9 Reasons Why We Find it Tough to Dream Big

Ikigai - A Japanese Concept Meaning 'A Reason for Being.' from Weforum.org
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Doing what you love, and dreaming big is, well, complicated.

How do we trust what we are going after will be something in the end that we really want?

How do we know it’s the right dream?

And why is it so hard for some of us to find out what it is we dream of doing? Why does the idea of dreaming big scare me so much?

Worrying about dreaming big and stepping out of your comfort zone is the surest way to keep you from moving forward and trying something new with your life.

Trying to dream big without looking at the challenges that you face and deciding that you will go around them as they arise is like jumping into a moving river without knowing your level as a swimmer and without understanding the river’s depth, flow and where the current will take you.

But here’s the thing:

Trying to change your life and go after your big dream takes guts and an understanding of why it can be hard, then accepting that fact and deciding to do it anyway.


9 Reasons Why Big Dreaming is Hard~


1. It’s Difficult To Know What You Want

The toughest part about going after a big dream is the process pushes you to explore who you really are at your core. This inner exploration is tough for many people and quite often, not much fun.

“Do you know what you want out of your life?” is the first question you need to ask yourself when you aspire to dream big. It’s a daunting question that people don’t often know how to answer and if they do answer this question they tend to state what they DON’T WANT from life over of what they DO WANT.

Dreaming big is basically about being willing to test yourself in order to find out who you are and what you are capable of creating. And you need to know what it is that you want.

Have you ever listed all the things you love to do and see if there is a similar thread running through them? Do you remember all the things you liked to do as a child? Do you remember why? Do you remember how certain playtime activities felt as a child?  Have you been able to recreate these feelings anywhere in your adult life? These “feelings” you had during “playtimes” offer clues into what you enjoy.

2. You’ve Been Told What To Be

You’ve been told what to do with your life for so long that it’s hard to know what it is you really want. When we were kids, adults were serious people, who worked to pay the bills.

You know, money doesn’t grow on trees . . .

As kids, we didn’t work for the most part, but we did have to go to school, which is really a watered-down form of work to prepare us for the “real” work world. As much as we may have disliked school, our parents felt their work was more difficult, and we kids had it easy.

It’s a cycle I hear over and over: “When is my child going to get a j-o-b?” And if the kid has a job he loves, I often hear the parents say, “When is he going to get a r-e-a-l job?”

Just get a job we’re told, be responsible–forget about loving it. Love your career if it is stable and has good benefits.

Sound familiar?

3. Dreaming Big Requires Change

Let’s face it, change is hard. Have you ever heard the phrase, “Better the Devil you know than the Devil you don’t”? Meaning, most people feel it’s better to live with something awful, rather than change to the unknown and risk having it be worse than awful–if that’s possible. We are intimidated by the unknown.

This is coupled with the fact that we’re too often motivated to change by only when we experience fear, regret, or guilt. Experts who study behavior change agree that long-lasting change is most likely when it’s self-motivated and rooted in positive thinking. (Source: Harvard Women’s Health Watch).

Change is a process, not a one-time event. Getting comfortable with change is a big dream requirement.

4. You Feel You Lack the Support You Need

You lack the necessary support you need to feel comfortable in researching what it is you love to do and want from your life. Maybe you feel like there’s no time to go after your dream due to family obligations.

Sometimes it’s the people closest to us who don’t want us to change, so you may have a situation where someone you love doesn’t help you make time for your big dream or ridicules you when you begin to step outside your comfort zone.

Maybe there are people in your life who when something good happens to move you forward on your big dream journey, they find some way to turn your triumph into something negative. It’s hard to stay strong and committed to that environment. This is why I stress the importance of finding a group that can support your efforts. There’s Meetups, Social Media groups, online websites with forums–there are so many places to find support without ever having to leave your computer.

5. You’re Not Sure of What You Value

You feel a little lost with pursuing a big dream because you don’t really know your values. Ask yourself: “What do I really value?” Is it time? Money? Freedom? Fun? Hard work? If you value time then you know the big dream you are searching for must offer you more time in your life. Or maybe you like freedom, then your dream needs to bring the feeling of freedom to your life.

But what do values look like?

List a set of core values you treasure. Compare it with the things you love spending time doing – is there something that stands out? Is there a pattern?

6. You’re Not Willing To Make Tough Sacrifices

Do you have the knowledge and skills which fit the requirements of your big dream? If you don’t, how much are you willing to sacrifice in order to add these skill-sets to your repertoire? How long are you willing to give your best shot? Are you willing to live on rice if that’s what it takes? Are you willing to forgo watching television, dinners out, or vacations to work your big dream?

Are you willing to work on your dream to the very best of your ability?

Not 60%, or 40% but 100%? If your book requires 23 re-writes to make it better, could you do it? Will you be willing to look at your dream efforts with a critical eye and be honest with yourself when you see that you are halfheartedly making an effort?

7. You Won’t Do The Necessary Research

You must find out about your big dream’s industry. Do you understand the expectations, the knowledge, and skills needed to achieve your dream? For example, let’s say you want to be a top blogger, have you studied top bloggers? Have you contacted them to find out what it takes to be a top blogger? Do you understand the time involved? How about the money it takes? What are the worst mistakes you can make as a top blogger?

And if an expert tells you that you can’t get there from the direction you are heading, are you willing to change course? How are you at accepting honest feedback? Are you willing to do what someone else suggests? Do you know the difference between good feedback and bad?

Are you willing to admit when you’re wrong? Are you willing to start over?

8. You Don’t Network With Enough People

You need to find your tribe. You need to network with people who live the dream life you want to live, so you get a feel for what it is like up front. You also need to hang out with people who share your passion and support you in achieving your big dream.

Do you know where there’s a group of people who can help you? Can you get comfortable with networking?

9. You Don’t Know How To Create A Plan

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You don’t know how to get started, how to create a plan, or how to achieve your big dream. You don’t know what direction to go first.

Every first step begins with action, and the first thing is to write your big dream down at the top of a piece of paper (if you have an idea of what your big dream could be). Then write all the things you think you need to do to accomplish this dream. Doing this part alone is an accomplishment in itself and it’s the beginning of making a plan.

Is there a way you can do a little of your dream–something small–just to start?

Let’s say your dream is to be a published author. Maybe your “small” start is joining a local writer’s group who publishes members writings in a small booklet.


Maybe your “small” is to write a 3-page story and work the 3-page story until it is something you love. Then, take it to a printing shop and have it printed on quality paper and enclose it in a presentation binder. Put it on your bookshelf and consider it a published piece.

Then decide to write something and pitch it to publications in your genre.

The point is to do your dream in a small way, a way that’s comfortable, and a way that begins to move you forward in your dream. And with each baby step do a little more research on your dream. The Internet and search engines is an amazing resource–use it.

As motivational TED speaker and author, Mel Robbins says in her book, The 5 Second Rule: Transform Your Life, Work, and Confidence with Everyday Courage,

“Pushing yourself to take simple actions creates a chain reaction in your confidence and your productivity.”

Now that you know 9 of the reasons why it’s hard to dream big, are you going to try anyway?

In 5-4-3-2-1 …

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