The thing about dreams

I was recently asked to be part of a TV show. It’s a singing show and I was asked to join as a mentor to aspiring performers. It was great and also very flattering. Got the opportunity to meet incredible youngsters with big dreams.

Also recently got an email from an acquaintance who has really been struggling to make things happen in the music business. I speak to so many people who find it difficult. I always feel for them because I know how hard it is to wish and work for something without attaining it. We can all relate to this feeling! In many of these conversations, as with this email I got, a common theme is that there is a hope that they will reach that dream because they know that I was fortunate enough to do so after struggling for some time. I always feel a great desire to somehow motivate these friends. This feeling usually gets me thinking about how lucky I am, but it also leaves me with questions about having dreams and the way to attain them.

I grew up dreaming of being a musician. Writing my own songs and playing them for as many people as I possibly could. Still very very far from a world tour…lol , but I’ve managed to play and write along the way and have been super fortunate in the proses. I made 5 albums that all failed before I finally had some music success that came along when I was 30 years old. It was so awesome when it finally happened. Everything I dreamt about. It still is…. absolutely awesome!

Having this happen to me has brought me into contact with many other dreamers. I love dreamers. They inspire me, but they often also carry some sadness with them. A certain kind of longing or twitching dissatisfaction with the status quo that lingers just under the surface. I often hear them say….. I still believe it will happen, it’s just a matter of time. Or they are simply tired and rundown.

It is a common narrative in society. Work, believe and it will happen. Simple right?

Does believing and dreaming I will be an astronaut mean that I will be one. Even if I work extremely hard and try my very best to launch myself into orbit?

What if I am born into a poor family in a country worlds away from the world of space travel? What if I am in a terrible school?

Or if someone dreams of being a famous snow skier, but they live in a shack in Bloemfontein where there is no snow and its flat as a pancake. What then?

Sure we can all name people who have risen above circumstances. There are snow skiers who come from flat places after all. Jamaica actually has a bob sled team! There are so many incredible stories of people succeeding against the odds. We love those stories. Telling them gives us a semblance of hope for our own aspirations. These are often stories we hang on to in tough times. Who we can’t name are the thousands of others who didn’t make it. Did they not work or believe hard enough?

I’ve noticed, that the majority of people simply don’t have the luxury of pursuing their dreams. The snow skier guy in Bloem might also have a family to support. So if you are a snow skier out there….. remember that there might be a dude in Bloemfontein who wishes to be where you are so make sure you are thankful for your opportunities. If you are making music or you are a big shot somewhere in business, yes, you might be super talented, beautiful or whatever society labels as “special” these days, but it is important to remember just because you think you have made it in your view, there might be and probably is someone much more talented than you out there who simply didn’t have the luxury of “following their dream”. Someone who might just have other things to focus on. Like surviving.

I also doubt simply believing that it might happen causes it to happen.

Dreams don’t just come true if you believe hard enough. You will not become a great swimmer by dreaming of swimming…kind of obvious, but should be said. If you want to be a musician…..you should be spending time playing music.

I strongly believe you have to try to be ALL IN to reach your goals. Again, keeping in mind that pursuing any passion is a privilege many don’t have. I often meet youngsters from affluent families who want to play music, but they are studying accounting or something that has nothing to do with music. Wanting security is always-good I guess….. having something to fall back on and all that stuff….it’s just that in the proses of not being “all in” with music you are usually not really all in with the thing you are begrudgingly studying either. While you are studying something you don’t really want to do and “dreaming” of playing music at Madison Square Garden, there are a 1000 people spending every moment working on their music to actually get the gig at Madison Square Garden. Who do you think will ultimately get the gig? You with the music dream studying accounting or the dude practicing 6 hours of music each day?

I guess when we are young we often think we have oodles of time and because often times we are told we can simply be who we want to be, we end up thinking it will just happen for us and while we are daydreaming and tweeting some 4 year old in china is playing the living daylights out of a piano. But still we often choose to study something to fall back on just in case things don’t work out.

If you are a youngster lucky enough to study anything, I just think you should take sound advise from people who love you, but fight hard to do what you love! You might fail, but remember you can also fail at doing something you hate. But if you try do both….. you won’t be great at either and failure is inevitable, no matter how talented you are.

People who reach their goals usually work extremely hard.

They have talent or skill in a specific field and they are also honest with themselves. It’s important that these two go together.

I also think aiming for more than just money and fame can help a person a lot in doing something meaningful.

Then I also noticed that success remains a gift. Many people are talented, many people work hard and deserve it, but ultimately success is not given because we are just so stupendously special or just because we deserve it. It seems to me more like a gift and when it comes to gifts usually the giver is the special one.
I guess for me the ultimate goal in life and also in pursuing and reaching my dreams would be to have the ability to find joy and meaning along the way. To find some meaning in all circumstances. What this meaning and joy entails will vary for all of us, but that is the hope. That life will not happen some day when I achieve some or other thing, or when I own this or that, but that I will experience it’s fullness, warts and all, every day along the way.

If you are an aspiring singer out there….. that means: Work your backside off! Try be as “all in” as you possibly can considering your personal circumstances. And dammit man….. try enjoying it along the way! Maybe someday you are as big as Ed Sheeran….. maybe you won’t be.

The journey might just transform you.

Leave a comment