How to Defy Gravity

“The closer he got to the realization of his dream, the more difficult things became.”

    – from The Alchemist, by Paulo Coelho

As I come close to the end of my second year working on my novel, I’ve come to notice something pretty shocking about the entire process. Logically, you would think that the longer one endeavors to make a dream a reality, the easier this endeavor becomes.

But I’m finding that this isn’t true. In fact, I’m finding that the complete opposite is true: the more you work to make your dreams a reality–the harder it gets. It’s as if, in pursuing one’s passion, in answering one’s calling, you set off a switch in the universe. That switch sets of an alarm that sends a vibration through the world and alerts some mysterious force. This mysterious force then rushes over to wherever you are located in the world, and then begins to work on you, pressing down on you, harder than all the rest.

The Closer You Get To Realizing Your Dream, The More Difficult Things Become

For those who do not live in the realm of pursuing and realizing dreams, the journey is relatively smooth. Unfortunately, those who put off their dreams are not aware of this fact. (If they did they might go about their day more relieved.) The small hills and valleys they face seem like mountains and gorges to them–because small hills and valleys are all they are familiar with. But the dreamers, and the pursuers of dreams, we leave the world of small hills and valleys, and enter a world where all that exists is one big mountain we must climb–a harrowing landscape that only gets higher and more daunting the more we climb it.

The higher we climb, the more gravity pushes us down. The more the air becomes thin and harder to breathe. The more cold and isolated the journey gets. Looking down from this great mountain, from up this high, we now understand why people rarely journey this far in the pursuit of their dream. The higher you get, the more naked you feel. It is frightening. Dizzying. Tremendous.

This mountain we climb is the journey toward fulfilling our destiny. And no, it is not easy. And we are often reminded of why so many refuse to even begin this journey. Although others may see our great efforts to fulfill our dreams as admirable, little do they know what it takes to stay up here, so high, closer and closer to our dreams (and yet, in a strange, paradoxical sort-of-way, further and further away from them). Little do they know of all the cold, wet nights. Of all the few provisions we have on with us at all times. Or how we fear that, behind every corner we scale over, we might encounter a bear, or a tiger, that will eat us for lunch. We fear starving. We fear illness. We fear complete and utter abandonment. We fear death. Up here, we know we may be higher up, but we also know that being higher up and closer to our goal makes us more vulnerable. (The fall is greater from up here. People tend to forget that.)

What Do You Really Really Really Want To Do Today?

I often look back at these last two years and marvel at how much I have had to put up with in order to try to make my own simple dream of writing my fiction novel, and getting it published, a reality.  (I’m not talking about the writing part of the novel, I’m talking about the life part. How life always manages to get in the way of our work.) How I’ve managed to survive it all, I can only attribute to something bigger than me. How I continue to survive it all, I can only attribute to something bigger than me.

I would only be lying to you if I said the path to realizing your dreams gets easier the longer you’re on it. It doesn’t. It only gets harder.

That’s why you need to ask yourself this question, right now, before you even begin your journey:

Is this the dream I really want to make a reality? Is this the dream I really want to come true one day?”

Because the closer you get to the realization of your dream, the more gravity pulls you down. The more exhausted you become. The more isolated you feel. And, at that point, the only thing that’ll keep you going is if you still have that insatiable desire, down in your belly, to bring that dream into reality.

If you asked yourself the question above, and you find that you do have that insatiable desire, then you may proceed to pursue that dream. But if you don’t have that insatiable desire to pursue your dream, then you need some time to reflect about what it is you really want out of life.

Elizabeth Gilbert recommends you wake up every morning and ask yourself: “What do I really really really want to do today?” The fact that there are three “really’s” in that sentence is not a typo. It’s intentional. Because you really really really need to know the answer to that question before you begin the journey.

How to Defy Gravity

Very few of us really take up the journey to realizing one’s dreams. I know this because I often find myself looking around, searching for fellow travelers, only to find a handful of others who are taking up a similar path as me.

It is important to note that this path is not anything to be envious of. We are not “better off” than anyone else. No, the more real truth is that, for many of us dreamers, the path to realizing our dreams is our only hope. And that is why we pursue our dreams so relentlessly. That is why we will sacrifice and endure harsh climates and altitudes. That is why we will put up with the barrage of people who do not understand us and who look at us like we’re from another planet.

We don’t take up our adventure just because it’s fun to be on an adventure (although that’s an essential part of it). We take up our adventure because, in many ways, the adventure is us. The adventure is who we are, and to give up the adventure would be to give up who we are.

