This is the question I’ve been wondering about for the last few weeks.
I’ve found a paradoxical answer. Which is good because life is full of paradoxes and absurdities and such answers usually tend to be right. But before I tell you the answer, let me tell you more about my personal situation right now.
Two years ago I decided to chase my dreams. That decision wasn’t based on courage. It was based on a strange mix of stupidity and stubbornness. But the fact is that I did make that decision two years ago.
Two years ago I was a struggling freelance writer and I’m still a struggling freelance writer. At first I said to myself, “hang in there kid, persevere and sooner or later you’ll find success.” Which is good advice except for one tiny little detail. Becoming a successful freelance writer was never my dream!
My dream was to become a self sufficient writer/musician who made just enough from his art to get by and got to live his life exactly the way he’s always dreamed.
Then where did this freelance writing stuff came in?
It snuck in, riding on the fear of having no money and the doubt of not being good enough.
You see, two years ago I made a life changing decision but even at that moment I gave into fear and chose the relatively easier way. I told myself that I should first try to become a successful freelance writer so that I can be financially secure and later I can try to chase the dream of becoming a writer.
If this sounds perfectly reasonable and practical to you, then read on carefully.
I too thought this was a reasonable way to move ahead but here’s the deal.
You know what it takes to become a successful freelance writer?
Sincere hard work over a very long time.
Let’s say I did that and became a successful freelance writer. What have I gained?
Financial security and maybe a few writing skills.
What have I lost?
Time. The most precious thing in the world.
Not only that, since freelance writing is not my dream, I’d find it much harder to work hard. I might not even succeed at all because it’s not my passion.
What’s the point of doing this halfheartedly for a long time and then have to start all over again on my original dream?
If financial stability is what I want, then why struggle to be a freelance writer when I can always go back to sailing and earn money much more easily? It just doesn’t make sense.
And yet, that’s what I’ve been doing for two years. Recently I realized that I was just trying to delay having to commit fully to my dreams. All because of fear. So I wondered how I could find the courage to take this leap of faith.
After many weeks of contemplation and agony I’ve come to the conclusion that I can’t find that courage.
Here’s the paradoxical answer to the question;
How do you find the courage to chase your dreams?
You don’t. But you do it anyway.
You’ll never be completely confident. You’ll always feel afraid and nervous and anxious. You’ll have doubts. But if you ever want to fulfill your dreams then you must face all these bad feelings and do it anyways.
Just take the plunge. The leap of faith is called so for a reason. You have to take it without a single strand of confirmation that you’ll be alright. You have to take that plunge completely based on your faith that as long as you stay true to yourself, things will work out.
I believe from the deepest core of my being that any man can do anything he sets his mind to. Therefore I can be a writer and musician and creator and storyteller and make enough money to support myself as long as I set my mind to it. And that’s what I’ve decided to do. I’m taking the plunge.
I feel anything but courageous right now. I feel a lot like Ellen Page in this video.
A few days ago Ellen Page came out of the closet and announced to the world that she was gay. If you watch this video you can feel how scared and nervous and emotional she is. You wouldn’t think that this is what courage looks like but still the video will leave you inspired to be courageous and more honest about who you really are.
You don’t need courage to chase your dreams. You just have to take that plunge. It is scary and exciting. The paradox is that when you do take that plunge, without waiting for courage, you end up being courageous.
Courage is being afraid but doing it anyway. (Tweet this)
What are you scared of? What would you do if you had courage? Find out that part of your life and just do it anyways. Don’t wait for courage. Just do it. When you do, you would have been courageous.