I’ve been collecting vinyl records for a long time, especially old records from artists like Bob Dylan, Townes Van Zandt, The Velvet Underground, Wu-Tang Clan, Nas, you name it.
I often go to an independent record store is owned by a great guy, who’s in his sixties. He used to be a musician. And for all of the years I’ve been visiting his store, there’s one story he has told me several times.
The story goes like this: “Did you know that I played with Townes Van Zandt in the 80s? He was such a great guy. Great musician. I wish I pursued my own musical career. Who knows what could have happened.”
Exactly — who knows?
Dealing with regret.
For most of us, there comes a moment in our lives when we decide to grow up.
And by growing up, I mean giving up.
And by giving up, I mean staying inside your little zone of safety. In your comfort zone, everything is predictable: No one makes fun of you, it’s pleasant—every day is the same.
What’s the point of staying there?
Don’t you think you will ever regret it? Because it’s only later in your life when you look back, and regret the things you didn’t do.
I always think there’s a chance this will be me in X years:
I wish I followed through on that business idea.
I wish I spent more time with the people I love.
I wish I wrote that book.
That’s why I work hard and chase my dream. The only thing I really fear is regret.
And I’ve met a lot of people who are just like me. But you know what they often say?
“I can’t follow my dreams because I can’t do it.”
Do you know that feeling?
“I don’t have the skills.”
“I don’t have the talent.”
So what? Did you know that talent is massively overrated? Research has proven that deliberate practice wins over talent.
Just read Peak by Anders Ericsson. That’s your research right there.
You don’t need talent, you need execution. In other words: You need to be effective. Only then can you achieve your dreams.
Peter Drucker put it best:
“Intelligence, imagination, and knowledge are essential resources, but only effectiveness converts them into results.”
I know extremely talented people who sit at home all day, playing video games. Talent is not a guarantee. A pretty sounding voice doesn’t make you Beyoncé. And being 7ft tall doesn’t bring you to the NBA.
I don’t care how talented, smart, good-looking, privileged you are, without execution and practice, you will never achieve your dreams.
Success is a habit. And a habit is a system of practices.
And practices can be learned.
This is what Peter Drucker says about habits and practices:
“Practices one learns by practicing and practicing and practicing again.”
It’s the same thing that Jason Fried wrote about in 2009 in an article called: “Making money takes practice like playing the piano takes practice”.
Yup, everything is a skill.
Got a dream? Learn the skills you need to execute.
“I’m not a risk taker.”
Some people believe that, in order to “make it,” you have to take ridiculous risks.
But if you read a lot of biographies of successful people, or if you know successful people, you will find out that they are in fact chickens compared to the images we have of them.
You know, a chicken is someone who’s afraid.
Take Richard Branson, who is certainly not a chicken, but he is someone who doesn’t propagate risk.
His motto is “Screw It, Let’s Do It.” But in his autobiography, Losing My Virginity, he admits that he doesn’t like to take stupid risks. He says:
“It is only by being bold that you get anywhere. If you are a risk-taker, then the art is to protect the downside.”
Chasing your dreams is not about taking risks, it’s about being brave.
How? It’s not rocket science. You learn to be brave by trying and not being afraid of failure.
Sometimes you make a bold move, and it doesn’t turn out the way you want. And that’s okay because it’s a part of saying “screw it, let’s do it”.
To chase, or not to chase? That’s the question.
I don’t know much. But I know one thing: Chasing dreams requires some serious “outside of comfort zone” stepping.
Look, you don’t HAVE to chase your dreams. There’s nothing wrong with that.
Just don’t complain about how boring and mundane your life is. The practicality of life always catches up with you, no matter what you do.
Yes, you have bills to pay. Yes, life is hard. And yes, one day you will die.
Those things will never change.
Or maybe you’re waiting for the “right” time. What does that even mean? It’s just an excuse. It’s NEVER a good time to step outside your comfort zone.
Or, instead of making all of those excuses, you can decide to chase your dream.
In that case: Be bold. If you succeed, great. But if you don’t, say “screw it,” and start again.
So what are you waiting for? Chicken?!