Existential Psychology

Today Is The Day To Pursue Your Dreams

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“If you wish to be a writer, write.”
– Epictetus

I’ve heard a similar refrain from so many people, which is that they have a secret passion that has always called to them but feel like they don’t have the right to pursue it because they haven’t obtained a degree. If you share this sentiment, realize that today is the day to pursue your dreams and you don’t need a piece of paper to tell you it’s okay to go after them, to tell you who and what you are or who and what you can be. You might need that piece of paper later depending on the discipline but you can still take that first vital step right now.

Actually many of the greats in any field you can think of never received any formal training, and those who did went far beyond their training to become great, traveling most of the way on their own. If this weren’t so then there would be nothing to differentiate them from all of the others who received similar training.

If you wish to be a writer get behind your computer and start writing, if you wish to be a photographer get a camera and start taking photos, if you wish to be a musician get an instrument and start playing. We think of our society as being free, where anyone can be anything, but while this is technically true the real truth is that the superego, that conglomeration of values, norms, and tabus, acts as an internal police officer that is every bit as imperious as visible external authority, and it tells many of us that we can’t move forward without the approval of a gatekeeper.

But if you spend your whole life waiting for someone to tell you it’s okay to pursue your dreams you just might never pursue them. Find a way to take that first vital step. Even if it’s in a field where licensure will be necessary you can still start studying all the course materials right now by looking at the online syllabi at respected universities. You become what you are by doing, not by thinking about doing. Once you have taken that first step out the door the next one in the journey will become clear to you, but you’ll never reach that second step if you think you need approval before taking the first. As the great Glen Hansard implores in the song ‘Locusts’, “And the words you never spoke, and the tune you never wrote, won’t write themselves or wait for evermore.”