At what point do you give up on your dream?

11th August 2017
Lifestyle / 12 Comments

At what point do you give up on your dream? - Simply Adrift
At what point do you give up on your dream? - Simply Adrift

This was a very hard post to write, and it’s really scary to put this out there in the world.

At what point do you decide that your dream, the dream you thought you were passionate about, isn’t working anymore? At what point do you give up on your dream?

Maybe you just aren’t getting the results you thought you would be getting. Maybe its the financial side you’re looking at, and you aren’t earning enough. Or perhaps you aren’t actually passionate about it, that you once were, but now you’re not. And it’s time to step away. And when you do step away, is that called failure? Have you failed to achieve your dream? Are you giving up?

No. I don’t think so. I think people grow and change, and you need to adapt to that. I think if what you thought you loved to do isn’t making you happy anymore, then change something. If changing something means going in a completely new and different direction, then do it.

I do acknowledge that if you’ve been chasing your dream for so long, it’s not as simple as just… not doing it anymore.

To suddenly stop chasing that dream does feel like failure, it does feel like you’re giving up. You’re emotionally and mentally invested, and you have been for years. I get that. I get it because I went through it. At the time I felt like a weak person and that I was never going to amount up to anything. That I never am* going to amount up to anything.

I was thinking about my dream, and the fact that I have no idea what my dream is anymore. Do I even have a dream? What makes me happy? What gets me excited? What do I get butterflies for? I came up with these three answers:

1. Space & Science Fiction / Science (I get excited)
2. Cats (I love)
3. Travel (I get butterflies)

So from the above, my dream could be that I want to be an astronaut that discovers aliens, have a house full of cats, and travel a lot (Which I would be doing if I were an astronaut right? Travelling to different planets?). Cool. But seriously, I don’t think I have a ‘dream’. I’m not chasing anything right now, I’m not working towards anything. So giving up what I thought was my dream, makes it feel all the more of a failure.

What was my dream?

When I was a teenager, I wanted to be an actor. I wanted people to watch me on screen, I wanted to be different, to be something special, and I wanted people to notice me. I wanted to be cool, and talented, and sought after. Plus I had a lot of fun performing on stage (The instant gratification was thrilling), or acting in front of a camera. I liked being in front of a camera lens, whether it was acting or photography. The spotlight can be fun. And fun is what life is meant to be about right? Right.

Does the amount of money you earn, legitimise your dream? It felt like it was a required factor.

I thought acting was going to be my ‘thing’. I left University after my first year to do an On-Screen Acting diploma, and had the best year of my life at that point. Looking back, I definitely don’t regret it. I studied the Meisner acting technique for two years after that, while working at a cinema, then stayed in the Meisner master class for another three years. In between this time I also took American accent classes, I filmed short films, I performed on stage, I travelled around schools and performed an anti-bullying show. I had fun. I didn’t earn much money. Does the amount of money you earn, legitimise your dream? It felt like it was a required factor.

I also auditioned and auditioned for TV, but I never got the role. It became apparent I loved acting, but hated auditioning. I was never comfortable in an audition room, in front of casting directors, trying to convince them I was good at pretending to be someone else. In fact I’ve never been great at convincing people to believe in me – there’s just something so hard about believing in yourself so much that you convince other people to believe in you to.

There’s just something so hard about believing in yourself so much, that you convince other people to believe in you too.

Ultimately, what happened was that I became less and less confident in myself. I grew terrified of auditions and dreaded my agent calling me to book an audition. I stopped enjoying acting. I couldn’t handle the judgment anymore; I became anxious, I started to feel terrified of acting in front of my acting class, in front of my friends. I developed all of these new fears in places that I was once so strong and carefree. I still loved performing on stage and in front of a camera, I just hated everything you had to do to get to that point.

I developed all of these new fears in places that I was once so strong and carefree.

So I gave it up. I wasn’t happy. It wasn’t happening. I was miserable in my life. You guys probably know the story from there, I went backpacking around Europe and moved to London. Did I feel like a failure? Yes. Do I regret giving it up? Not necessarily. Do I miss it? I miss acting, yes. I don’t miss auditioning and I don’t miss the way I started feeling. I don’t miss being anxious, I don’t miss being terrified, I don’t miss feeling like a failure.

