Be Fearless in the Pursuit of Your Dreams

“Don’t ask for guarantees. And don’t look to be saved in any one thing, person, machine, or library. Do your own bit of saving, and if you drown, at least die knowing you were heading for shore.”

Ray Bradbury

Whenever I am faced with the negative psychological side-effects of previous failure, I inevitably remember the way they famously train elephants in circuses.

All it takes is a rope around the animal’s neck and a pole planted in the ground. They tie a baby elephant against the pole. The baby elephant will try to walk away, only to figure out that they’re not strong enough to break free.

Yes, they will fight, for a while, but they will eventually understand that they can’t break free.

And, even as the elephant grows large enough to probably tear down the entire tent, they never even try to break free.

We are like this in more ways than we’d like to admit.

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Don’t Turn Your Back on Mental Discomfort

What often stands in the way of our dreams and goals is an innate, biological reaction to anything unknown, anything that might get us killed, hurt, or rejected by others.

In short, the lizard brain.

Not only do we turn our backs on fear, but we also tend to rationalize it in such a way that it makes it seem like nothing happened.

In order to avoid mental pain, we come up with the most bizarre excuses possible.

I don’t have a driver’s license because I don’t like to drive. Truth is, I never believed I could save enough money to buy a car, so I rationalized myself out of mental discomfort.

The truth? I was afraid.

So what can I do about fear? Not in a temporary manner, but rather in a way that changes me from the inside and transforms my life?

It’s simple. I should make it my aim to never turn my back on mental discomfort.

Life is pain, and I should accept it and even learn to appreciate the moments of fear and discomfort as they allow me to better myself.

The game of life is simple: we either venture into the center of our fears, and we grow, or we turn our backs on fear, and we stagnate or worse.

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The Art of The Hustle

Today’s culture is saturated with articles, clever memes, and podcasts that idolize terms like “grind” and “hustle.”

Personally, I believe that assuming the responsibility to work hard for your dreams is one of the key elements of success, but at the same time, it’s equally important that we understand how to work, why we are doing the work, and what price we’re paying for the time and energy we invest in the work we do.

I am writing these words as my girlfriend is getting dressed for us to go out. I woke up 4 hours before her, after only 5 hours of sleep, in order to write my articles, edit them, and schedule them to be posted.

I woke up long before the sun was up in order to reply to my e-mails, check my stats, and figure out the day’s strategy.

I’m all about the grind. Always was. Mental laziness has this strange side-effect on me; it makes me anxious to the point of wanting to jump off a building.

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You’re Not Supposed to Love What You Do

If I had a dollar for every time someone told me how lucky I was to be doing what I love…

Look, do what you love, love what you do, follow your passion, all of it is terrible advice. It just is.

We often struggle to figure out if we truly love doing something or we just love the idea of it or the rewards we imagine.

And that’s why it gets tricky.

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Instead of Killing Myself, I Wrote a Story

The very surreal feeling of wanting to end your life, especially in the loud chaos of a bustling city — a city with people and lights and billboards and cars chasing one another all day and night, headed for nowhere in particular.

The burning sensation that crawls up and down your skin as you contemplate not having to hold the world on your shoulders anymore.

The chaos, the commotion, all these perfect strangers. Motion, commotion. Emotion.

I wanted to kill myself, but instead, I sat down to write:

I keep a small revolver tucked under my pillow. Every morning, I wake up and grab the little device and turn it on all sides. I inspect it as if its power of destruction could be easily comprehended.

Sometimes I press the barrel to my right temple. My index finger curled around the trigger, I close my eyes and count to ten. Of course, the gun’s never loaded.

Nevertheless, it makes you think.

You see, this is the only power we have. True freedom, as I like to say, comes from the realization that you can kill yourself any time you want.

Sunlight slipping through the heavy curtains, casting red dots on the walls, I can feel my blood boiling inside my body. My heart beats like a fist inside my chest; the metallic coolness of the gun infects my skin.

Loaded or not, it doesn’t matter.

I’m ready to pull the trigger. I want to see God and ask Him a million questions. I press the gun to my chest and take a deep breath. “This is not my life.”

We all die and there’s nothing terrifying or great about it.

“This isn’t a life worth living.”

The gun pressed hard against my chest, right where the heart should be, I pull the trigger. That’s when I can open my eyes. That’s when I can smile. When I can feel alive just because I could’ve and yet I didn’t.

Every morning I wake up and die.

“True freedom, as I like to say, comes from the realization that you can kill yourself any time you want.”

My character’s name was Paul. A painter. An artist. The burden of his own creative genius, the pain of ideas and dreams and hopes turning to rust and stardust.

That’s why I called this story, Dream City. We often forget that nightmares are dreams too.

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