How do you work up courage enough to follow your dreams? To step out into the unknown and fly on faith alone?

Do you manifest the “stuff” needed or is it given to you at birth? Is it something you grow with, something that grows with you, or do you cultivate it, hone and sharpen it?

I’ve been thinking plenty on this lately – possibly due to the fact that I have more dreams than I’m able to count and partly because I want to figure out the “path to success” before I’m 80. Call me selfish if you must, but I’d rather enjoy the fruits of my labor *before *I’m tossed into a nursing home, if you please.

So where does that lead me? Well, I’ve been reading a few articles here and there about what it takes to stand out in any creative field of interest.

Take this one, for example: “What to Do When You Have More Ambition Than Discipline.

This article, by Todd Brison, was supremely excellent. And basically nailed me to the wall with its accuracy. See, I’ve struggled my entire life, caught between a war of “must do this, gotta have that, can’t rest until I..” syndrome, riding shotgun with an almost non-existent grasp of personal discipline. Which is odd, considering my proclivity towards law enforcement and military careers growing up. A proclivity I still possess, if I’m being completely honest.

I digress.

Reading thru Todd’s post, I latched onto it like a wild thing hunting its daily meal – I consumed every word and sentence and let it simmer, digesting it first before throwing away any of the more irrelevant parts (there weren’t many). And where did it leave me?

Well, closer to my own personal truth is where. Which is, I think, exactly what this blog (and life, possibly) is all about: figuring out who the actual fuck we are inside and not adjusting this to fit another’s idea of what we should be.

Or is that some misplaced rage coming through? I’m not entirely sure. Let’s say…little from column A, little from column B.

What this could mean is…the stuff, the goodies, the talent – all those God-given gifts – they were always there, but it’s everything else that gets in the way and disrupts one (me) from the path.

And what things, you may be wondering? Well, everyone has their own list longer than the horizon, but I’ll gladly share my own:

Things like my lack of discipline or a handful of ex-best friends and their passive aggressive knives that hit the mark once every six months. Or people I’ve grown with and loved who have now become strangers longer than they were something more. Or maybe the weight I gained with my pregnancy 8 years ago that my body refuses to see me to lose, no matter how hard I try. Or the old car, ancient clothes and outdated camera, or even perhaps my own ways of thinking are responsible for holding me back to a certain degree.

Just maybe it’s all of these, or none. Each of these could also exist as useless excuses to further enable my dreadfully not-so-great lazy streak. Or perhaps, they are real.

This might come down to two simple facts:

  • I allow people control over me (= my dreams), therefore their actions and words control me.
  • I disallow people control over me (= my future), therefore their actions and words hold no control over me.

It’s all well and good to say this, but when it comes time to create, to publish or share and put myself out there – what might these judgmental, condescending mind-terrorists say? I think it’s fair to assume at this point that they’ve whispered it all by this point, and yet, I’m still here. So there’s that.

And yes, “haters gon’ hate,” but lest we forget, I am human. I feel, and hurt and I experience pain like everyone else, despite the hardened, typically no-share exterior.

It’s comical – the longer I write this blog, the quicker I realize what must be done: I need to move on. Move on from the idea of who I should have been by this point in my life to accepting who I actually am. Move on from every creatively thieving son of a bitch I’ve ever known and regard their success as wholly unrelated to my own – because it is. My life is not theirs – I mean, some of these people I haven’t seen or spoken to in years.

Move on from the mirage I believe others perceive me as and embrace, outwardly, who I truly am. And understand that I’m not for everybody and that’s alright. It’s okay not to like someone else. Chemistry is a big thing, folks.

Move beyond and towards my goals, work actively to cut down the naysayers and the small, conniving, scheming souls I’ve had the unfortunate luck of coming across. To use their unfounded hatred of me as fuel to light the way. That reminds me of an appropriate quote: “May the bridges I burn light the way.” Fits, doesn’t it?

So, in the end, how do you work up courage enough?

Maybe by staring at the ones who want nothing more than for you fail and offering up a nice, hearty one-two punch: Fuck You.

I’ll close today’s post with a funny quote from Bad Lip Reading’s take on The Empire Strikes Back: “And then I walk away, walk away.”

But, unlike Threepio, I won’t look back anymore.