How many times have you seen films about young talented people who are going through difficult times in pursuit of their dreams? Have you ever felt there is something wrong with these films? That they are not really convincing or helpful?
I watched La La Land yesterday. Good film, great duet Gosling and Stone. I enjoyed it. Then I realized something. Like so many pictures about budding talent, the film makes you believe that going for your dream is tough, that people will not understand you, that it is much easier to give up, to “grow up” and find a “normal” job, but if you hold on and keep on trying you will get there. As convincing as this line of thought may be, it is in fact somewhat a distorted and counterproductive way of seeing things.
For one thing, having a “normal” job is not easy at all. First you need to find it, then you need to keep it. You must get up every day and do your job and do it well. You can’t change much, you can’t “get creative.” If you are an honest worker, being “normal” is tough. And keeping it up for years, decades, all your life, working quietly, patiently, supporting your family and contributing to the society – well, that is very hard and, in some occupations, nothing short of heroic.
Secondly – and this may sound as revelation – while following your dream may not be easy, it is not very difficult either. The truth is that if you are doing something special and you are doing it well, then there is no way you are not going to find people who love your work. It is simply impossible, because we as humans are not that much different, so if you are really doing something great, chances are high that many people will love it.
There’s the rub. There is no conflict between “real” life and “dreams.” This juxtaposition is a good dramatic tool that makes a nice film, but life doesn't work that way. Dreams are part of real life and are as real as life itself. You just have to do something original, and you have to do it consistently well, and success will follow. If you are trying and nothing is happening, then perhaps you are not doing anything special, or you are not doing it consistently well, or you are not reaching out to people. There is no use being a Picasso if you have locked yourself up in a garage.
So these are the lessons I learned and wanted to share today. First, there is no contradiction between a “normal” job and a “dream” job. These are just two different ways of living a life, and both are easy and hard in their own way. Second, a “dream” job is not that difficult to have as long as you are being honest with yourself and doing the right things. No matter how big the dream part is, a dream job is still a job, not a dream. Treat it like one, and the path to your own La La Land may be easier than you thought.