Life is a lot like the old folk tale of the Little Red Hen. To paraphrase for those unfamiliar with the tale, the plot follows a hen who finds a grain of wheat and (SPOILERS!) over time cultivates it into a loaf of bread through harvesting the grain, threshing it, milling it into flour and baking it. Through the story, she asks other animals for help, but met with a smug “Not I” every time. When the bread’s baked and she asks who’d like to help eat it, the same animals eagerly volunteer — but by then it’s too late; since none of them worked to create the bread, none of them get to partake of it, either.
Sadly, the same applies to our ideas — no matter how amazing they seem in your head, unless you make them tangible, you’ll find it really hard to get others to believe in you.
Don’t tell me what I can’t do.
“You can’t do that — you need to focus on your studies so you can become successful!”
“You can’t write on that — it’s too risky! No one will care!”
“You can’t chase your dreams — it’s time to grow up!”
Though my current situation makes me immensely glad I never threw the towel in on the #BloggerLife and kept pushing forward, there were plenty of times I nearly listened to the people who didn’t see my vision.
When you’re chasing a dream, there’re no guarantees. I’ve always sought ways to express what’s happening in my head: my parents were witness to the ridiculous amount of computer time I put in, learning how to craft my thoughts in the digital realm to articulate myself; I’d always challenge popular opinion if it didn’t ring true, though many would question why I put so much time into my work thinking I’d never grow a brand as successful as the big name bloggers… really, every time I learned something new, I worked hard to figure out how to weave it into my brand, figuring everything would somehow balance themselves out in the end.
So even if no one else did, I’d still believe in my blog, knowing that it’s a constant work in progress, evolving as I learn to do things a bit better than I did the day before.
But it’s taken ages to convince people that perhaps this blog is more than mere whimsy. It could be that it’s not taken as seriously as traditional media, centuries old and what it lacks in bodies it still has in drawing power. Or perhaps it wasn’t tangible enough for people, needing things like travel and celebrity appearances to show its worth, proving that it’s more than just a Dad writing to himself in some dark corner of the Internet.
Whatever the reason, the lesson I learned is this — people will have every negative thing possible to say about your ideas until you can prove them otherwise, but just because they spout negativity, it doesn’t mean you need to buy into it.
Sometimes, you’ll be your only cheerleader, and you need to be okay with that — if it’s a pill you can’t swallow, your journey might find itself ending all too soon!
Dreaming can only take you so far — it’s time to wake up and ACT.
It’s great to dream, but dreaming can only take you so far — we live in a world of brick and mortar, and people often place their faith in what they can see and touch.
When people see how the blog’s changed my life, conversations usually go like this:
Them: “I wish I could do cool stuff like that!”
Me: “So start a blog.”
T: “Ehh — I wouldn’t know what to talk about.”
M: “I figured it out over the years — I’m sure you could do it!”
T: “Years?! Man, that sounds like so much work!”
Listen. The things that’re truly worth it in life aren’t the ones that come easy — without putting blood, sweat and tears into something, what will compel you to stand behind it when the going gets rough? You take it all a step at a time — from tinkering with GeoCities sites in the ’90s to managing WordPress sites today. From writing in a journal and collecting your thoughts to writing a blog that helps you go through doors you’d never imagined possible. Work long enough at the things you’re passionate about and you’ll find a way to make them yours — the answer rarely looks the same for everybody.
It’s never too late — life demands our constant growth to overcome its obstacles and challenges — the search for meaning and work that feels fulfilling is but one of these.
But if you don’t believe in your ideas — if you’re not willing to have the faith to pour enough of yourself in to make them even a little real — then ideas are all they’ll remain, free to vanish into the ether, leaving you little better than you might’ve been had you just given them a chance.
And I believe in my ideas too much to do myself that disservice.
May you find the things that make you tick,