I ran across this article recently and the title of it caught my attention. The main assertion is that you deserve to be poor if you have reached the age of 35 still being poor. In a world where there are so many inequalities and everyone does not have the same opportunities, I think that such proclamations have to be taken with a grain of salt. However, the fact remains that we all have the opportunity of time. The 24 hours a day that we spend doing our daily habits is no different than the 24 hours that a billionaire is afforded. It’s all in how you spend it. My favorite sentence of the article: “You’re poor because you have no ambition.” This doesn’t necessarily always mean education in the traditional sense. We judge people who drop out of school without recognizing that school isn’t something that’s necessary to succeed. The fact of the matter is that by age 35 a lot of people have become set in their own ways. Their childhood dreams have given way to the harsh reality of adulthood and they are in the middle of making payments on their car, their house, and their student loans. A lot are married and/or raising children and just trying to survive. This makes it hard to think about retirement and all the places they’ve always resolved to travel but haven’t yet. I heard someone say that it’s a sin to die poor and while I don’t agree, I think that dying poor is something that many people would never choose to do. We have to remember the bigger picture while living day to day. It’s essential. Don’t let your dreams collect dust.
This past week has been interesting as I laid to rest a 6 year dream of mine. As someone who often plans years in advance, it was a disappointment that the hundreds of choices I made that were in line with this dream were all for naught. I knew it was coming and I knew that it would be uncomfortable but I misjudged the level of non comfort I would feel. Dreams can be one of the things in our lives that inspire us to hope. It’s interesting how I was so convinced at one point that I would have my dream fulfilled but as time passed, I saw it escaping my grasp until it was gone completely. And there was nothing I could do about it. I think that we’ve all been in places where things have happened out of our control that we can’t fix. The crushing of a dream requires an evaluation of one’s life and goals. You think in a different way because your thoughts are no longer filtered through the lens of your dream. The finality of that fact might be both a blessing and a curse because it requires an adjustment of thought. However, we have to acknowledge the change in our lives and in some situations fill the gap of the dead dream with another dream that we can pursue. We can take the “L” and move on with the knowledge that we learned something worthwhile from the experience despite the discomfort at the end.
One thing that I really like about therapy is that you have the opportunity to hold the hope in the room. What I mean by that is that I have the opportunity to be a source of hope for a couple or family that has lost theirs. Hopes and dreams are very related to each in that both are intangible. They both deal with the future and looking away from the current situation. Being a dream or hope holder means that you can be optimistic for the person in a hard situation. I’ve noticed both with myself and with other colleagues that sometimes it’s easier holding someone else’s hope as opposed to getting or keeping your own. How many of us kill our hopes and dreams for a myriad of reasons? Instead of not tending to them and letting then die on their own accord, we aggressively mentally hack our hopes and dreams to pieces. It’s almost as if we don’t want to give ourselves the option of succeeding. Yet there’s something in us that wants to hope against hope. However we ignore this and continue to sabotage our hopes and dreams. The problem with doing is that sometimes there is a reason we have certain hopes and dreams. Killing them uses up energy that could be put to better use. Humans are adaptable and resilient and deep down inside most people want to know that they matter in some way and that their dreams are reachable. Maybe making the decision to not sabotage your hopes and dreams because of outside factors is the beginning of something big.
It’s interesting how the start of a new year can have you re-evaluating your life. As I’ve seen the hundreds of posts people have done about doing something different, I’m struck with the realization that planning and implementing are two different things. One thing that I’ve had a chance to do this week is touch base with some of my homies. These are all people who have ambition and plans for the future. Whenever I talk to them we always end up trading ideas and discussing life goals. Conversations like this are motivating to me. I’m realizing that while I need consistency, I also need to have access to people I can brainstorm with. But I also have to make some decisions regarding who I spend my time with and what I do with my time. I heard a story this week about a man who created a watch with a countdown to when you will be expected to die. The whole premise is that people will be more motivated if they know their time is limited. I know that in order to be successful I have to make hard decisions and prioritize. I’m not chasing happiness because I know that it’s fleeting. But I do want to make a difference and be useful. I’ve been blessed to have opportunities that others have never had and I feel that it’s my responsibility to make the best of them. No, success doesn’t come easy but then again, most things that are worthwhile don’t. And my goal this year is to simply be consistent and grow my professional career. Because I just wanna be, I just wanna be, I just wanna be successful…
One of the things that occurred to me today was the fact that I like situations where the odds are stacked against me. Even when I watch sports (which rarely happens) I always find myself cheering for the underdog. There’s just something about winning and succeeding when the odds are against you. I can’t say that I grew up in an environment where the odds were against me. Although being homeschooled until college put me in a position where I felt that I had to succeed and that the odds were against me. I have never been in a traditional educational environment before and it was all new to me. I worked hard and was able to finish college AND graduate school in four and a half years. The odds were definitely against me in that situation. I remember hearing a quote that basically said that no one remembers “try-ers” they remember winners. The more the odds are stacked against me, the more motivated I am to beat them. I get creative looking for solutions that will put me in a good position. I become extra deliberate in making sure that everything is in place and that all my actions have a purpose. I focus my energies on one thing and also constantly re-evaluate my strategy and my approach. Beating the odds requires guts. One of my favorite sayings is “epic dreams require epic sacrifices.” The truth is that if I’m really serious about what I want, I’ll take the necessary steps to get it. I’ll focus my time and energy in achieving what I want. Beating the odds takes both motivation and dedication to the process of doing what is required to succeed. Yes, it’s often uncomfortable and pretty inconvenient but at the end of the day, I plan to beat the odds. And I will. Period.