Do You Have Cheerleaders or Dream Stealers Around You?

For those of you that haven’t seen Woody Allen’s Midnight In Paris yet, here’s one big reason to see it: this movie isn’t really about Paris, although that’s the setting for the story. It’s really about one person’s search for his true passion.

The lead character, Gil Pender (Owen Wilson), and his girlfriend Ines (Rachel McAdam), find themselves in the City of Light as they tag along with the latter’s parents who are in Paris for business. Currently, Gil works as a very successful Hollywood screenwriter. However, he is not completely happy with this. His visit to Paris awakens a deep-seated yearning and he begins to seriously consider going back to his roots as a writer of serious prose.

Gil toys with the idea of moving to Paris to work full time on a novel he’s been writing on the side. Ines isn’t too thrilled with the idea and does her best to dissuade him. In fact, she shares her disapproval of Gil’s decision with her mother. She agrees that it is an unwise choice, in light of his successful career as a Hollywood writer. Furthermore, Ines doubts Gil’s abilities as a credible novelist and is openly critical of his efforts. Near the end of the story, Gil eyes slowly open to the fact that he has the wrong player on his “team”.

It’s a fascinating story about the eventual realization that not everything that we see on the surface is as it seems. Paris is more than just the city of the free-spirited writers and artists from the 1920s that Gil romanticizes.  Ines is not quite the faithful and supportive fiancé that Gil thinks her to be. The antiques seller that he meets in the flea market is no ordinary girl.  And as for Gil, he is more than an assembly line writer and empty dreamer. He does, in fact, hold a lot of promise as a novelist and is prepared to bet on his dreams.

For many of us, though, that promise can never materialize unless we’ve got the right amount of support behind us. For me, my successful design career might have gotten stalled (or never materialized, even) had not my parents given their silent assent, bought me a thick Winter coat and a plane ticket to get my new design career started in Europe, and called everyone they knew who had friends or relatives in Italy just to make sure that I had people to turn to in case I found myself in dire straits.

Fortunately, my close friends or former teachers did not offer any resistance or discouragement. All they did was to wish me luck. For many people that is all that’s needed for them to go forward.

It is more difficult when you’re emotionally and financially tied down and have a partner and/or children who question your decision to pursue further studies or to work on a job that can help catapult you to fame and fortune, but will take you away from them for some time. Pursuing your dreams is a lot easier when the people that you care about simply offer you encouragement and wish you Godspeed.

There is oftentimes a huge cost in order for anyone to be successful in their chosen pursuit, and you need to ask yourself two things:

  1. Am I willing to pay the price to attain my dreams?
  2. Are the people that I care for understanding enough to let me go so that I can do what I need to do to be happy and successful?

If your answer to any of these questions is “no” then perhaps now is not the right time, or you’re not ready to do whatever it takes. Or perhaps you need to find somebody else on your team, or maybe you need to look to different people to cheer you on and support your cause to give you the strength and the will to carry on.  If you can’t count on your loved ones, then you need to find:

  • A mastermind group who you can share your challenges with and who can advise you on the best course of action for your dreams
  • One or two mentors who can share their wisdom and experience with you and give you their honest opinion free from any bias or self-interest.

What experiences have you had with cheerleaders and dream stealers?  I would be interested to hear your responses in the comments below.

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