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5 Reasons Why You Should Never Follow Your Dreams

5 Reasons Why You Should Never Follow Your Dreams

Dreams. The magical elixir of self-help books, magazines and blogs. “Follow your dreams” they chirp cheerfully. “Live your dream life” they proclaim, tempting you with images of deserted white beaches framed by palm trees and a perfectly positioned piña colada. These self-proclaimed truth tomes practically scream at you to drop everything Right This Minute and pursue the yellow brick road leading you to a life filled with unbeknownst passion and joy. All you ever wanted, and more!

Just in case the piña colada didn’t sell it to you in the first instance there are a plethora of real life anecdotes detailing the stories of people who did in fact drop everything and follow their passion. The bank teller who had a Come-to-Jesus moment over his morning bowl of cheerios, handing in his resignation that very day. Effectively saying cheerio to the 9-5 grind to begin a new life in Africa helping displaced refugees. The stressed out mother who had her very own Oprah ‘aha’ moment and came up with a new business idea that revolutionized childcare, netting her a cool 50 million dollars when she sold the business to Google. There are literally thousands of these types of stories about people who waltzed off into the sunset and lived happily ever after just by following their dreams.

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But really, what’s so great about following your dreams? Here are 5 reasons why you should just keep on doing what you do and never follow your dreams.

1. You will have an abundance of free time.

Think of all that extra time you would have to take out of your already packed to the gills schedule to implement those next steps that are required in dream following. No more sitting on the couch and watching Mob Wives as you tuck into a bag of potato chips. There’s dream’s to be followed! Think of all those nights you would have to stay up late researching ideas for your new business concept, putting time and energy into your passion project. Think how tired you would be the next day. Urgh. More work on top of the work that you already do all day without getting paid? Sounds less like a dream and more like a nightmare.

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2. You will be safe.

Do you really want to give up that regular paycheck on a whim? How do you know your dream will succeed? Just think how embarrassing it would be to give up your comfortable office cubicle after announcing you are off to save the rainforest in the Amazon only to come crawling back 12 months later, tail between your legs begging for your old position back. If you don’t take the risk, you will stay exactly where you are. Safely tucked away in your office cubicle day after day after day until you finally retire 40 years later. Why on earth would you want anything out of life other than a completely predictable outcome?

3. You won’t get weird looks from people.

You want to move to Costa Rica and open a yoga retreat? Be prepared for some eye rolls and barely concealed sniggers. People will look at you strangely and they will think you are weird. You will stand out from the crowd and become a target for ridicule by your friends and family. Not to mention what on earth the neighbors would think. Think how awkward it will be when you find out that you are the talk of the town and people just cannot comprehend why on earth you would want to give up your safe and comfortable life to move to a third world country.

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4. If you never try then you will never fail.

If you don’t pursue your dreams in life then there is virtually a 99.9% chance that you will never fail. Think about it. Never failing. Never having to put in all that effort only for it to fall flat. If you live a life that involves taking no risks you know exactly where you stand. You can predict that in 20 years time you will be doing exactly what you are doing now, only with a few more wrinkles. Think how comfortable and safe a life free of any type of failure would feel as you slide into old age.

5. You will leave a legacy of stability.

Just think of the example you will be setting for your kids, friends and loved ones. They will learn to treasure the important things in life such as routine, predictability and sticking with what you know. They will learn to play it small in life and never to take risks. They will learn that although they may have wanted desperately to be a singer when they were eight years old, it’s just not a realistic life choice. They will learn to lock up these lofty aspirations into the deep recesses of their mind and limit their singing to the shower. After all, does the world really need another Lady GaGa?

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Do I need any more reasons to convince you that living the life of your dreams is just not worth pursuing? Stay safe, play it safe and you will never know anything more about yourself than you know now. Draw that comfort zone nice and tight around you as you relax on the couch for the latest episode of The Voice. When it comes down to it, isn’t watching everybody else chase their dreams far more fun than actually doing it yourself?

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Last Updated on May 21, 2019

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

For all our social media bravado, we live in a society where communication is seen less as an art, and more as a perfunctory exercise. We spend so much time with people, yet we struggle with how to meaningfully communicate.

If you believe you have mastered effective communication, scan the list below and see whether you can see yourself in any of the examples:

Example 1

You are uncomfortable with a person’s actions or comments, and rather than telling the individual immediately, you sidestep the issue and attempt to move on as though the offending behavior or comment never happened.

You move on with the relationship and develop a pattern of not addressing challenging situations. Before long, the person with whom you are in relationship will say or do something that pushes you over the top and predictably, you explode or withdraw completely from the relationship.

In this example, hard-to-speak truths become never- expressed truths that turn into resentment and anger.

Example 2

You communicate from the head and without emotion. While what you communicate makes perfect sense to you, it comes across as cold because it lacks emotion.

People do not understand what motivates you to say what you say, and without sharing your feelings and emotions, others experience you as rude, cold or aggressive.

You will know this is a problem if people shy away from you, ignore your contributions in meetings or tell you your words hurt. You can also know you struggle in this area if you find yourself constantly apologizing for things you have said.

