In this month’s guest post from Joely Black of In These Heels? she explores the best ways to never accomplish anything.
A few years ago, I had a friend who was a hairdresser. We used to get together for chats, and I used to talk about what I wanted to do with my life, my dreams and ambitions. One day, she brought me one of those office posters that I’ve seen up in various places where I’ve worked.
It was entitled “How Not To Follow Your Dreams.”
It recommended that it was very important not to have any idea what you wanted in life, and if you did, to avoid it as much as possible. It was crucial never to mention to anybody what you were doing. It was best to stick to the safe road, in a job where you could never get any fulfilment and to avoid all chance of promotion.
But it missed out on one really crucial thing. The most important means to avoid your dreams.
Believe that there’s no way you could ever do it.
Think small. That’s how you make sure there’s no chance you’ll ever get anywhere near those damned dreams. Remind yourself every day that although you could go out there and change your life, well, it might take a bit of effort and there’s a risk there.
You want to make sure you keep reminding yourself of all the people you’ve never heard of that you’re sure have failed at things. Keep telling yourself that everything you’ve done that showed an ounce of courage or power was just a fluke.
Buy a really, really big TV, and spend all your evenings watching it. It’s important to avoid anything inspirational, informative or remotely educational when doing this. Make sure you watch a lot of the news. The news is great for reminding you what an awful place the world is and nothing is really worth doing.
It helps if you can keep reminding yourself of all the terrible things that might happen if you even consider the possibility of living your dreams. What if you screw it up? What if your friends start hating you for doing something different with your life? What if it gets in the way of all that vital TV watching time?
I was reminded of the reason why it’s important to think differently about yourself if you want to do anything big with your life this week. I’d been practising the fine art of thinking small.
In a very, very tough situation, with my back against the wall, I couldn’t see a way out. I went to friends for advice and support. One of my friends wrote back to me and told me off. She reminded me that I don’t need advice from other people.
What I need, more than anything else, is help to start thinking better thoughts. This is how we avoid our dreams most effectively. We start thinking about ‘just getting by’, about what we might be able to find out there rather than what we’ve got to offer.
It steals away our creative responses to life. It’s all very well to talk about just taking action, but before you can do anything you need a powerful drive behind it to make that action work. The key lies in how you think about yourself, and the stories you tell about who you are and how the world works.
So this is my advice. If you’re going to avoid your dreams with any effectiveness, you need to keep telling yourself over and over again it’ll never work out. Listen to all the negative people and stories you can find about failure and loss, keep thinking that you’ll never make it, that you don’t have the answer, and that you can’t do it.
That way, you’ll probably never even make it out of bed in the morning, let alone get anywhere near a dream.