They say that emotions have two sides, that when you’re terrified, it’s actually the other side of excitement. So you can turn that nervous energy into excitement. Just like they say love and hate are two sides of the same coin. My excitement had slid into fear and I couldn’t slide it back.

At what point do you give up what you thought was your dream?

For me, it was when I became terrified of doing the one thing I thought I loved.

When you keep on hearing people say things like ‘The difference between successors and failures is that failures stop trying’ and see the motto ‘If you don’t succeed, try and try again’, and you generally understand that logic – it’s so hard to admit giving up something and becoming that failure. Do people think I’m the failure they’re not?

It’s hard to admit all of this and have that running through your mind.

Have you ever given up doing something before? Did you ever get over feeling like a failure? How did you cope? Did you feel better for it, or did you have to really work hard to change your perspective?


About Jordon

Jordon - Simply Adrift

I'm a 27 year old New Zealander that lives in London, England, mainly so I can travel Europe easily. In my spare time I like to read, watch Netflix, drink coffee, travel & explore new places, and dance around because it makes me happy. I love meeting new people and making new friends, so don't be shy, pop on over to my social media profiles and say hi!


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12 responses to “At what point do you give up on your dream?

  1. I’ve sometimes wondered the same thing. There’s something I’ve been working towards for a while, including putting tons of time, money, and work into trying to achieve it…and it’s not happening. Sometimes I wonder whether it’s better to take a hint and try to do something else, you know? So far I’m still working towards it, but I can also envision myself moving on at some point.

    On the bright side, I do think it’s possible to have multiple interests/dreams/skills. One of my biggest frustrations with employers is this tendency to say things like “Well, you had a job doing x, why so are you applying to do y?” Beyond the fact that maybe someone did x because, well, they needed money, maybe it’s ALSO possible they like doing x and y. But there’s this weird belief you can only have one true passion.
    Briana @ Pages Unbound recently posted…How to Communicate with Your Instructor Without Being Accidentally OffensiveMy Profile

    • I think it’s really hard to make that decision of giving it up. It’s like you don’t want to give it up too early, but then if you’re feeling hopeless about it, should you really keep trying? That’s such a personal question and think only you can figure that out. Maybe it’s something that you can get more help with, or a second/third/eighth opinion on?

      It’s definitely possible to have multiple interests, skills, and even dreams! I feel like I only continued with acting because I put so much hard work into it that it was going to be a shame to just stop. Plus I did love it, but I felt like I was hitting a wall and I wasn’t getting anywhere new. I don’t know why people think you can only do one thing, and one thing only.

      Side story: Arghh I hate it when you don’t get hired for a job because you have no/only a little experience in it! A few years a go I went for a job interview for administration, at the time I had three years experience of managing a cinema. MANAGING a cinema. Literally, a combination of administration, customer service, and management. And the interviewer started telling me they didn’t think I had enough experience in administration. I’m like, are you freaking kidding me? Yeah sure, I don’t exactly have experience in a desk job. But there is no way that I will not be able to do this job. It seems way easier than managing a team and dealing with angry customers etc. I was so annoyed about it. I told them that in a polite way, they offered me the job, but I ended up finding a better and higher paid administration job so didn’t take it anyway.
      Jordon @ Simply Adrift recently posted…How to get into a Gym RoutineMy Profile

      • My experience is that employers are extremely picky these days. I guess they have enough applicants they can afford to me. But it’s crazy when someone who has, for example, a couple years experience teaching eighth grade applies to a job to teach sixth grade, and the employer is basically like, “Nope. Teaching eighth grade is irrelevant. We’re only going to hire someone who has taught sixth grade.” Or maybe you taught sixth grade but it was in a suburb and they’re all “We’re in a city. We want someone who has taught sixth graders in a CITY, not a suburb!” It’s like you can’t get a job unless you have held *exactly* that job before. I’ve seen this happen to a lot of my job-seeking friends.
        Briana @ Pages Unbound recently posted…Three Dark Crowns by Kendare BlakeMy Profile