If we’ve made it this far on the path, it’s often only because the dream is our only hope. It is our one and only salvation. The dream is what saves us day-in and day-out. For many of us, to climb back down this high mountain, at this point, would only be to walk down into our graves.

We endure exhaustion, defeat, confusion, and isolation in pursuit of our wildest dreams because, somehow, we know that we were born to do this. We were born to defy gravity.

And that, I think, is the difference between those who can defy gravity, and those who don’t. Those who can’t defy gravity believe they are ill-equipped to do so. While those who can defy gravity know that, somehow, they were born to defy it and, in the process, inspire everyone else to do the same.

much love,

Ollin

How do you defy gravity? Or: how do you keep on trying to realize your dreams in spite of everything that gets in your way? Please share your wisdom with us in the comments below!

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50 comments on “How to Defy Gravity

  1. I had a song from Wicked running through my mind this whole post, and I love The Alchemist. This was an amazing post, as always.

  2. Do you read my mind Ollin? I was just thinking today at how much harder, not easier, things get. My courage has taken a beating. I need to think about this a little bit more, but it’s good to know it’s a normal part of the process.

    • Ollin says:

      Yes it is. You should read The Alchemist. It kinda gives a map of how a journey to accomplish your dreams plays out. My readers recommended it and I finally got to reading it. I love it.

  3. I like your reminder that it always seems to get harder–it’s encouraging because I think we naturally want to say “Whew! I crossed that milestone! Now it’ll be smooth sailing from here on out!” When that is never the case.

    “We take up our adventure because, in many ways, the adventure is us. The adventure is who we are, and to give up the adventure would be to give up who we are.”

    I identify a lot with that. It’s not that writing is the only thing I enjoy, it’s that I HAVE to write. It’s part of me.

    Thank you for the inspiring post.🙂

  4. Kari Scare says:

    Pursuing one’s passion can certainly be lonely place. Not everyone will always understand the passion that drives you. This is why you have to always know your “Why?”, and this has to be kept in front of you at all times. I love the line, “The higher you get, the more naked you feel.” Seems like the closer we get to realizing dreams, the more transparent and honest we are forced to become, and this is much like feeling naked. Change and growth are difficult, which is why most people resist them. But pushing through like you are is truly an inspiration. Keep pushing!

    • Ollin says:

      Thank you Kari!

      “Seems like the closer we get to realizing dreams, the more transparent and honest we are forced to become, and this is much like feeling naked”

      Love it!

  5. Nice post and I love the quote from Elise. It’s true, when we journey toward our dreams, we really are journeying toward our selves, and that journey never ends.

    In those moments when I want to just rail at life I try to remember ~ life will never give to us anything we’re unprepared for, although we may not always be ready. And if that’s the case, then life simply will bring to us the experiences and encounters necessary to get us ready. I know that everything I go through is but a piece for the master puzzle, although I may not know where it will fit in, it has a place somewhere.

    I’ve also discovered that in moments of serious questioning and doubt about my direction, life brings my path across others who inspire me or simply walk beside to help me continue on my way. For that I’m always eternally grateful.

    Keep on defying gravity Ollin!

    • Ollin says:

      “I’ve also discovered that in moments of serious questioning and doubt about my direction, life brings my path across others who inspire me or simply walk beside to help me continue on my way. For that I’m always eternally grateful.”

      Yes, you are right. That sort of thing happens, doesn’t it?

  6. Selena says:

    A perfect post for me today. My words of comfort to myself are ‘the joy is in the journey, not the goal’. Thank you!

  7. Cindy a.k.a. crichardwriter says:

    I loved this post. I was just reading an article by David Whyte where one of his gurus said “The antidote to exhaustion is not rest. The antidote to exhaustion is wholeheartedness”. This simple phrase inspires me to work through the exhaustion and to keep pursuing my passion because one day I’ll be able to make it past the point of exhaustion and experience exhiliration instead. Your article was the perfect reminder that it gets harder before it gets easier. I think it is just the Universe’s way of making sure that you really, really, really, really want it.

