Updated: Jul 26
It sounds like a paradox but often your goals/dreams can be counterproductive, they can generate stress and anxiety.And what is worse, you might find out that it is not even worthy. Learn to get rid of the goals and dreams that are toxic and you will have more resources for YOUR REAL goals/dreams. In the following article, Francesco will tell you a simple three step process that will help you doing so. Enjoy.
Why would you want to learn how to give up your goals/dreams?
One reason is that all the self-help gurus, coaches, life coaches, motivational speakers will obsess you with the same mantra: follow your dreams. You gotta do it! If you believe, if you really believe in it, you'll achieve it. You'll fight for it, until you win. Stay hungry, stay foolish! You've heard this stuff before.
You must be resilient. In the psychological/motivational world, "you have to be resilient" means: you should never give up! If you do give up, well, you're a looser! Is that right?
I don't think so.
As a matter of fact, being able to understand when it is time to give up is a great skill to acquire: it will empower you and you will better use your energy and time on things that are better for you.
To be clear: it's good to have dreams, and it's good to follow and try to achieve them, but there are several "buts". In this article the word "dreams" and "goals" are considered synonims.
First of all: you are not your dreams. You are not your dreams. Yes. Let me repeat that: you are not your dreams. You are way more than your dreams. In fact, yours dreams can inspire you. But you dream your dreams. Not the other way around. So, you are more important than them :)
You are a person regardless. Your dignity and your value as a person are not linked to how many of your dreams become real. And yet, many people are extremely frustrated because they don't achieve their dreams.
A simple system to help you out!
When you're struggling with achieving a dream, before you decide whether it is the case to keep fighitng for it or not go through the following three step process:
1) Are those dreams your dreams?
Ask yourself: are, those dreams you should fight for, your dreams?
Is that wedding something you really wanted? Or you proposed your partner just because... it's logical to do so? Did you want to study law? Or it is only the hope that your father will let you take his place in his law firm that motivated you? Did you play volleyball, just because everybody in the family did so? You got the point.
Are those dreams your dreams? Or your dreaming dreams that other people dreamt for you? If those dreams are not yours, just give them up. And start looking for something your real self wants to achieve.
Because, you see, sometimes if you don't put all the passion you can into something, it might be simply because that is not your passion... Just a thought :)
2) Are those dreams still your dreams?
We passed step one, now ask yourself: are those dreams still your dreams?
Maybe that partner was the right one, is this still true? Maybe law school seemed a good idea, but now after five years you actually realise you prefer cooking... hence you should ask yourself If those dreams are still your dreams.
We change, you change and so do your dreams. We change continuously, and so do our dreams. And it would be impossible to be otherwise. Hence it is totally normal that things that used to motivate you, are totally unrelevant today.
Because, you see, sometimes if you don't put all the passion you can into something, it might be simply because that is not your passion any longer... it was, but not anymore. This is life. Just another thought :)
Are those still your dreams? If the answer is not, just give them up. Don't be resilient in following things you don't care of anymore. Giving up in this case, is way more intelligent than wasting your life uselessly for the sake of stupid consistency.
3) Are those dreams really dreams? Are your dreams even dreams?
You acknowledged that the dream you want to achieve was and still is your dream. Now a third step: a step back. Take a step back and look at your dream: is it worthy to invest your life into trying to achieve it? Every time you are fighting to achieve those dreams ask yourself: is it worthy to spend my time and energy to achieve those dreams?
Let's face it. Some of your dreams are extremely trivial. Like buying a more expensive car. Getting a specific job. Etc. Your life, and time are way more important than those. If you don't agree, well we got a problem. Way more serious.
If instead you judge that your dreams are worth fighting for, go after them. All the way, regardless.
This simple system can help you to avoid wasting time in doing things you don't really like just for the sake of doing it.
Then sometimes you do achieve your dreams and you still feel unhappy. And you don't understand why. Believe me the very same system can help you to understand why this is happening.
I talk out of personal experience. I personally worked very seriously to achieve a goal in my life: I wanted to become a team manager in the big corporation I was working for. To be fair it was not a major job, but it was a serious progression for me. I got there. But after few weeks I had to do a very unpleasant thing for me: fire someone. This caused a huge amount of stress. Then, it went ok for another ten months when I got extremely stressed out again. I had to go on a stress leave, and while I was home I had the opportunity to think about my current position and feelings.
I realised that the job was more an ambition to prove other people that I could make it that a real passion.
I realised that my real passion was to help other people whereas this job was more about punishing them.
I realised that what I thought was important, was way less important than my health that I was compromising.
And I gave up and went back to my previous position.
My salary decreased a good 25%, but my health improved straight away. I was again the good old me. And I could dedicate myself to study things I loved. Because of this I could participate to projects that impacted the same organization at a much higher level. An all bunch of new opportunities arose for the simple reason that I accepted to give up something I didn't even like. And if I had read this article before I would have saved a lot more time and energy.
I hope you will not allow yourself to do what I did: don't allow your dreams to become your worst nightmares! Because you are not your dreams... you are way more than that.
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