        • That’s so ridiculous! They’re trying to cut losses by not having to train the new employee much since they’ve already done the role before. I agree with you though, employers are hard to convince when they have their mind set like that. Half of the time, they’re not very open with giving people a chance at the role. It’s hard to fight your way into jobs these days!
          Jordon @ Simply Adrift recently posted…Roar: Expectations & potentialMy Profile

  2. Gutsy for posting this. It’s hard to share stuff like this. I went to law school for a year and then left. Thought I wanted to be a lawyer, spent several years prior preparing for it. I was undecided in college so when I decided on law it gave me a direction to go. Turns out I didn’t like it, and I eventually realized I liked the IDEA of being a lawyer. I didn’t have any enthusiasm for it. It’s not what I wanted. Do I regret not going on? Kinda, sometimes. It felt like all that preparation was wasted. Maybe it was, but I also believe that every experience can be learned from, and I learned a lot!

    The other thing too is money. Some members of my family were so achievement/ money oriented that I felt pressure to do something where I’d make good money. It doesn’t matter what your passion is – how much does it MAKE? If not very much, then you’re foolish to go in that direction, or so I thought. And I don’t mean immediate family- extended family, uncles who made a ton, stuff like that. I used to dread being around them, it was almost like a competition with their kids (my cousins)- so what are you doing now? Law school huh? Nice, so-and-so is doing this, and so-and-so is over in China, etc. I know everybody gets that, but man I was worrying about money and now what I loved.

    Sorry this is so long. I think dreams can change, or not be what we thought they were, and I think too sometimes we don’t always know what our dream is. If we could all do our passions without worrying about money, I think a lot of us would be happier. 🙂 Of course that’s not our world. But I think in the end we have to be true to ourselves, even if it means we won’t be rich? I’m gonna tell my kids someday to do what they love, follow their passion, and sometimes it takes a while to find it.
    Greg recently posted…Sunday Post #207My Profile

    • Isn’t it so weird that we’re meant to make such a big life decision at such a young age? Choosing what career we want to be cornered into for the rest of our lives? When I was 18 I had no freaking idea what I wanted to do. I knew I liked acting, I knew I loved performing, so naturally I wanted to be an actor. 10 years after graduating from high school, I wish I had actually studied computer science, business, or publishing because I’m very interested in computers, I would really love to know how to start a successful business from scratch, and clearly I’m interested in books. Now I feel like I’m too old to study (And I’m only 27), I definitely cannot afford it, and I live in a completely different country so fees to study would be extravagant. Also, how do you know you like doing something, or that you’re good at it if you’ve never done it before?

      Money is also such a big issue! Study something that will make you wealthy, is something a lot of rich people say. I can only imagine how horrible it would have been to feel like you needed to meet everyone’s expectations or to prove you were better than them. It sounds like it would be really hard to be around family in that case. My family are always asking the same questions, and they think travelling is a waste of time and money, it’s not going to buy me a house etc. But I love to travel, I love living on the opposite side of the world, and I love getting to explore all of these different places. But I am well aware I also need to think more about the future, it just sucks I have no idea what I want to do with my future.

      I think it’s actually entirely possible to not have a dream. But you will definitely have something you’re good at doing and you enjoy doing, so if you discover what that is stick with it! My mum always told me to follow my dream, which is why I did acting, but I felt like I was never really exposed to other options. My school wasn’t that great with career advice, I didn’t know much about the workforce when I left high school, I felt like I was walking into studying with no direction. I don’t know what I could have done differently to figure out what I wanted to study either. Sometimes you need parents to push you in a direction.