  8. This is a beautifully eloquent reflection, Ollin. I have had a couple big job offers recently that would have meant a huge life change and it has all come down to this idea of goals. What am I really going for? At this point in time, I don’t have one solid thing that I’m sure I really really really want to do today or in the future, but I look up to people who do. As I explore and solidify my own goals, I remember all the lessons I learn from people like you. Thanks for setting an amazing example. =)

  9. If it was easy, everyone would do it, and everyone doesn’t. But some days it feels like I can’t not do it.
    But I do want to remember to ask myself what I really really really… want (and don’t want.)
    Thanks

  10. Tracy says:

    Hi Ollin, Thanks for you post. I absolutely believe in routinely looking at yourself to understand where your heart is leading you. As I climb the mountain to my dreams, I stop on a ledge every once in a while to enjoy the view. I believe that the journey can be as valuable as the end product itself. This makes things just a little easier to process.

    • Ollin says:

      “As I climb the mountain to my dreams, I stop on a ledge every once in a while to enjoy the view. I believe that the journey can be as valuable as the end product itself.”

      Perfection. Are you listening readers?

  11. Ollin … Let me add to your shelf of virtual awards with my nomination of your blog for Virtual Blogger Award. I’ve truly gained a lot from reading your blog.
    Hopefully, I’m providing the right link: http://earth-rider.com/2012/01/16/the-envelope-please

  12. P. says:

    Dear Ollin,

    I have been reading your post on and off for a long time, and I have admired your ability to express profound concepts with engaging and accessible language.

    I have been in agreement with your insights for such a long time that I was really surprised today that I didn’t agree with this post about gravity. I think it sends the message that it will be tougher as you get closer to your goals, and I don’t believe that is always true. I think this could even be discouraging, and if things don’t work out, too much self-blame for “not wanting it enough.” There are other factors.

    For me, it has become easier. Not perfect, but easier. I have decades of hard work behind me, and while I continue to work hard, I have much more to show for it than ever before. Maybe it’s luck, and/or maybe experience makes me more effective.

    • Ollin says:

      You are welcome to disagree! But know that what I am talking about is not the writing part, but the life part of pursuing your passion.

      Also, I think each of my posts applies to people at different stages and different places of their journey. Each of us is unique, so this defy gravity post may not apply to you. I would recommend to just skip it if it doesn’t apply. I wrote a post about how to deal with panic attacks a while back, knowing not everyone would need that post, but using it to reach out to those who did.

      A person experiencing a panic attack may need advice that to others may sound discouraging but in fact is encouraging to them. It’s all in perspective. Good luck to you!

  13. Catherine Johnson says:

    WOW!!!

  14. […] Don’t forget to check out Ollin’s post; you can find it by clicking here – https://ollinmorales.wordpress.com/2012/01/16/and-you-cant-pull-me-down/ […]

  15. Ollin … As always, your insights are on target. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve put off that dream because I was convinced I hadn’t lived enough, travelled enough, read enough, etc. Once I realized these were all just self-imposed excuses, I started aiming for my goal. It’s not always easy, but the end result is well worth it.

  16. clarbojahn says:

    I have a book contract but that is all. My publisher is supposed to be handling the printing but can’t find someone to do it in the landscape mode of our book. Things look grim. I really really really want this book to be a reality.

    Short of praying I don’t know what else to do.

    • Ollin says:

      Congratulations! That’s amazing. Well, maybe just be grateful that you’ve gotten this far, and many haven’t? Good luck! Sending you my positive energy! Hope everything works out.

  17. spinx says:

    Ollin!

    Forgive me if my question has absolutely nothing to do with your topic——but if do not get it out right now, I might forget to ever ask!!

    Now…….I have been reading your lovely blog for a little over five months now. I know that you have been writing and re-writing your novel for a while now, I know that it is supposed to be a fantasynovel (am I right??), and——well—–appart from that, I actually don´t know much more.

    Now, as someone who is really interested in writing an adventure/fantasy piece, I´d like to ask one question that has been burning me up for quite some time now.
    Be prepared—-here it goes————————-

    How long did the research take you?

    • Ollin says:

      Well, its funny, I kinda did all the research for the book without knowing I was doing research for the book. It’s a long story, I suppose it would be better detailed in a whole post. But I would say about four years. But remember I wasn’t aware I was doing the research for the book, I just thought I was studying things that interested me. I mean, I WAS studying subjects that interested me, but later all that inspired the book itself. So I didn’t need to go back and do any more research. Sorry, not sure if that answer helps. I’m sure if you were focused and knew you were doing research for a book, it would take about a year.

      • spinx says:

        Ollin————-not only did that help, but it knocked me over with one very important little piece I have been missing this whole time!

        Seriously, this whole month has been full of relevations! I feel like a lot of the pieces are finally falling together.

