Hope is like a road in the country; there never was a road,
but when many people walk on it, the road comes into existence.
– Lin Yutang
We have been talking about how our need for greatness can overwhelm us, causing us to procrastinate, delay, and then beat ourselves up for our inability to take action. It is not wrong to dream big, but if our attachment to a particular recognition or result is so huge that it keeps us paralyzed, that’s not a dream; it’s a nightmare.
In yet another example of the interesting synchronicity and magic that seem to be happening as we do this work, another blogger I admire just wrote yesterday about about a nearly identical topic, from a slightly different frame of reference. In Monday’s The Art of Great Things, Jeffrey Tang writes that dreams, big dreams, are what keep us motivated, engaged, and excited. But they can be heady stuff and if they get too grandiose, they can lead to paralysis and guilt.
“Just dreaming big never actually got anyone anywhere,” he notes. “Sometimes dreams suck up energy and attention from the actual work of moving forward, leading to a kind of paralysis.
“And sometimes, big dreams lead to guilt. Like during those long, unproductive nights, where you’re inspired, but somehow unable to make progress…
“…For example, one of my lifelong dreams is to write a bestselling book. And not just a bestseller … a classic. A book to which legions of high school students will be subjected via summer reading lists and timed essays. So far, I’ve made several attempts at it, but I haven’t gotten anywhere.
“Some days, I can’t help comparing myself to the big dreams in my head. ‘What am I missing?’ I ask myself. ‘What’s wrong with me? Do I really want this?’ Thinking like this, I’ve noticed, tends to kill my motivation pretty fast.”
That’s because thinking like that is fear thinking. If our big dreams inspire and motivate us, that’s great. But if they are so big that they are intimidating and result in guilt and pressure, they are really fear in disguise and this will knock our legs right out from under us.
Julia reminds us, “Fear is what blocks an artist. The fear of not being good enough. The fear of not finishing. The fear of failure and of success. The fear of beginning at all. There is only one cure for fear. That cure is love.
“Use love for your artist to cure its fear.”
What big, crazy dreams are you entertaining? Do they feel good, or do they sometimes feel bad? How can we love our artist better? More tomorrow!