      I definitely think it takes a while to find your passion! Getting any sort of experience in something is a good idea! If I have children I want to take them everywhere, teach them different sports, instruments, take them hiking, get them lessons in all of the arts, just so they can see what they like to do. But that’s always such an easy thing to think, and different to do. How on earth do you find the thing you love you to do? Then how do you monetize it?
      Jordon @ Simply Adrift recently posted…How to fall in love with readingMy Profile

  3. This post brings up some really tough questions. The careers I’ve always wanted for myself are the risky ones: author, some position in the animation biz, and I’m currently struggling with whether or not I want to pursue either of them. I want a job that I’ll enjoy. My greatest fear is waking up one day and realizing the path I chose to go down is unfulfilling, but my dream job has changed so much over the years and I also worry that what I want now will change, and that if I pursue my current dream I might end up in the same situation.

    There’s also the matter of skill, for both of those professions, anything really in the “creative” industry, only the best of the best make it. You’re either wildly successful or a failure. I haven’t had a huge failure in my life so far, but I’m kinda bracing for one.
    Kai @ Quartzfeather recently posted…Changing Things Up (Again) – Quartz Gazette June & July 2017My Profile

    • I think that if you ever wake up and feel unfulfilled with your life Kai, you can always change it. It’s never too late to change things! So definitely don’t worry about that! You’re also young, so you’re still trying to figure all of this out, you’ve still got so much to experience and learn and that’s completely okay! Once you get to the point where you have to make a decision on your career, choose the thing that you enjoy, and you wake up everyday and can’t wait to get started.

      I think that if you decide to go with something that makes you happy, then you can’t go wrong. And if down the line it isn’t working out how you expected, there’s no shame in changing your direction. Enjoy school while you can, enjoy studying, and all of that, and work hard. Which I’m sure you do, you’re very intelligent and switched on 🙂
      Jordon @ Simply Adrift recently posted…When you’re feeling down and need a changeMy Profile

  4. I love this post so much Jordon! I actually wrote a very similar one a few months ago but never published it because it felt like rambly word vomit. I felt like I wasn’t getting my point across.

    Anyway, I started to realize that maybe I didn’t love running my business anymore. I loved some parts of it, but I hated the businessy parts: taxes, invoicing, quoting, marketing, selling, etc. I hated that all so much. I started to entertain the idea of trying to find another job but I couldn’t think of anything I was passionate about doing. Or, even if I could, those jobs paid pennies and wouldn’t be enough for me to pay my bills. This was a really dark time for me.

    I ended up getting really lucky and got a job offer doing coding stuff while still working from home. It allowed me to have the flexibility to still run my business on the side, but not worry about marketing and stuff. I’m mostly supporting customers but not working my butt off to get more.

    But before I got that amazing opportunity I had several months of unhappiness and uncertainty. I had no idea how I’d move forward. It’s very scary and frustrating.

    • I’m so sorry to hear that you ended up hating half of what you really love to do! I can only imagine how unhappy you would have felt at the time, especially because it was what paid your rent and put food on the table etc. I’m really glad to hear that you found a solution that perfectly suited you though.

      I guess my situation was a little different because I hadn’t broken into the acting industry per se, and I didn’t earn enough money to support myself. So I had a job and acted on the side. Acting wasn’t my sole source of income. Coming to the conclusion that you aren’t enjoying running your business which IS your sole source of income sounds terrifying for sure! I’m glad you didn’t have to sacrifice your business for your new job though, at least you can do both and be happier for it.
      Jordon @ Simply Adrift recently posted…How to fall in love with readingMy Profile

  5. Alas, that is life. There is no right answer – sometimes people hold on to a dream way longer than they should because change is scary. And sometimes .. it’s worth never giving up because it might happen eventually. In my experience (1 in a gazillion people), I’ve let go of some things in the past – turned them into hobbies I enjoy doing – but don’t do it professionally. I have a job I enjoy and make good money – but it’s not my “passion” – and I’m 100% OK with that. I have quite a few passions in life, and making decent $$ allows me to explore them (find new ones,too). We change, we discover different aspects of ourselves as we get older, and naturally that means that somethings we thought we wanted to do no longer apply. Also – there is real life shit and circumstances that will dictate what we do. But hold on – you may end up going back to your passion when you can .

    • Thank you! I really like the train of thought that you can work on your passion as a hobby rather than a full time gig, and it’s still not being a ‘failure’. I completely agree that we change over time, our interests change, our passions change, you discover something new and fall in love with it.
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