        Back on topic, back on tpic—the research.
        Yes, yes and yes again! Along with your post on ideas that really just seem cool on first glance, but just don´t start the motor, this advice just now made me realize one thing. If I find myself researching researching what a toothbrush looked like 1956- and it actually interests me, then my idea is really going somewhere.

        I just found myself going back to a topic that I have tried last year, only then I just couldn´t get myself to do the research- now, a year later, but with a different idea in mind, the SAME things (same little details) suddenly interest me with a burning passion.

        Thanks, thanks, and thanks—–peace out ;T

  18. Graham says:

    Great post, Ollin. It’s amazing how resilient dreams of writing can be, isn’t it? I know that in my case, all evidence to the contrary, I was sure for decades (!) that writing was what I was meant to be doing – but somehow failing to do it on any regular basis. And, like many writers, I have a tendency to isolate and try to deal with ‘gravity’ alone. It’s wonderful – and vital – to encounter others who struggle in much the same way. Thanks for the boost!

  19. spinx says:

    And now, back to “defying gravity” thing.

    What I actually find terrifying, is not the main process itself- but the time in between working. When I am concentrated on my task, my thoughts have not much room to wander— but as soon as I am doing something else again, the doubts come crawling back.

    “Are you really good enough?”, “Is this really the way you should take?”,”What if I can make more money doing something else?”………..I am sure you will know them all by heart.

    One month ago, I came upon a sentence that read – “The best way to get distance between your own thoughts and the character, is to get as close as possible. Only half an inch should sepperate you from touching their skin.”-

    I found that little piece of advice more than helpful……..on so many levels.

    When I immerse myself in even more work, I hardly have any time or energy left to worry. When, at the end of the week, I know that I have truly given it my all——argh- it´s pure satisfaction.

    Most of the worry I used to spend on “Ahhhh…I should have worked harder…….now I have lost so much time already—-I will NEVER catch up now!”
    ———————————-

    In the end, it worked.
    And it will work in the future as well.

    Because, at the end of the day, I do not want to leave my dream to pure luck. I will work at it, hard, and earn every little bit of it.

    Best wishes ;O

  20. spinx says:

    WOW!

    My English really sucks!

    • Ollin says:

      Aw, don’t say that. This is just the comments section of a blog. No one’s writing shakespeare here, lol. It’s just to dialogue. Don’t be so hard on yourself.🙂

  21. Rosa says:

    Wow I can relate;-)
    I have been writing my book for two years now and I can only agree with you it gets harder and harder and now I am a woman obsessed with the final goal.
    I really don’t know how to quit and at the same time I don’t know when the book will be finished
    Now I just follow along, the book is still being written in my head even when I’m not writing, and at this point it consumes me, AND then you would think with all this obsession It would be easy to write it, no no no..

    Cheers from Denmark
    Rosa

  22. melanie says:

    Channeling my inner Elphaba with a beaming smile as I read this!

    Interesting synchronicity with your words is that only two days before receiving this post, my sister specifically said to me, “you’ve got to remember: you’re defying gravity.” Her words followed my complaint about how hard it is to stay on this writer track, even amid the rare gift of familial support and agent interest in a novel struggling to be born.

    Thanks, as always, Ollin, for words that once again I needed to read.

    • Ollin says:

      Writers are defying gravity: we live in a world that doesn’t respect the work the artists do as much as they should. Well some countries its very good, but in America not so much. The work ends up being an uphill battle in a world where people don’t really appreciate us. Good luck to you!

  23. javanesemind says:

    I do love this post! Yes, you’re right, “The higher we climb, the more gravity pushes us down.” I experience this. I have a dream to study in US, but I do realize that I’m still far away from it. But, who knows if we don’t try?
    I do believe that wherever I’m now, I can reach my destination. We can fly even when we’ve fallen for many times. ^^

    Love from Indonesia🙂
    Ratna

  24. […] ya-gotta-wanna-win-it-li’l-Johnny kind of advice (which, ironically enough, Ollin does put out every now and again). Yet I still worried about whether I was doing the right thing in writing a novel, whether I […]

  25. ~Lottie~ says:

    Very encouraging.. ◠‿◠

  26. Jackie Cangro says:

    What a great post! I am a fan of The Alchemist and that quote reminds me it’s time to re-read the book.

    And thank you for subscribing to my blog. I have yours in my RSS feed so I’ll get your latest posts instantly.

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