“If you can dream it, you can do it.”—Walt Disney
“Where there is a will, there is a way”-Pauline Kael
“Impossible is Nothing”-Muhammad Ali
I have been thinking about writing this post for a while.
As you might be aware, at the end of last year I decided to create my own advent calendar, to share a daily quote and spread some positivity, especially during these difficult times.
While doing my research for the posts, I came across several quotes along the lines of: “If you have a dream, success or failure depend on you and how much effort you put into it”. And I don’t know about you, but I find this message wrong, misleading and most importantly, dangerous. In a world where social media are basically our way to keep in touch with family and friends, and our tool to “spy” on the absolutely incredible lives of influencers, actors and models, I think it is time to stop for a second and think about the messages we are receiving and (spreading).
While I totally agree that to reach a goal it is important to study, work on it, believe in yourself and be focused, at the same time we cannot blame ourselves for every single thing we don’t achieve. “If I only slept 5 hours every day”, “if I only didn’t have lunch breaks”, “if only I didn’t meet up with my friends on that Thursday evening”… we need to stop. We need to stop thinking that everything has to be obtained with blood, sweat and tears, that following our dreams has to be a painful process, that successful people don’t have a family/social life/hobbies, that the only way to reach our goals is to give 100% of ourselves and if we fail it means we didn’t give it enough.
First of all, we need to understand that what we see on Instagram is only a photo, a story, a reel, it is not real life. We don’t know what people are going through, if what they choose to show us is the full story or if they are struggling at anything in life. Even if they are actually living the perfect life, we don’t know what is their story, what opportunities they had and how they got there in the end. Comparing ourselves to the others, thinking “how did they manage to go this far?” or “that could have been me if only…” is just painful, pointless, and unhealthy. We all have a different story, different energy, different worries, different lives.
And keeping blaming ourselves whenever we fail, just because “if you dream it, you can do it”, is just a way to keep pushing ourselves, to see how far we can go if we can only can sleep less or train more, repeating this circle more and more any time we don’t succeed at something.
What I think we should all realise, is that even those champions we see on the TV, or that colleague that keeps getting promotions you were sure would be yours, sometimes fail. Sometimes they don’t feel like getting out of bed in the morning, sometimes they don’t finish their veggies at dinner and, most importantly, sometimes they just do nothing. Because it is normal, it is human and it is absolutely fine. It is easier to just share big accomplishments, fantastic news and glamorous celebrations on Instagram, but we don’t know the full story and we don’t need to, because what we need to focus on is our story and what is important to us.
The only thing that matters is you, your health and your happiness. Please stop torturing yourself with “what it could have been if only”, “I am still awake so it means I can keep going”, “sorry I am busy all month, I can’t see you”. Please give yourself a break, please appreciate the wonderful human being that you are and please surround yourself with people that love you. You are doing great.