Time Will Eat Up Your Dreams Before You Know It
Read this, then act
Now I've reached my 40s, I’ve realised the profound truth in the words “There is no right time to do anything, you just have to do it.”
I’m not sure who said it — probably lots of people, but I didn’t listen to any of them because I was young, foolish and knew everything.
In retrospect, I wish I'd taken that advice on board. Hindsight is indeed 20/20.
You see, if you want to do anything, you have to start before you are ready. The stars will never align, the opportunities will never ripen, the obstacles will never acquiesce and most of all, you will never, ever, feel ready. Never, ever, ever.
Let me repeat that in bold:
You will never, ever, feel ready.
If you wait until you feel ready you’ll wait until it's too late.
Now, let's cut to the chase – I’m sure you don’t believe it will happen to you. Not you. You’re too smart to fall into this trap and besides, you’ve got plans.
The trouble is, everyone has plans.
And like everyone else, your plans are probably vague dreams you hope will come true somehow. Everyone wants fame, fortune, critical acclaim but no one wants to put in the horrific amount of work and sacrifice to get there.
“Everybody wants to go to heaven, but nobody wants to die.” - Joe Louis
We all carry within us the hope that magically we'll develop the fortitude to make our dreams come true, that one day a capable and brave future-us will step into our shoes and start a successful business, bag a beautiful partner, make it big, earn a million and so forth.
No one plans to be the loser.
No one thinks they’ll end up an addict, homeless, or merely a 50-year-old shop assistant living in a one-bed apartment, but it happens. A lot.
Do you think these people didn’t have hopes, dreams and plans like you? Or are you deluded enough to believe you're unique, special and somehow different? Because if you think that, you’re really fucked.
Here’s a truth no one tells young people:
You’re going to feel too young to achieve your dreams until you’re going to feel too old.
It happens in the blink of an eye, too young, then too old. One excuse replaced by enough; one symptom of resistance taking the place of another.
You can wait forever to feel ready.
Waiting kills dreams and when you kill your dreams you’re halfway to killing yourself.
Beginning to feel concerned? Good! You should be.
Let’s talk about what to do about it
No matter your age, you've probably already experienced the feeling of "it’s too late" about something. One of the cruellest tricks of youth is believing you’re “old”. I hear 25-year-olds call themselves old, I’ve seen people turn 30 and give up on growth because they think they're finished.
If you are under 30, you are not old.
Baz Luhrmann’s song ‘Sunscreen’ says:
“Trust me, in 20 years you’ll look back at photos of yourself and recall in a way you can’t grasp now how much possibility lay before you and how fabulous you really looked.”
Equally, if you’re under 30, there will be things you feel too young to tackle; too young to be taken seriously, too young to be wise, too young to create high art, too young to approach sophisticated partners.
See how nothing ever feels “ready” to tackle?
A question: If you’re a young writer, do you feel ready to win the Booker Prize? Probably not. You’d want to wait 10 or 20 years for that, am I right?
Well, in 2020, the Booker prize was won by a 29-year-old called Marieke Lucas Rijneveld. The youngest winner ever. Do you think they thought about being ready? Do you think they waited? Or did they just do the work?
Start before you’re ready
This is one of the greatest pieces of advice I’ve heard. It knocks the wind out of resistance, kills imposter syndrome, it allows you to open your mind and learn.
The sooner you stop judging your age and focus on improving, the sooner you’ll create the life you want.
You’re not too young, you’re or too old, you’re you.
The resistance – the bullshit story you keep telling yourself about why you can’t be something – never stops going in your head. You simply have to ignore it.
Even now I feel too old to be advising young readers whilst simultaneously feeling too inexperienced to dish out advice.
People will fight for their limitations more than they’ll ever fight for their dreams or potential.
It isn’t time. It’s fear.
It isn’t your age. It’s trepidation.
It’s isn’t difficulty. It’s laziness.
I believe the universe will give you anything you want, but you have to show it you want it. You have to show it you're willing to put in the work.
Hesitating to act because of age, timing, fear – or any other excuse – shows only that you don’t want it enough.
Someone asked me the other day “What is the difference between a winner and a loser?” I thought about it and realised it comes down to this:
Losers blame and make excuses. Winners take responsibility and learn to grow.
It has nothing to do with failure, it's to do with growth.
Playing up to other people’s expectations of your age — or any other immutable characteristic — is living your life to group-think standards. Embrace your white belt status and start learning.
In ‘The Rudest Book Ever’ it says:
“Those who are able to find out what they want to do in life chase after greatness to prove to themselves that they are great at what they do. With time, they realise they don’t need anybody’s approval, as doing what they want to do gives them purpose, and fulfilling that purpose gives them satisfaction and a meaningful life.” - Shwetabh Gangwar
Don’t wait your life into oblivion. Time will not wait with you. Act now and embrace the learning, the growing, the rewards.