Example 3

You have an issue with one person, but you communicate your problem to an entirely different person.

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The person in whom you confide lacks the authority to resolve the matter troubling you, and while you have vented and expressed frustration, the underlying challenge is unresolved.

Example 4

You grew up in a family with destructive communication habits and those habits play out in your current relationships.

Because you have never stopped to ask why you communicate the way you do and whether your communication style still works, you may lack understanding of how your words impact others and how to implement positive change.

If you find yourself in any of the situations described above, this article is for you.

Communication can build or decimate worlds and it is important we get it right. Regardless of your professional aspirations or personal goals, you can improve your communication skills if you:

  • Understand your own communication style
  • Tailor your style depending on the needs of the audience
  • Communicate with precision and care
  • Be mindful of your delivery, timing and messenger

1. Understand Your Communication Style

To communicate effectively, you must understand the communication legacy passed down from our parents, grandparents or caregivers. Each of us grew up with spoken and unspoken rules about communication.

In some families, direct communication is practiced and honored. In other families, family members are encouraged to shy away from difficult conversations. Some families appreciate open and frank dialogue and others do not. Other families practice silence about substantive matters, that is, they seldom or rarely broach difficult conversations at all.

Before you can appreciate the nuance required in communication, it helps to know the familial patterns you grew up with.

2. Learn Others Communication Styles

Communicating effectively requires you to take a step back, assess the intended recipient of your communication and think through how the individual prefers to be communicated with. Once you know this, you can tailor your message in a way that increases the likelihood of being heard. This also prevents you from assuming the way you communicate with one group is appropriate or right for all groups or people.

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If you are unsure how to determine the styles of the groups or persons with whom you are interacting, you can always ask them:

“How do you prefer to receive information?”

This approach requires listening, both to what the individuals say as well as what is unspoken. Virgin Group CEO Richard Branson noted that the best communicators are also great listeners.

To communicate effectively from relationship to relationship and situation to situation, you must understand the communication needs of others.

3. Exercise Precision and Care

A recent engagement underscored for me the importance of exercising care when communicating.

On a recent trip to Ohio, I decided to meet up with an old friend to go for a walk. As we strolled through the soccer park, my friend gently announced that he had something to talk about, he was upset with me. His introduction to the problem allowed me to mentally shift gears and prepare for the conversation.

Shortly after introducing the shift in conversation, my friend asked me why I didn’t invite him to the launch party for my business. He lives in Ohio and I live in the D.C. area.

I explained that the event snuck up on me, and I only started planning the invite list three weeks before the event. Due to the last-minute nature of the gathering, I opted to invite people in the DMV area versus my friends from outside the area – I didn’t want to be disrespectful by asking them to travel on such short notice.

I also noted that I didn’t want to be disappointed if he and others declined to come to the event. So I played it safe in terms of inviting people who were local.

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In the moment, I felt the conversation went very well. I also checked in with my friend a few days after our walk, affirmed my appreciation for his willingness to communicate his upset and our ability to work through it.

The way this conversation unfolded exemplified effective communication. My friend approached me with grace and vulnerability. He approached me with a level of curiosity that didn’t put me on my heels — I was able to really listen to what he was saying, apologize for how my decision impacted him and vow that going forward, I would always ask rather than making decisions for him and others.

Our relationship is intact, and I now have information that will help me become a better friend to him and others.

4. Be Mindful of Delivery, Timing and Messenger

Communicating effectively also requires thinking through the delivery of the message one intends to communicate as well as the appropriate time for the discussion.

In an Entrepreneur.com column, VIP Contributor Deep Patel, noted that persons interested in communicating well need to master the art of timing. Patel noted,[1]

“Great comedians, like all great communicators, are able to feel out their audience to determine when to move on to a new topic or when to reiterate an idea.”

Communicating effectively also requires thoughtfulness about the messenger. A person prone to dramatic, angry outbursts should never be called upon to deliver constructive feedback, especially to people whom they do not know. The immediate aftermath of a mass shooting is not the ideal time to talk about the importance of the Second Amendment rights.

Like everyone else, I must work to ensure my communication is layered with precision and care.

It requires precision because words must be carefully tailored to the person with whom you are speaking.

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It requires intentionality because before one communicates, one should think about the audience and what the audience needs in order to hear your message the way you intended it to be communicated.

It requires active listening which is about hearing verbal and nonverbal messages.

Even though we may be right in what we say, how we say it could derail the impact of the message and the other parties’ ability to hear the message.

Communicating with care is also about saying things that the people in our life need to hear and doing so with love.

The Bottom Line

When I left the meeting with my dear friend, I wondered if I was replicating or modeling this level of openness and transparency in the rest of my relationships.

I was intrigued and appreciative. He’d clearly thought about what he wanted to say to me, picked the appropriate time to share his feedback and then delivered it with care. He hit the ball out of the park and I’m hopeful we all do the same.

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Featured photo credit: Kenan Buhic via unsplash.com

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