(This essay was not secretly written in Pirate-speak!)
“Did you know that there is a million bucks hidden in the house next door?”
“But there is no house next door.”
“No? Then let’s go build one!”
There is a lie of omission which has fucked up the lives of many a creator and entrepreneur, and it’s a very popular lie.. It happens whenever anyone says, “Follow your dreams!” and doesn’t add “…repeatedly, because the first several attempts are very likely to fail”.
It’s absolutely true that most people with dreams need encouragement – lots of encouragement.. It’s scary and difficult to try to break out of where you are, and do something new, especially if it’s something that few people, or no people, have ever done before.. And you should absolutely support your local dreamer, but–
But frequently, a large part of that support comes in a “certificate of attendance”-style – “Hey, that’s great, you have dreams! Definitely follow them! Go for it!” Because that’s what we get told – “Tell people to follow their dreams”.. Because we love that tale – we love the story of the person who has the courage and vision to dream big, and who tries to make those dreams real, and who finally succeeds against all odds.
Do you actually know anyone who’s had that experience? I don’t.. Having the skills, and the knowledge, and the infrastructure to create something successful your first time – is rare.. And most of the time, some of it is something not easily distinguishable from luck – the right idea at the wrong time seldom succeeds.. And sure, there’s something in knowing when the time for something is right.. But there’s also the good fortune of being around at a moment when your idea can find acceptance.
How do you assure that your dream will come true, then, if you don’t have tons and tons of experience, knowledge, and resources?
You don’t… At least, not to start… Not the first iteration of that dream.
What you can do is be ready.. Not “ready to fail” – don’t defeat yourself before you start.. But “ready for what happens”.. If what you have is success, fantastic! If what you have isn’t success – then, tell me, what will you do to succeed next time?