Throughout the years, I have always attempted to make the most of every moment, or at least as much as my current situation would allow (dreams still exist in the realm of reality after all.) Nevertheless, it wasn’t until I was twenty-four that I really set out upon my first real journey towards fulfilling my dreams. Since then, I have written a screenplay for a feature film and rewritten several others, created a television show, appeared on television several times, been involved in a well-known musician’s world tour, been involved in another’s two North-American tours, helped build a successful clothing label, as well as, written and created for several others, created four businesses, worked in philanthropy, travelled the world, lived in other cities, and even absurdly, been a guest at a prince’s birthday party.
Why mention any of this? Well, as you will see when you arrive at the second lesson, I am not gloating. Rather, I am wishing to simply express that these were my dreams at the time they were pursued and I was able to achieve them. Everyone dreams differently, which is such a beautiful thing, and in many ways, what I am attempting to illuminate here. The things I learned by walking these many, but similar paths, would eventually lead me to discover my own truth. So, in many ways, they were only precursors to revealing my true dream. That being said, had I never begun the pursuit of each of those in the first place, I would likely never have arrived at that dream, which is of course, No Years Lost. In essence, to create something that would allow others to more easily pursue their own dreams because what I had discovered while pursuing those earlier dreams was that what I really loved most was helping others achieve their dreams through creativity.
As for me, I wouldn’t change a thing, because had one thing been different, I would never have arrived at that truth. I made many mistakes over those years and many times over, which if I had been able to avoid, would have made my own journey much less difficult. These lessons are implicitly built into the functionality of No Years Lost and in many ways became its foundation. Nonetheless, I believe it is important to think consciously about such things, and so here are those lessons.
1. Live Your Truth
This is perhaps the most difficult thing to do. At present, and throughout most of your journey, until you near the very end, you will have few believers, if any. This is especially true at the beginning of your journey, where you will likely discover you are the only one who can envision what you are trying to achieve. More so, you will encounter many naysayers, those who wish to see you fail or are perhaps too narrow-minded to share your vision.
Do not get discouraged. Do not deviate. Believe in the dream and envision yourself already there. I am not talking about some new-age voodoo shit, which by its very existence is necessitated by the unreal. I am talking about confidence. There is nothing more attractive. The more confidant you are, not only in yourself, but also, your dream, you will experience an almost gravitational pull of likeminded individuals, supporters, and believers. Ergo, you must believe in yourself first.
This leads to one final point; make sure you are doing it for yourself. If you are pursuant of something, simply to prove yourself or something to others, you will be exposed immediately. More so, you will be incapable of achieving it anyway for lack of belief. If you find yourself here, go back to the beginning.
2. Show Humility
The lesson is old, and yet, easily forgettable. If you will remember previously, I said, “confident,” not, “cocky.” You might have forgotten this already. In Greek mythology we are told the story of Icarus, who with wax wings, flew too closely to the sun, inevitably, they melted, and he was swiftly returned to the unforgiving ground beneath.
The journey to fulfillment is long. Subsequently, it is easy to get carried away with those first gains. Ego has this nasty tendency of getting in the way of clarity, oftentimes clouding ones motivations when making important decisions, and to be certain, every decision along the path to fulfillment is an important one. A misstep here can take you years off course and away from your destination.
Moreover, cockiness to most people is generally off-putting. When you arrive at the next lesson, you will find it will have been especially important to have shown humility along the way, because you never know whom you might encounter that you might need to call upon at some point.
3. Ask For Help
Don’t be afraid to ask for help. The saying is old but as true as the first time it was uttered, “If it was easy, everyone would do it.” Most people, or at least most people that are worth calling upon for help, will understand that whatever dream you are undertaking, regardless of scope, is personally very difficult.
It is easy to assume, nobody will understand, or that since it is your dream, you are the only person that could possibly have the answers. This would be false. Sometimes we are pulled so deeply into the pursuit of the dream that we get tunnel vision and are unable to see things that others might.
Additionally, going back to ego, if we are struggling along the way, we are often afraid of being exposed as a failure. This is untrue. You will find there are many willing people out there, so long as you follow lesson two, that will make themselves available for help without passing any judgment. If they belong to the sort that do, you shouldn’t be asking for their help anyway. You should be able to separate between the two. You might even find, through collaboration and community, that you gain a new believer.
Lastly, you needn’t even ask for help that is specific to your dream. The journey can be very taxing in ways that are mentally, physically, and financially draining to the rest of your life, obtaining help in alleviating any of these pressures, will make your journey much less difficult, and therefore, much more rewarding.
4. Be Dependable
Pursuing your dreams takes a considerable amount of time and energy. It is easy to find yourself overburdened as it were. In such cases, it is best not to take on more commitments. Those close to you will have more leeway than those who are not, either way, a simple, “no,” is always more respectable than an unmet, “yes.” You would be surprised how much respect, “no,” carries.
Sometimes, the belief is that you might be missing out on an opportunity of sorts. Use your best judgment as this may be true. Still, if you have the slightest doubt that you will be unable to fulfill the additional commitment, whether you think it will be valuable to you or not, do not do it, it will be a net loss, for that particular opportunity, those involved, and importantly, your dream.
The caveat to this of course is that you still need to enjoy the moments along the way, take the time to do so. Whatever you find fulfilling, even if it is outside of your dream, is of great value. You might even find that such a departure provides new insights or ignites new fires.
5. Find A Mentor
This is perhaps the most important lesson. As I mentioned earlier, everyone dreams differently, which is not to be taken as, everyone’s dream is different. You might think you are alone in this. That no one ever could possibly see or understand your vision. That it is so unique. That you are so unique, that it is impossible anything like it ever existed before. Don’t be stupid. Everything comes from something. There has at one point in time existed at least some variation of the world you are wishing to create.
A strong mentor will not only provide many narrower lessons that I could not outline here because they are more specific to your dream, but also, provide inspiration, insight, and challenge you to go even further than you had previously thought possible or considered. You will wish to outgun them as it were, and they will not only be okay with this, but will encourage it.
As you will see, the relationship tends to become equally rewarding for the mentor. They will benefit from you in as many ways and for someone who has walked a similar path before you, having arrived at that beautiful end; they will have great contentment in helping guide you there. You will also learn from them that once they reached that end, they found they could not stop, they wished to go further, and ultimately, wished to have companionship.
Beware however, the imitator. You might encounter those along the way that appear as mentors, but have little interest in mentorship. If you sense an ulterior motive, then run like hell. These people are only there to take and exploit. You will know if you have found an authentic mentor or not, when all they wish to do, is focus on your dream or shared interests.
Lastly, your mentor needn’t be alive, or necessarily within reach of a personal relationship. Learn about these people, understand them, unearth their journey, their beliefs, their challenges, and then, one-up them. They would have wanted it that way.
I would have loved to get pissy on some Moët and Alizé with Biggie and talked about his process and inspiration behind Sky’s the Limit, but some things, really are just outside of the realm of reality. Either way, he left this behind for all of us, and isn’t that the dream?
Sky is the limit and you know that you keep on,
just keep on pressin on.
Sky is the limit and you know that you can have
what you want, be what you want.
Good luck on your journey and when you meet that beautiful end, let us know what it looks like from there.
No Years Lost,
A Young Giant