When to Quit Your Dream

I want to talk about quitting your dreams.
There is a lot of motivational self-help material out there on following your dreams. Think big. Believe in yourself. You can do it!
But what if you don’t want to do it, anymore?
What if it’s just no longer the thing that calls to you? What if after all the time and energy you’ve put into it, you fall out of love with your dream? Then what?
It can be hard to admit when we no longer love something that once filled us with such fire and joy.
But when that fire has gone out and and fulfilling the dream has become a forced pursuit, it’s time to take stock of your options and get really honest with yourself. Are you happy and fulfilled on this path, in the promise of where it will take you? If not, admit you no longer want it, call it quits, and walk away. Move on.
You might be afraid of what everyone will say. They may think you’ve give up. You may feel like you’ve failed.
The only failure though is to deny how you feel, suppress your growing desire for change and then keep trudging down he same old road.
To be sure, there is a difference between abandoning a dream out of self-doubt and fear, and moving on because you’ve had a genuine change of heart. Don’t quit your dream as an excuse to avoid the challenge. But DO quit when the challenge no longer serves or excites you. If the passion is alive in you, you’ll know, and you owe it to yourself to keep trying. If that passion is gone, though, then let it go. If you think you have to see it through to the bitter end, no matter what, then you’re denying yourself the opportunity to live a life that meaningful and enjoyable for you. It is OK to stop before the end. It is OK to make a new decision, to a go in a new direction. It’s your life. You have every right to change it.
We typically think of our dreams as being our life calling. But often we externalize that call, making the dream about something outside of ourselves, like a specific career or accomplishment, rather than figuring out the essence of what draws us to those things in the first place. Although the body of your dream may die, the soul of it could very well reincarnate and take new form.
Dreams can also be simply your passions, interests or goals. They can also be relationships, the place you live, anything that you have invested your loving energy, time, and effort into. If you are doing life right, you’re growing and changing. Allow your dreams and passions to grow and change with you.
It was a gradual awakening, coming to the realization that I was over my filmmaking dream. It didn’t happen all at once. But there was a specific moment when I knew I was done.
I was sitting at a Starbucks in Hollywood, right across from the Director’s Guild of America, there for an interview with two producers who had entered their movie into the Sundance Film Festival; they needed an intern to join their team. Sitting there, looking around at the people sipping their coffee, clicking away on laptops and talking on bluetooths, everyone acting busy and important and exciting, nobody relaxed and real; each person scrambling to be or find or create the Next Big Thing… It struck me, in that moment, how uncomfortable I felt in their midst. Just not part of the scene at all.
I met plenty of cool and wonderful people in the film industry, and had some great experiences, but overall I became weary of the performance, the need to constantly appear busy and important and exciting. And I found that the things everyone else in the industry cared about, felt like distractions to m
e. My eyes and heart had wandered outward, to what new possibilities may exist out in the world for me. I wanted other kinds of projects to work on, different scenery, fresh adventures. After a decade pursuing the dream, I didn’t want to be a filmmaker anymore.
It was a process to unravel the big dream from my identity and my future. It took some time. Deciding to quit was the first step,
and a huge relief. In another video, I’m going to share some of the steps I took to clean my slate and start over. For now, I want to remind you to stay lucid in your dreaming. Pursue your dreams for yourself, and quit them for yourself too if it comes to that.
Nobody else is in charge of your destiny. You can choose it, and you can change it.
“Your vision will become clear only when you can look into your own heart. Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes.” – Carl Jung

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *