The #2 reason people don’t pursue their dreams is that the suffering they feel while doing some activity is larger than the pleasure they feel doing it.
Pain bigger than gain. This never works.
This is because starting something always implies change. Change is risky and scary. Maybe we are miserable right now but at least we know where we stand. If we start doing something new, the matters might become worse. Therefore many people don’t even start.
One of the two ways for us to initiate change is when the pain of not doing it is larger when doing it.
Let’s say you want to write a book. But writing books is a painful and tedious process, isn’t it? Or so we think. Majority of people don’t even start. From those who start only a small percentage finish. And from those who finish writing the book, even a smaller number dare to show it to the world.
Maybe I haven’t written a book yet but at least I know that I won’t have to suffer the embarrassment of not finishing it.
Or imagine you want to create a painting but you don’t know how to do it. You don’t know where to start or what materials to use. And of course deep inside you have this thought that it might not come out the way you wanted. Of course it won’t. Because your taste is better than the skill yet. You can imagine a better painting than to make it reality. So many people don’t bother even to try to build up this skill.
What about creating a business venture? Maybe you wanted to start living your life on your own terms, stop going to this 9-5 job in which you do things that don’t matter to you. Maybe you want to be self-employed and pursue your dreams this way. But with your new life-style comes a whole set of new risks and pains.
Again maybe your dreams won’t lead you anywhere. Maybe the market doesn’t want what you can offer to them. Maybe you don’t know what to offer to the market. Maybe the market conditions will change and you won’t be able to adapt. Maybe you don’t have the time to pull this off.
Maybe, maybe, maybe…
The list of excuses grows longer by the day. And they all are valid excuses.
Because right now perhaps you at least have a roof above your head and something to eat every day. But when you are on your own, you may lose all of this.
The pain is bigger than gain.
With this attitude you can only initiate change when you hit rock bottom. Alcoholics can only decide to quit drinking when the pain of being drunk and miserable is more unbearable than the pain when they walk around sober every second thinking about the booze.
Someone can only starting living a life on their own terms when the pain they feel in the current job outweighs the risks associated of being a freelancer or a solopreneur.
If you have a book inside you, you will only start writing it when the pain you feel when not writing is bigger than when you write.
The same can be said about painting, playing an instrument, creating music, anything.
You create only when you can’t live without creating.
But there is another way. You can start doing some creative activity, if the task is so tiny and manageable that the risk is really very small. And the pleasure will be larger than this risk and pain of doing it.
For example, instead of committing to writing a book, you can write 100 words daily and post them on your blog. To write 100 words takes less than 15 minutes. But in less than one year, you will have a small book ready to publish on Amazon. That’s what I’m doing right now.
Or instead of committing to start painting, draw one page a day in your pocket notebook. Again it takes 15 minutes a day and before you know it, you will have built up your skill of drawing and ready to publish your art as a collection in a book.
Instead of composing a symphony, create only 4 measures of your musical piece for a solo instrument. Pretty soon you will have the confidence to expand the length into a longer composition for an ensemble.
Instead of committing of learning to play difficult sonatas and fugues on an instrument, sit down and play for 15 minutes every day. It will be fun. Anybody can do it.
Instead of building up your muscles in strenuous workout routine for an hour daily, do some push-ups first thing in the morning. Or run around the block. Or simply go for a walk.
Instead of quitting your job and facing the uncertainty of building your own life-style business, do it on the side while you’re still working. Do it in the evenings and weekends. Spend only 15 minutes a day for starters.
You see, then gain becomes bigger than pain. Then you are setting yourself up for success.
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Drs. Vidas Pinkevicius and Ausra Motuzaite-Pinkeviciene
Organists of Vilnius University , creators of Secrets of Organ Playing.
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