When someone tells you about their dreams of making it big in Hollywood, building the next killer app, or stretching for some other brass ring, what are you supposed to say?
And so you probably do. Most of us do. All the time.
What are we never supposed to say?
We’re never supposed to say something like “That idea sucks moist, open sphincter. You should go back to the drawing board.”
Or “I’m not sure you’re committed enough to pull that off.”
Or even “Is there really a market for that? Have you done your due diligence?”
Why is that?
Why are we supposed to support their ideas unconditionally and encourage them to waste time and energy attempting things that’ll probably fail?
Wouldn’t it be more supportive to say the hard things that need to be said? The things that they don’t want to face?
I receive hundreds of emails and social media messages every day and often face this dilemma.
For example, every week or two someone emails in asking for advice on starting a supplement company.
Almost always, they have no money, platform or following, business or marketing skills, or understanding of the science of supplementation. They just want to own a supplement company because reasons.
Right away, I know that the chances of them merely surviving, let alone thriving, in the supplement racket is roughly fuck all.
What should I do, though?
Here they are, ships sitting safely in the harbor, looking to venture out into the great unknown. Should I blithely set them on a course that will bring nothing but pain, misery, and despair, or should I deliver the truth as I see it?
Well, I give them the best tip I can:
Stay far away from the supplement industry because you’re not ready.
Sometimes they take my suggestion to heart and wonder what “ready” might look like, and sometimes they scoff at what they see as an attempt to crush their dreams or discourage competition.
The latter is laughable.
My supplement company has gone from zero to eight figures in annual revenue in just three years with a skeleton crew, and sports nutrition is a $27 billion industry that’s projected to exceed $45 billion in the next 5 years.
I’m not worried about competition.
And the former?
Fuck those dreams.
That guy that says he wants to be an actor, but all he really wants is fame? That gal that says she wants to build a blog, but never writes? Those people that say they want to start a business, but haven’t read a single book on how to actually do it?
Fuck all of that.
Those are bullshit fantasies, long shots, delusions of grandeur, and by indulging them, we’re doing people a great disservice.
If you see something, say something. If your buddy’s idea is terrible, say it’s a terrible idea. If they’re not good enough yet, tell them they should get better. If they’re trying to be someone they’re not, ask why.
Don’t be afraid to discourage people from making half-hearted commitments to half-baked plans that ultimately make for half-assed lives.
Don’t be an enabler.
This shoe fits the other foot, too.
Why would we want people to mislead us in the same ways? Why would we want them to feed our egos and delusions instead of probing our motives and methods?
Why would we rather be comforted than challenged? Do we really value our feelings more than results? Do we want a participation trophy or do we want to win the day?
People have been saying for ages that you can do whatever you can dream of.
Maybe. Maybe not.
Can you make it as a professional golfer if you can’t average at least 275 yards off the tee? Nope.
Can you become a multimillionaire entrepreneur if you can’t consistently work the kind of hours that would crush most people? Probably not.
Can you get good enough at anything to make an impact of any kind without putting in thousands of hours of deliberate practice? Very unlikely.
My point is there’s nothing wrong with hitching your wagon to a star, but dreaming isn’t doing, and doing isn’t arriving.
If you’re going to dream, then you’d better be ready to do, and if you’re going to do, then you’d better be ready to go all the way.
There’s no feeling like that. It’s the only good fight there is.
So fuck fake dreams. Fuck fools’ paradises. Fuck hand-waving. They’re refuge for the weak, and they rob people–and the world–of their true potential.