What is it about our dreams and ideas that we keep leaving them in the rear view? Why do we wake up with an exciting interest but let it remain in our heads every night till it slowly starts to feel like a fantasy? Do we gain anything by sharing dreams we want to breathe life into and do just that; share?
For the past few weeks, I have been experiencing a kind of low I could not place a finger on. You know those moments when you want everyone to be quiet, you want to be left alone, and maybe you feel the urgency to dial back, reflect, and gain energy? I wanted an empty world for a day or two or three. Obviously, I did not get that because, as always, one has to: get up, get dressed, talk to other people, smile, laugh, and ensure not passing negative energy to others.
After about 2 weeks, I realized that I am one of those people who have had ideas for as long as can remember but for some reason, let them remain ideas. I started to understand some of the root causes of my low feeling. There is something called the full potential, and maybe when it feels so far to reach, our energy level and motivation start to feel far from us? Maybe?
Can other people believe in our dreams with the half-baked zeal on our part?
When I was about 16, at my school back in Nigeria, we took a course which required us to write vision and mission statements, and our short and long term goals. I remember vividly going on and on. I am a girl full of diverse interests. The difference between that 16 year old girl and my present self is that I totally believed I would do those things. I was very determined and definitely knew where I was going. For me, one way or the other, I was going to get there. I honestly can't say I am still in that mindset. How can other people believe in our dreams when you are unable to show strong determination?
Fast-forward to years later, I had forgotten about the exercise, I had another idea that got me excited. A few months or a year later, I remembered the “goals” exercise. I had that idea when I was 16. So, why would I have recurring ideas and let them remain dormant?
I started to dig-deep into what changed, and what made me lazy. I will share 5 main reasons why we let things be.
- Too Big: Sometimes, when I think of the long-term goals of an idea, and what it is expected to bring, it feels too big for me. In my mind, I am like “it is little me, in this big world, that can never happen for me.” Seriously, I put myself in a place where certain things seem just too much. I will sometimes compare myself to those who are successful in the area and feel so little compared to them. I tell myself that I am not capable.
- Comfort: We attain one or two goals and get too comfortable; as though, those things enough. I honestly got comfortable. I told myself that whatever I was doing was good enough. When in reality, in my heart, I know there is much more to be done.
- Tired and Lazy: With everything we want to attain, comes sacrifice. We have to sacrifice our time, money and sometimes, some relationships – to a reasonable extent. I just wasn’t ready to sacrifice anymore; like, I was tired of trying. Just outright tired! Weighing the pros and cons of losing on things, I just wasn’t ready to lose anymore.
But these days, I keep seeing that, to win, we have to be ready to lose.
But these days, I keep seeing that, to win, we have to be ready to lose.
About 3 months ago, a friend introduced me to My Africa Podcast (you can download it on your smart phone or tablet and listen to the series too). This Podcast features Africans either by descent, residence or action who are successful in a part of the continent. It interviews leading Africans, letting you hear directly from business leaders, artists, musicians, and so on. My Africa Podcast is passionate about Africa, and gives us an outlet to incredible stories from across the continent. (myafricapodcast.com)
One common thing I gathered from all the interviews I listened to is risk, reasonable risk. Every one of them got to a stage where they had to risk something for what they desired. They worked hard, and dedicated themselves. For them, it was all or nothing. So in attaining anything, laziness cannot be a factor. To me, success and laziness are mutually exclusive.
- The God Factor: Sometimes, God gives us a dream, and a bit of vision about where we could get to. And sometimes, HE just drops these ideas into our brains to the point where they keep showing up, and it is left to us to develop them. We might look at those dreams and laugh, and struggle with trusting that God will come through for us. Could it come to reality?
In the bible, Moses and Abraham are two people who doubted the greatness they will become. The promise seemed too big for them. Moses had a speech disorder and he was supposed to lead the Israelites out of Egypt. Moses was like Lord, please don’t send me to rescue them, I am not eloquent, and I am too slow. Moses saw his weaknesses in the situation instead of believing that God will definitely come through for him. God reminded him that he created his mouth and is aware of his situation. God told him to get going and that HE will be with him. God made resources available for Moses to be a successful leader to the Israelites (read Exodus 4: 1- 19, and Exodus 3 & 4 for the full story).
God is aware of our weaknesses, HE will equip us
Abraham was rich and was married to a beautiful woman but did not have any child by her. God had promised him a child but Abraham was getting old, and biologically, it is more difficult to conceive a child at an old age. So, when some visitors told Abraham that he would have a child, his wife, Sarah, laughed. Of cause, she laughed. I would too. She was like, how can I have a child when I am worn out and my husband so old. But again, God was aware of their weaknesses but still blessed them with a son, Isaac. (Genesis 18:12, or Genesis 18 for full story)
These stories remind me that God is aware of all our weaknesses and that even when we think we are not capable, HE will provide all the materials necessary to help us. All we have to do is to learn to trust and to believe in God.
- Friends and Family: Have you ever had an idea that you shared with a family member or friend, and they ask you questions that make you doubt your ability. I read a post someone on my Facebook shared about his fitness journey and business. One of the things that stood out to me was that in the midst of trying to achieve, we will see that we have lots of haters, and many of them are friends and family. Yes, friends and family. And his statement is so very true!
Why would we call those we are closest to us haters? And why wouldn’t they want our best interest? For some of these people, the problem is that they actually have our best interest and maybe too safe. They may analyze the situation too much and encourage you to stay on the safe lane. They may fear that our chosen part might fail.
Some other people are just unable to see your vision. It is your dream and as long as you keep your head up, you are dedicated and focused; you won’t regret it and it will be worth it. We want the validation of our friends and family, and many times, we want it too much. This can hinder us from going to the next level.
I am not encouraging anyone to throw caution to the wind; all I am saying is take advice and counsel very carefully no matter whom it is coming from. I pray God grants us his wisdom with these situations.
This post is a little personal, and it’s even more so because it is an on-going experience for me. I am looking in the mirror and writing everything to you, and more importantly to myself. It is a stage in my life where I am tired. Very much tired, tired of making excuses. So, it is time to bring those ideas to reality, and share them with the world.
It is time to remember that no one else is dreaming for you, so you better be your own number one cheerleader. It’s ALL or nothing.