Chase the Dream? Or Chase the Money?

This last week I had a couple of things hit me hard.

The first was a line in the song “No Such Thing as a Broken Heart” from Old Dominion (which hit #15 this week, props to them!). The song is generally about living without fear of failure and focusing on the things you can control. Both solid principles. But the verse where the singer talks about teaching his kids really just struck a cord. Here’s the lyrics:

What am I gonna tell my kids when they see
All of this bullshit that goes down on TV
When the whole world is down on its luck
I gotta make sure they keep that chin up

Cry when it hurts, laugh when it’s funny
Chase after the dream, don’t chase after the money
And know we got each other, that’s what’s up

I’ve italicized the line that I felt was talking right to me. “Chase after the dream, don’t chase after the money.”

I am a firm believer in that, or at least I always have been.

Another thing that got to me this week was a recent Toyota commercial that lifted these lines from a writer (possibly Mark Twain, possibly H. Jackson Brown, nobody really knows), that I believe say it fantastically:

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.

Love it.

But in reality, isn’t that easier said than done? Dreams, it seems, tend to have a bit of a lead time before they start providing for the roof over the dreamer’s head. So what does the dreamer do in the meantime?

I mean, would you chase after your dream if option B was to work for minimum wage greasing McDonald’s fryers for the rest of your life? Of course you would. Or at least I would.

But…. what if you were offered a job that paid $1,000,000 a year? Do you still chase the dream? Or does the $$ figure need to be higher? At what amount of money is the dream no longer significant?

Or could you do both? Could you take the million dollar job for just a year and then focus on the dream with all of your added cash? But would you ACTUALLY do that after you just made a million dollars? (What if you could make $2,000,000 the next year?! It just never ends).

The romantic side of myself wants to say that the money doesn’t matter. The dream is more important. On your deathbed you aren’t going to wish you made more money (or at least, that’s what they say). But the practical side says, “Dude, you need money.”

So where’s the happy medium? Is there a happy medium? Because dreams seem to have the funny behavior of not panning out unless you go all-in, ya know?

I think this hit me hard because I am fast coming up on some decisions in regard to this very thing (not that I have a million dollar job offer or anything, although that would be a nice problem to have haha). I’ve recently graduated college, and have kind of been hem-hawing around since then trying to figure out what to do. But now, the time comes to make up the mind. Do I chase after the dream or chase after the money?

I lean towards agreeing with Old Dominion. I’m a writer, and thus the romantic side normally wins out 😉 But this post is more of a wading-through-the-fog type of post than a shine-a-light-on-the-answer type. So… what’s your thoughts?


I Want to Be a Failure-Expert… Like JK Rowling

We all know the story: Welfare, wizards, billionaire.

I just wanna take a minute and give a shout out to one of the best selling authors of all time. First off, as any writer will tell you, it takes grit to write any sort of novel, day in and day out with no extrinsic reward until when it’s finished and (if) it gets picked up. But it also takes determination and some darn thick skin to persevere through twelve different publisher’s rejection letters.

Props to you Joanne.

She has said:

“Failure is so important. We speak about success all the time. It is the ability to resist failure that often leads us to greater success. I’ve met people who don’t want to try for fear of failing.”

Spotlight: Me….

Why is it, I ask, that whenever we (or maybe just I) want to do something, or try something, or post something, or be something that we think we need to be awesome at it before we even start it?? Take this blog for example. I was afraid to “launch” it (if you can call my humble announcement that) because I don’t have a logo, or a premium theme, or custom photography, etc.

But then I remembered Rowling, and a quote given to me on a little piece of paper from celebrated author and story doctor David Farland at a recent workshop I attended:

“If I waited for perfection, I would never write a word.” – Margaret Atwood

What if Rowling had never started Harry Potter? What if Harry still sat in his cupboard in Rowling’s mind and never made it on to paper?

I’m sure she had the same fears that we all do when setting out to do something new or something great. The difference is that she pushed past those fears. And I am sure she failed several times behind-the-scenes that none of us know about before she got to where she is now. Not to mention that, even after the success of HP, she was STILL rejected by publishers under her psydonymn, Robert Galbraith. Crazy.

John Keats said that:

“Failure is, in a sense, the highway to success.”

And if he’s right, as I believe he is, then Rowling must be a seasoned traveller on failure’s journey.

HP isn’t perfect (although it darn well might be), but if she needed it to be she never would have published it, and she probably never would’ve started it.

So with that, here is my commitment to becoming a failure-expert! And with it a determination to stop thinking about it, mulling it over, or fretting about perfection and to just get out there and make things happen. Who cares if you fail, because if you want to succeed you’re gonna have to.

Any other “failure-experts” that inspire you?

PS Speaking of near perfection, if you haven’t listened to the HP audiobooks yet you are most definitely missing out. Jim Dale (the narrator) is insanely, amazingly, and downright astoundingly good. Check out this review from the LA Times: “To call Dale a ‘reader’ of books is like saying Monet was a Sunday painter.” . . . ‘Nuff said. Get Sorcerer’s Stone free here when you try out Audible.