People are full of the most shit when they’re making excuses for why they’re not evolving. If you’re an artist, freelancer, or entrepreneur you’re probably familiar with the exchanges below. If you’re not, then you’re either a really actualized person who works for someone else or guilty of one of the exchanges below.
Person: Oh, so you’re like, pursuing your dreams and shit? You: Yeah- Person: Must be nice.
Person: Oh, so you’re like, pursuing your dreams and shit? You: Yeah- Person: Oh, I could never…
Person: Oh, so you’re like, pursuing your dreams and shit? You: Yeah- Person: Yeah, that’s just not an option with so many bills and responsibilities…
If you’re someone who’s hustled their way out of the rat race [or is actively working toward that], you’ve more than likely encountered one of the above scenarios. In the process, you’ve encountered passive-aggressiveness, people’s own self-doubt and their excuses. You’ve encountered minimizing and invalidation of your hard work and personal development. When you offer people anything contrary to what they’re saying, they’ve offered you bullshit like, “Oh, it’s easier for you” or “You’re a natural.”
While it’s frustrating and sometimes hurtful to not have your efforts acknowledged, everything these sentiments allude to have nothing to do with you. They have everything to do with the person saying them.
Shame and vulnerability researcher Bene Brown says that “He or she who has the greatest capacity for discomfort rises the fastest.” When people say they flat out can’t pursue their dreams, what they’re really saying is:
They’re unwilling to be uncomfortable.
They’re unwilling to disappoint people
They’re unwilling to reduce their expectations
They’re unwilling to minimize their life
They’re unwilling relinquish their attachment to things, places and situations.
They’re unwilling to redefine success and power
They’re unwilling to temporarily alter their lifestyle to achieve greatness.
Taking the leap to turn pro is’t for the cowardly. It requires sacrifice, vulnerability and interdependence. Only you can do the work, but there’s no way for you to do it alone. Whether it’s monetary or moral, you need other people as sounding boards, sources of support, inspiration and comfort. Sometimes, you’ll be a hot mess. You’ll need them to help you pick up the pieces, or keep you from falling. All of this takes courage. Being interdependent is a vulnerable position to be in. Pursuing your dreams makes you confront this head on. You have to confront the fact that puling yourself up by your bootstraps is bullshit. Not everyone is willing to do this. Some people would rather cling to the familiar despair of the rat race, rather than be disappointed by shit not turning out their way.
This all belies one fundamental thing: an attempt to avoid connection. When you strip away the bullshit of the rat race, all you really have is connection: connection to nature, each other and ultimately, ourselves. Never stripping away the bullshit means we remain disconnected from nature, each other and ourselves.
Remaining disconnected means that we can neglect our own greatness. In comparison, we could always be doing better, but we could always be doing worse. Even though not knowing ourselves becomes painful, pursuing their dreams for many people seems less painful than the comfortable mediocrity they’re used to. In their mind, they know what disappointments to expect. To boot, they never have to own them or the expectations that caused their disappointments. This isn’t an option when you pursue greatness.
Abandoning excuses is inherent when you choose to chase your dreams. Going after greatness means abandoning the passive-aggressiveness, doubt and excuses in the exchanges above… and probably becoming the recipient of it. It means refusing to stay small, while simultaneously having the universe illuminate the myriad ways we do just that. Some people would rather remain full of shit, I guess. For those who decline: I wish you the best of luck, though I know you won’t need it.