“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.
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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