Talking about what you want to do almost feels as good as doing it. Dreaming, planning, imagining.. it all feels good. Doing it? Not so good. I once read a whole book on quitting caffeine while drinking coffee. I liked learning about all of the possible benefits, how you do it, etc. I’ve ready plenty of books and articles on running — all while sitting on the couch.
It’s only when we do the thing we’re talking about that we have any chance of getting the actual benefit. We know this. And yet. Why do we spend so much time thinking about or talking about the things we truly want but never actually pursue?
The pain. The inconvenience. The work. But maybe, mostly, the lack of belief. The problem is we are all so firmly stuck in our own perspective that it’s hard to reach for something we’ve never had. A runner’s life sounds good until we hit the cold air and feel our body fighting every step at first. But the thing that gets us through the investment of time, energy, money, and actual sweat is the belief in the possibility of having what we want.
Why don’t we believe enough?
Risk aversion. Experiences of failure. Discouragement from those we look to for permission. The list goes on. The deck is stacked not against our success, but against our belief. If we roll up our sleeves and get going, we could accomplish a lot of things. We could show ourselves all kinds of new things, find wonderful experiences and rewards, and grow. At the very least, we could learn. None of these things are out of our reach if we are actually reaching, but we are not.
Because there are so many barriers to belief. What if we disassembled them? What if we used our brains to systematically challenge the easy lies we tell ourselves and barred the door against the dream-thieves? For instance, sharing our plans with those likely to encourage us rather than those who don’t? Or spending time talking to those who have actually done what we want to do? You wouldn’t ask someone who’s never run a mile to advise you on marathon running. And yet we do it all the time with our hopes and dreams.
There is a saying that you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with. I don’t know how true this is — although when I spent my time with babies and toddlers, I definitely cried more freely and found my attention span shortening. But I do believe that if there are very few, or even no people in your life who are already in the place you want to go, you will have a much harder time believing it’s possible.
Without that belief, what will get you through the hard miles? The rainy days? The work of it?
If you do only one thing toward your dreams, let it be that you guard it from those who won’t understand it, who will judge it, who will discourage you in its pursuit. Bonus points if you can find someone who has done it, who sees it as attainable, and better yet who can lend you the road map.
Margie Wheelhouse helps women ditch the boring and pursue more exciting, engaged and interesting lives. To learn how this could apply to you, email for a consultation: firstname.lastname@example.org