits?

How to Talk to Strangers

Here are some tips to on how to talk to strangers without feeling awkward.

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1. Say Hello

Putting “say hello” first may seem a bit obvious but let’s take a deeper look. Much of the social awkwardness when speaking to strangers is simply breaking the ice. The first words that will engage someone.

Most people will respond when someone says hello or hi to them. And those that don’t, you probably don’t want to talk to anyway.

Practice being the person that opens the door to a conversation. Say hello.

2. Ask About Them

Something that I have noticed over the years is that people love to talk about themselves. Even fairly private people tend to open up when asked about events in their lives.

You can ask leading questions that get people to talk about themselves and recent events. Things like recent movies watched or the summer vacation are great to get someone talking.

As a father, I also know that people love to talk about their kids. Asking about kids is a fairly easy topic to bring up and in general, most people will expound upon all the great things their kids do or are involved with.

3. Just Do It

One of the biggest reasons we don’t do things we want to or know we should is because we overthink it. Quit thinking about it so much and just do it.

When you give yourself the time to analyze every little angle about a situation, you also give plenty of time to talk yourself out of it. You’ll wind up thinking what if this happens or what if that happens.

Try to force yourself to jump right in without thinking about it too much. Whenever I have done this, I always feel great about it afterwards, no matter how it turned out.

4. Don’t Take It Personal

One of the greatest lessons in life I ever learned was don’t take anything personally. We all go through life with our own sets of experiences and see things through our own lens. The way people react to different situations has almost nothing to do with us. It has to do with previous experiences and the way people feel about things other than us.

When someone’s reaction isn’t what you’d hoped or expected, chances are it has nothing to do with you. Remember that and keep it in context.

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5. Get a Chuckle If Possible

I used the word chuckle purposely because it makes me laugh. In my opinion, it’s one of those funny words. We all like to laugh because it makes us feel good. And when someone makes us laugh, we typically remember those people in a positive light.

One of the best ways to make a conversation easy and free flowing is to get some laughter going. It doesn’t mean you have to be the master joke teller or anything. See if you can work in a way to make the person you are talking to get a smile or some laughter in. In fact, laughing at yourself maybe a nice try.

6. Detach

A great feeling is when you don’t mind which way something turns out, that you will be fine no matter what happens. Kind of like when I watch my two favorite football teams play against each other. I don’t really care who wins, I just want a fun game.

Treat talking to strangers the same way. You don’t really care how the conversation goes because you are detaching from the outcome. Make it a fun time with yourself and if the conversation goes well, awesome! If not then no big deal, move on.

7. Share Your Stories

Well, all like to feel connected to other people. And many times we wind up hanging out with people that we have things in common with. No surprise here.

To help with how to talk to strangers without feeling awkward, tell stories that have commonalities with the person you are talking to. Kids are an easy one. I have a daughter who was a competitive cheerleader and now plays club volleyball. I have instant connection and stories with strangers I speak with who have kids that play sports. It’s easy to relate to.

So when you are speaking to a stranger and you have a story or mutual connection point, bring it up.

8. Give a Compliment

Almost everyone likes hearing a compliment, whether they admit to it or not. As a general rule, we don’t give out enough compliments. It’s amazing how one small remark someone tosses your way about how good you look can literally make your entire day.

When you are speaking with someone you don’t know, see if you can work a compliment in. Nothing creepy here. Not a good idea to tell someone you just met that they are the prettiest or handsomest person you ever met. However, if you can share how you like their tattoo or shoes or something like that, it will help put the conversation into an easy going, smiling place.

9. Relax Your Body Language

If you go into a situation all worried and nervous, it shows on your body. Your shoulders are tensed up, there’s a look of consternation on your face, things like that.

When you engage a stranger in conversation, make it a point to relax your body language. Take a deep breath before you engage the person, let your body relax, and put a smile on your face. This will help relax you and it has the added benefit of putting the other person more at ease.

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If they see that you are relaxed, it helps them relax. Plus having open, engaging body language is very conducive to inviting someone to open up into a conversation with you.

10. Practice, Practice, Practice

Like everything else in life, talking to strangers gets easier with practice. The more you do it, the easier it becomes.

Make it a point to talk to several strangers each week and it will definitely help you relax as you do it more and more.

After a while, it will become something you don’t even think about, you just do it. And that takes all of the awkwardness out of being in these type situations.

The Bottom Line

As we have seen, it is perfectly natural to feel awkward talking to strangers. We are biologically built that way and we have our own society constantly warning us how dangerous it is. It’s no wonder we feel awkward talking to strangers!

There are numerous benefits to learning to be more comfortable talking to strangers. See if you can employ some of the techniques mentioned to learn how to talk to strangers without feeling awkward.

Once you start practicing speaking with strangers more often and utilizing some of the tips, you will become more comfortable doing so. This in turn will lead to a learned new skill and increased self confidence.

Remember, everyone you know was a stranger at one time. Now get out there and make some new friends.

More Resources About Strengthening Communication Skills

Featured photo credit: Priscilla Du Preez via unsplash.com

Reference

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