For years and years, I found myself struggling with the future, not having any idea of what I wanted to do with my life.
But soon enough, I figured out what it was that I wanted. I wanted to travel. That was my first ambition.
I was tired of being told what I can and can’t do. I went against the norms of society and went after what I wanted. I have to say that I’m glad I failed school. It gave me the perfect opportunity to experience something that I truly loved doing, which was travelling around the world on a tight budget and backpack, interacting with the many locals and travellers and seeing how I fit among them, which is an experience I can never be more grateful for. I found my share of freedom and first sense of premature enlightenment. Though to this day, my task still remains unfinished. I still have a lot of the world left to cover, and despite that, I’ve also come to understand that travelling should not be the only goal. While it has helped open my heart and mind to new cultures and customs, and has awakened me to much more of what is going on, it has been an essential prerequisite in carrying out further, more important goals, such as helping people find their own fulfilment. When I see and speak to many faces, those of who travel alongside me and those who don’t, but struggle with poverty, homelessness or even people who have many expensive material possessions but have never found their calling, I have learnt that down to the core, we are all incredibly alike when it comes to the things that truly matter. As human beings, we want nothing more than true fulfilment.
I used to believe that my dream was impossible, thanks to the influence of society and those who believe said dream is unrealistic. Of course the most realistic life goal nowadays is said to be getting yourself a degree at university, a good career with solid income, a nice car and a house with a wife and four kids. While all these things are wonderful to have, they will not always fill the hole in your heart. I’d much sooner go without ever completing University and obtaining a degree, than I would without getting to do what I really wanted to in life. It is best to pursue your ultimate dreams when you are still young, happy and healthy. There is plenty of time for responsibilities. Life is no rush. I got to do all the things that I dreamed of because I chose to pursue that with the money I had saved instead of putting them towards future investments – a future that is still uncertain. I’m perfectly content with the way things are in my life, and I’m not going to spend any unnecessary time worrying about a future that might not even be on the right path for me. Live in the now, and go after your dreams, for with dedication you will achieve them. There are many ways to support yourself while travelling, and in fact it can work out to be cheaper than living at home paying your bills.
Many people think that once they have achieved their goal of finding a career job after studying hard for several years, they will become content and their lives will be fulfilled. This is not the case. This is very delusional, and a lot of the time, the outcome is disappointing. Life is a constant struggle regardless, so have something you want to aspire to, and go after that, even if the pay is not that great. Do something that you would be proud of, not what other people would be proud of. Live your purpose. I’d personally prefer to experience as much of this world as I can, for life is something not to be taken for granted by stacking up on material things that aren’t as important. The planet itself must be appreciated. Experience the world for what it truly is. Too many people give up on what they want the most, because they choose to follow a path that others set for them. Search it for yourself – only you can know what you want. For me, it is a journey of self-discovery, and fitting into the world on a spiritual level.
As it happens, Paulo Coelho is one of my favourite inspirational people. From reading his book ‘The Alchemist’, I’ve learnt some great philosophies and mindsets, and from my personal experiences, they work. They work a charm. Dedication is key. People give up for a number of reasons:
- We are told in our early childhood, or at some point throughout, that our dream is fantasy and not possible. As a result, we lose our dedication through growing up.
- We don’t want to hurt those who we love by going against their wishes.
- People are afraid of trying to pursue things that aren’t understood by the majority, and feel they need to “fit in” more.
- The fear of failure.
We are so used to the way things are, that we are blinded from being able to see and accept what our heart truly desires. And if we give it a try, and fail, we usually fall back on that excuse “Oh, well I didn’t really want it anyway”. We see it as impossible and hence, try to forget it and move on.
If we can first find the courage to pursue our dream, that is one step in the right direction. If you are afraid of hurting the ones you love by going on to pursue your dream, know this: True love doesn’t stop you from going forward. Those who truly love you, will want what’s best for you, and might even want to accompany you on your journey to self discovery. Some people will love you either way, but may not truly understand your choices – yet they will respect them.
Once you’re out there, in pursuit of your dream, don’t let yourself have any fear of being let down. This is when a lot of people give up, and by far it sounds to me like one of the silliest things, because this is usually when you’re at your closest point to succeeding. Then come the defeats. What many don’t realise is that our defeats along the way are stepping stones, depending on how we interpret them. Defeats happen for a reason, and they give you the necessary experiences it takes for you to take things further. Experience is valuable; it teaches you what you need to know, and shapes you into who you are. Sometimes, you need to fail first, in order to succeed. Fall down seven times, and stand up eight times as the Japanese would have said it. Everything happens for a reason.
No doubt that you may suffer at points throughout your journey, but if you’re able to achieve your dream, you will have done something to be proud of, and that alone makes it all worth the achievement. What could you regret? People can live their entire lives not knowing true fulfilment, but the truth is there is more than enough potential.
The potential alone makes life interesting. Go for it. You’re going to learn many things about yourself, and of the world as you progress. And where you fall, take a step up. When you want something, go and get it. When you’ve discovered your purpose in life, make sure you take the right steps and don’t act too late.