Why Following Your Dreams Doesn’t Always Work
Following your dreams is often spoken of as a foolproof approach to life. As if taking the leap automatically implies landing on the other side.
But there are countless stories of people who sought to do exactly that, and clearly fell short of what they were aiming at.
There's Vincent Van Gogh, who decided to heed his calling to become an artist and sold only one painting during his lifetime.
Or my friend's dad who left the safety of a 9 to 5 job to start his own company and now struggles to keep his family afloat.
Why does this happen? Is it really a good idea to follow your dreams or does it just sound like it?
To answer this question, we need to distinguish between, what Christina Lopes calls, ego dreams and Soul dreams.
Ego dreams are things that you think you want, but don’t.
Whether this is because your parents convinced you that you should want this or your insecurities told you that you need it in order to validate yourself, these dreams are not actually what you want. They come from a place of lack and ultimately lead to a place of lack.
You think you want to be the big boss with the lambo, but you don't.
You want something deeper than that.
What you actually want, she terms ‘Soul dreams’.
These dreams lead to joy and fulfillment. They may lead to joy and fulfilment even before you materialise them because you’re having so much fun walking towards the manifestation of that dream.
Soul Dreams come from a place of wholeness. They are embedded deep within us. Most of the time deeper than our conscious awareness and therefore remain hidden from us, waiting to be discovered. They comprise of our deepest yearnings and they are within our reach.
Pursue what’s in your head (ego dreams), and you’re alone.
Pursue what's in your heart (Soul dreams), and the universe will conspire to support you.
- Rich Roll
Think of Soul dreams as what Nature wants for you. What you are naturally set up to manifest. What aligns most perfectly with who you are.
When people have been following their Soul dreams for a while, it starts to look like their life has been designed for them, as though they were a puzzle piece around which the perfect puzzle has formed.
Following Soul dreams is less about the acquisition of certain objects or achievements and more about heeding a call that comes from deep within your being.
If you are following Soul, you are better positioned to understand ‘setbacks’. You see the end of a relationship or the loss of a job as a stepping stone on the journey of your soul’s evolution.
You are in touch with what feels RIGHT, even if it is uncomfortable or not what you previously thought you wanted. You hold less tightly to your idea of how things should turn out and trust more in how things actually do turn out.
‘Fate leads the willing and drags along the reluctant’
If it doesn't work out, then it's not meant to be.
And if it does, then it is.
This is the graceful understanding afforded to the ones who follow Soul.
So now to answer the question of why following your dreams doesn’t always work:
Taking the leap does not guarantee you landing exactly where you want to. But it does land you exactly where you need to.
So if you are convinced that where you want to go is also always where you need to go, then it can seem like you have failed when you miss that mark.
But if you understand that maybe you don't know what is best for you and leave some room for adjustment, then there is no such thing as failure. There is only the endless, ever-changing pursuit of that which makes you come alive.
Trust that the Universe has a bigger, wider, deeper dream for you than you could ever imagine for yourself
- Also Oprah