Over the past few months I have had to come to some harsh realities. I have not only updated my retirement plan, but have had some serious issues of whether I think it is possible to earn a living by writing. I know others do it, but what makes me so special? Sure, I can write a blog post and I can do the grunt work to make a website semi-successful, but do I have what it takes to make it big?
Needless to say, I have had a lot of uncertainty. I have been forced to re-evaluate whether I can make and while I am still a little uncertain, I am still determined to give it everything I've got. I don't want to give up just yet and I think I still have a lot of potential. There are many things that I've got to do, but there is room for growth. Most importantly, there's a lot of potential and while that still exists, I am going to do everything possible to make it happen. Yes, I still want to retire early and have enough income coming in to replace my day job (after taxes).
Processing these sorts of questions has led me to wonder why people don't make it. But perhaps most importantly, why people don't give their dreams a fighting change. Why don't people follow their dreams? I assume most people dream of retiring early for one reason or another – but hardly anyone does it. Many people have big dreams, but give up.
Reasons Why People Give up on their Dreams
Thinking Your are Incapable – I have a friend that had big dreams to become a professor. We were in graduate school together and he graduated a little over a year ago. He applied to enter a PhD program in the fall of 2011 and wasn't accepted. This did not deter him. He got a job in the area and waited for the fall to come so that he could apply for next year. He filled out the application again. Acceptance letters are mailed in February or March. Just a couple months ago, he got his letter. Only, it was another rejection letter. He failed to get in twice in a row. If this happened to you (as it happens to hundreds, if not thousands of people each year), what would you do? I'm not certain if he will apply a third time, but you can imagine how someone might feel after being shot down twice. Sometimes, dreams are so good that they seem impossible to attain.
Too Busy – I'm still not certain this is a legitimate excuse or not, but is one that comes up quite frequently. Many people fail to take on things because "they are too busy." Yet, there is some truth to it. You can only do so much. If you are working full-time and going to graduate school, for example (as I am doing), how much more can you handle? Sure, maybe you can blog at night and create a fairly successful blog, but anything beyond that seems impossible. Sometimes people get too busy paying the bills and maintaining a certain lifestyle instead of following their dreams. Maybe this is more of an issue of setting the wrong priorities instead of being too busy.
Not Realizing the Reward – Another great reason why people don't follow their dreams is because they don't understand all of the benefits. Maybe if my friend truly realized how nice it would be to be a professor, with summers off, and the ability to talk about a subject matter that interests you all the time… maybe he would have been more motivated to put in the necessary work to add things to his resume and increase his test scores. P
Whatever your dream is, do everything to follow it. There may be plenty of excuses and obstacles in your way, but if it is really that important to you, you should find a way. I never would have thought I would have had this much success within 9 months when I started and that only convinces me even more that (almost) anything is possible. It won't always come easily or quickly, but if it is really what you want, you will find a way to do it.
Shawn Manaher is a former financial advisor, has founded 5 online businesses, and is a coach, speaker, podcast host, and author. He's been featured on Forbes, The Consults Corner on TAE Radio, The Writing Biz, What's Your Story, and more.