What do you want to be when you grow up? Do you remember the first time you heard this question? I don’t. But most probably I said Mickey Mouse or some other cartoon figure with magic powers.
From my young school days, I had a desire to be a doctor. I think deep down inside me, I believed that doctors have some magical power to heal people. I was even considering to pursue with the med school two, three years ago. After doing the math -> years of med school + residency + specialize, I realized that it’s too late, by the time I become a heart surgeon, I might be facing retirement 😉 Becoming a doctor was just one of few dreams. Almost all the Indian kids growing up abroad want to become a doctor, lawyer or an engineer. And guess what, I am an engineer. Apart from becoming a doctor, I wanted to become a successful writer, adopt a child, build an orphanage in Kerala, do my Arangetram etc.
As kids our dreams are comparable to a bird with a lot of colourful feathers. We are not aware of the risks and certainly not thinking about the negative impacts, which might follow. Children are full of positivity. As we grow old like a bird loses its feathers, our dreams wither away. Dreams are indeed very strange, my dear friend!
So what happened to that curious child? I was a talkative child; I used to ask so many questions and was telling stories all the time. Recently I saw an old video of mine and I couldn’t recognize myself. That 7 year old girl was full of energy and blabbering nonstop. As children we want to be so many things and the sky is our limit. An innocent 7-year-old explaining about her dream of becoming a doctor, catching thieves or becoming a fire fighter, certainly is a good party entertainer. Everyone listening to this kid is amused and will encourage her. Time passes by, in your early teens try to talk about your dreams, most probably you will face the first “NOs” and discouraging statements like:
“You shouldn’t compare yourself with that person, You are not good at it .… Your primary focus should be achieve higher scores! …….Don’t ask stupid questions! ….Listen to us, we know what’s better for you! Don’t waste your time!”
In our early 20s most of us are usually finishing school/college, finding the first part/ full time job. If you mention about your dream now, then they will laugh at you and say:
”Oh common… don’t be silly… you are not a child anymore…don’t be a dreamer….Do you really think you can pull it off?.. think about your future…you don’t have much time to waste… get a job and get married!”
While growing up we probably hear a lot of NOs and undergo diplomatic brainwashes. The reason for this is because our friends and family are protective of us and they don’t want us to fail or get hurt. All these Don’ts and NOs creates a huge wall of fear inside us. This ugly, huge, dreaded wall is standing between us and our dreams. Instead of breaking down this imaginary wall, we project a fake dream on it. A dream which is approved by the society where we live. A dream that makes others happy and where you should be also happy because it’s what everyone else does. The average dream where you don’t get hurt. School -> Graduation-> Complete a professional course -> Job -> Marriage -> Kids -> Say no to your Kids -> A NEVER ending loop
From our mid 20s onwards it should be us, who decides if the imaginary wall should disappear or not. This wall is a projection of our insecurities and fear. Most of the time we are not aware of this and we subconsciously follow after a fake path. Until and unless some event wakes you up. In my case it was Hanspeter, my former boss. I used to work for a small international startup company. Back then we were like around 25 employees. Now it’s one of the world’s leading BPM venture companies. One day during our coffee break, I told him that I am going through some personal issues. That’s where he gave me the best advice someone ever gave to me:” Petsy, don’t be too nice all the time and do not say yes to everything. The world belongs to those who always ask questions.” As usual I didn’t understand the deeper meaning of what he said. It took me a while to digest but slowly I understood. In a polite way he was telling me to stand up and challenge; to get out of my comfort zone; to spread my wings and fly! That’s when I started to dream again, where I got my confidence back and started questioning. It was not easy, it’s a scary thought because you are on your own. You can’t blame anyone else anymore. Very soon I realized when you try doing things differently or follow a not so familiar/ common path, you scare and challenge the people around you. So forget about the Naysayers! Follow your dream! You may fall quite often on your path. Each time when you fail, think about the bouncing doll you had, when you were a child. No matter how often, forcefully you hit on it, it always bounced back and smiled back at you. All the obstacles and failures will bring you closer to your dream.
We can’t undo the decisions we made or were forced on us in the past. BUT you can totally change what you are going to do while or after reading this blog. You CAN decide to fulfill your dream as of today, as of now, like this very second. If you follow your dream, you might have to say No, get out of your comfort zone and sometimes even detach yourself from the emotional dramas going on around you.
Common guys, be brave! Don’t neglect your dreams/ goals. Let’s pursue a life of fulfillment, and happiness. It took me a while to understand the importance of having a dream and to be truly myself.
Can I read your mind and say what you are thinking now? You are asking yourself what is this crazy girl dreaming of? Oh well my dear reader, stay tuned, one day I will definitely share it here.
And now STOP reading this blog; Write down your dreams/goals; Save it on your device or pin it somewhere. Draft a plan and start your journey!