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Should You Follow Your Dreams or Be Realistic: How To Decide?

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Maybe you’ve been thinking about it for years: is it better to pursue your passion or be realistic and settle with a regular job?

It’s time to find out the answers – but, before we do that, we need to ask some more specific questions.

asian girl in beige blouse with question marks in the background

Is It Possible to Follow Your Dreams?

When you ask a broad question like this, the answer you get is simple as well – absolutely.

But when you get more specific like wanting to finally start your dream business, things can get a bit more complicated than a simple yes or no.

Let’s rewrite the question then: is it possible to follow your dreams the exact way you’ve imagined them? Probably not.

It’s like when you believe all those romantic-comedy scenarios are possible in real life. Sure, amazing stories happen all the time, but we don’t always have happy endings in reality.

It’s more like a bunch of ups and downs together with the way we perceive them.

Also, when we fantasize about our dream job, all we see is a romantic picture with a good salary, flexible working hours, finally doing something that fulfills us, etc.

It’s really easy to pick your dream, people do it all the time. However, not everyone is ready to pick the struggle that comes with it.

Lots of boring paperwork, unpredictable costs, failures, certain ideas that won’t pay off, feeling lost, and many other stressful things: these are definitely things we don’t imagine when thinking about our dreams.

However, the reality is still there. That’s not something that should stop you from chasing your dream, it only means you need to be strong and prepared for a wide palette of emotions and things that can happen.

african american woman daydreaming with a green wall and plants in the background

Should I Give Up On My 9-5 Job?

Some motivational speakers tend to advise people to quit their jobs so they can follow their dreams and finally live the life they want.

They claim the regular job is just holding you back and takes away the precious time you could use to build something on your own.

This is partly true, because a full-time job definitely takes a lot of time, effort, and energy.

On the other hand, there’s another side of life that includes bills, loans, food, a car, and all other regular costs that don’t really care about your dream.

Would you be able to quit your job and possibly not have a salary for the next couple of months?

If you’ve saved enough money so you could live for at least six months without any new income, then, sure, why not? You can use that time to take a rest and work on your ideas.

Realistically, most of us can’t afford not receiving an income for that long, which is why it’s better not to give up on the option of having a regular job and stable income.

If you’re new at implementing ideas from your head into the real-life framework, be aware you need some time to determine how quickly you can finish your tasks, if it’s going to pay out, etc.

When you don’t have a regular salary, you’ll have bigger pressure to make your dreams profitable as soon as possible.

But when you know that part is covered, you have more time to work on the quality of your product.

man in suit resignation

What If My Job Is Toxic?

When you fantasize about your dream job, it’s natural you’ll be irritated by your real-life job even more.

Don’t fall for that because a dream job can have many negative sides and stressful things on its own. As a matter of fact, having a job you don’t like can be a rather good motivation to change things.

Not radically, of course; as said before, try to be sensible if you need the money.

You can develop your ideas after finishing your regular work.

Of course, it may not be easy because the day has only 24 hours, and there are many things that need to be done. However, it’s a good way to test if you’re really motivated to pursue your passion.

Take an hour per day to work on your idea. That can help you decide if you like it as a hobby or a part-time job.

Then again, maybe you’ll realize you really want to do it full-time and become even more motivated to turn it into a source of regular income.

caricature of a man and the words toxic work environment written on a yellow notebook

Can I Be a Good Boss?

Lots of people have a pretty romantic image of having a dream job and being your own boss.

That way, they only see the benefits such as (potentially) good money, the ability to work from wherever you want, and an option of building something on your own.

Of course, those are all things that can come true – but not “just like that.” When you have a 9-5 job, there’s someone telling you what to do.

Even when you don’t feel like working, you know there are deadlines and your supervisors so you’ll make yourself finish the tasks within a given time.

On the other hand, no one is going to do that when you’re on your own. You can turn off the alarm clock, stay in bed for a few more hours when it’s cold outside, or simply skip work when you’re not in a good mood.

However, those things come with a price, which means you won’t make a progress and you’ll lose money.

How good are you with disciplining yourself?

Can you trust yourself as a boss that will be encouraging enough to motivate your worker (which is, once again, you) to finish all the tasks from the to-do list?

Not everyone can do it. If you’re not a disciplined type of person, that doesn’t mean you can never be – but you have to be honest with yourself and decide if you’re really ready to work on that.

self discipline

What If I Try And Fail?

Does this idea scare you? Good, it should because that means you care about your dreams.

Failures are scary, but we can’t avoid them. All we can do is learn how to handle them. In the beginning, it will be hard and really demotivating. However, through that, you have a chance to learn how to deal with them.

Failures are inevitable when you leave your room and decide to live your life.

From the moment when you get up from your bed, something bad can happen. Still, it’s not a reason to stay there the entire day.

What If I Don’t Have a Plan?

Well, that means it would be a good time to make it, don’t you think? The only way to turn the idea into your dream business is to rationalize it – which is why you make a plan.

Put all of your ideas on paper, no matter how silly they might sound at that moment. The more things you write down, the clearer that entire idea is going to be.

Find people you can ask about things that interest you and gather all the valuable information you can get.

woman with brown sweater writing on a notebook with her phone and glasses on a wooden table

What If My Parents Were Right And I Really Can’t Make Enough Money Doing What I Love?

Parents are right with many things they tell their children, true. Some people may say you’ll succeed, while others will claim you won’t.

Someone will be right and someone will be wrong. But it’s up to you to find out who is who.

However, things are not that simple in life. People that love you want you to be safe.

But ‘safe’ is not quite equal to ‘happy’. As long as your idea about a dream job lives only in your head, their opinion is based on theory.

When you’re brave enough to get out of your head and try to actually do something, then you’ll know the answers you’re looking for.

Maybe you won’t make enough money so you’ll let your dream be just a hobby. Maybe you’ll earn a lot of money but you’ll realize you’re not happy when you work all day, so you’ll try it balance it some other way.

Either way, it’s important to try – all other scenarios are just guesses.

Some Final Words

People often define ‘dream vs. reality’ as ‘perfect vs. horrible’. It’s more a choice between fantasy and real life.

Fantasy is a perfect scenario where nothing can actually go wrong, and even if it does, you imagine yourself strong enough not to fail at all. Its bad side is it can’t happen anywhere but in your head.

Real life brings excellent scenarios and jobs where you’ll feel fulfilled, satisfied, and able to really give your best.

However, it’s full of ups and downs and has one pretty simple rule – if you can’t handle its worst, then you don’t actually deserve its best.

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