Goals and dreams are what makes life exciting, motivating, purposeful and worthwhile. When the path is easy and straightforward, it can be the most fulfilling feeling but inevitably obstacles and roadblocks come around the corner; not to tell us our dream is unreachable and unattainable, but to allow us to learn, grow and become the person we need to be in order to get there.
For many of us, once we come across a hurdle, it can simply be what stops our dream in its tracks – the motivation wanes, our beliefs in achieving our goals breaks down and it can seem impossible and dejecting.
In a society where we are judged for our looks and age alongside our abilities and competence, having our dreams placed in the hands of others’ opinions of us is a dangerous game and one that will quash the dreams of even the strong-minded of people. If you’re feeling beaten down or even that it’s too late for you to achieve your life-long ambition then take a page out of Meryl Streep’s book.
A talented, award-winning actress, Meryl Streep is loved and admired by millions for the countless roles she’s played in our best-loved movies. But it has by no means been an easy road for her; struggles to break the Hollywood mould in more ways than one has meant she has had to reach her dream the hard way compared to many but the lessons she learnt has made her into the well-known, talented actress we know today.
Love Yourself, Be Yourself And Never Give Up
At a very young age, Meryl wanted to be on the stage performing. But it was at an audition for King Kong, aged 27, that she came up against something that would stop many from continuing their goal pursuits – she was told by the producer that she was simply “too ugly” for the role.
Like many of us doing with ourselves, Streep found fault with her looks and sometimes struggled to really embrace them. But she realised that by caring what other people thought of her was only bringing her down and stopping her from fully going after what she wanted.
“This was a pivotal moment for me. This one rogue opinion could derail my dreams of becoming an actress or force me to pull myself up by the boot straps and believe in myself. I took a deep breath and said ‘I’m sorry you think I’m too ugly for your film but you’re just one opinion in a sea of thousands and I’m off to find a kinder tide. Today I have 18 Academy Awards.”
“For young women, I would say, don’t worry so much about your weight. Girls spend way too much time thinking about that, and there are better things. For young men, and women, too, what makes you different or weird, that’s your strength … I used to hate my nose. Now I don’t. It’s OK.”
We can’t ever let other people determine our future and – even worse – the thoughts we have of ourselves. To truly achieve what we want in life we need to learn how to embrace ourselves, love ourselves and believe in ourselves. Resilience is immensely important when it comes to happiness and continuing the path to our dreams and goals. Developing a mindset that keeps you on the path no matter what you are faced with, will prove to be the linchpin in becoming successful in what you want to achieve in life.
Embrace Getting Older. Never See It As A Reason To Give Up
It’s another societal view that getting older is somehow a decline in achieving your hopes and dreams. It’s often associated with a lack of ability or incompetence but this is quite the opposite.
Although Meryl Streep is a world-famous actress now, she took numerous roles from a young age without much success or acknowledgement. Once she hit her 40s, she noticed a definite shift in the types of roles she was being offered mirroring the attitudes Hollywood and society as a whole view older women.
“When I was 40, I was offered three witches in one summer. And I thought, ‘OK, this is it. You turn 40, and oh my god.’ The only reason I have a career at 64 is that I’ve had hits later in life. I’ve found that once certain movies are out, audiences aren’t so age-phobic. They were willing, and they were happy.”
It wasn’t until she was getting prestigious roles about strong, independent, older women such as Miranda Priestly in The Devil Wears Prada that she started receiving more mainstream recognition and more and more roles portraying older women were becoming more desirable. Considered today as one of the greatest american actresses, Streep’s career and attitude has helped change this Hollywood mindset by working steadily on various projects including mentoring women at The Writers Lab – a new initiative nurturing female screenwriters over the age of 40.
Streep’s understanding of the discrimination that older women face has been to the benefit and gain towards the shifting of ageist attitudes in our society. While age and getting older is a scary concept to many, the message that she puts forward is that it’s never too late – it’s never too late to continue on with your dream or even start pursuing a dream you always had. Don’t let others stop you from living your life and never use it as a reason not to be happy.
Featured photo credit: Gareth Cattermole via thedailybeast.com