“They only take people who…”
“Now you feel like that’s the right thing, but wait until you’re 40.”
“One day you will want to settle down. Everybody does.”
“But consider your future familiy.”
These are just some quotes of what people are telling me. Telling you. Telling themselves.
Subconsciously manipulating their own thoughts. Feeding that tiny voice in your head that’s casting doubts on whether the decisions you are taking are right.
Yes, it has often been said that millennials were raised to believe that they could achieve everything – and I see some truth in that, as well as some real problems that our generation is facing consequently. If you understand German I highly recommend this article on the topic (which was already released in 2015 but is still very true according to my perception).
However, there is another truth that remains widely disregarded: Sometimes we do not believe we can achieve everything. In fact we don’t believe we can achieve anything.
We all live by believes that we somehow, someday accepted to be true. They are formed by our upbringing and experiences. But also by what we share with each other. I firmly believe that most of those believes, that we hold to be true, are just circulating in society. We believe in them, just because we have heard them so often.
If you have any excuse for yourself to not do something you really want to do right now, ask yourself: Is there an objective reason why I should not do it? Am I harming or hurting somebody if I go for it? Do I potentially compromise my existence if I do? What would the real cost of failing be?
And also: Why do I believe that I will fail?
I often find myself in situations in which my answers are along the lines of “Well… It would really be embarrassing to fail. I believe I can’t achieve it, because person X, Y and Z said that they knew somebody who knew somebody who said that… Why would they choose me? … I’ve heard it’s really hard to get in… Things like that only happen in movies… This would be irrational and childish.”
Screw those thoughts.
Why would person X, Y and Z know better than you? Unless they are experts on exactly the thing you are trying to achieve, they won’t know better than you, but just spread whatever believes they have developed over time.
And even if they are incredibly knowledgable, there is still the element of luck.
Don’t limit yourself to the options you are sure you have. The only way to make sure that you will not reach your goals is to not even try to reach them.
I have recently spoken to a friend who was very insecure of where to go in life. Who didn’t dare to dream big. In the very same situation in which I have seen a lot of millennials – almost everyone I know, including myself – before, during, shortly after college, or inbetween degrees. That situation in which you ask yourself what you wanna be, what you are capable to do.
Most of us don’t have an answer, only a few lucky ones are very sure about their path.
But the worst part is all the people who, with no ill intent, make you doubt. Who plant believes in your head that what you want is out of reach. Just because that’s what they have been told.
What I’ve learned so far is: Go for it. Go for the optimum. Nothing less. If you are convinced that you can reach your goals and are determined to do whatever it takes, I am sure you will be reaching your goal one or the other way. I’m not saying it’s not tough, and depending on how the element of luck supports your plans, you will have to be endurant. But I firmly believe that the passion you develop if you are truely aware of what you want, is something that people around you will notice. And it will open paths you didn’t dare to dream about.
Yes, I do want to move to different countries and explore the world. Yes, I want to work in the field of international politics. Well, maybe one day I’d rather want to settle down for whatever reasons, but how am I supposed to plan ahead and assume what my future self and potential family might want? I’m not saying these are not important things to be aware of. However, I can only take my decisions based on what I know today. One at a time. And then I will have to be brave and aware enough to change my plans if they don’t fit me anymore…
What is your dream? Don’t make excuses, don’t start your journey with compromising. Life is short. Make it happen. Give your best and take it from there. And be aware that others are feeling the same. Be aware of what questions you are asking them and what that might cause them to believe about themselves.