I like going to German class because I’m one of those strange individuals who finds language learning to be a fun activity. And in that class today, we had a story about a German guy who was offered a job in Brazil. He was conflicted about whether or not to accept it, and we were to read an email he wrote his friend, asking for advice on the matter. I read his email aloud, and realized that he was only giving excuses as to why he shouldn’t take the job. “I don’t speak Portuguese,” “I’ll miss all of my friends,” “My girlfriend doesn’t want to move overseas,” “I just bought an apartment,” “I have a dog,” “The weather isn’t good for my health,” and on and on. (My response to the last question: “The weather? In Brazil? Then maybe he should move to Finland.”)
The entire email was a list of reasons why he did not want to go. And then he asked his friend for advice. Oh, how I felt for his friend! My simple answer to the guy’s dilemma was for him not to go at all. Clearly, he had no desire to, because all he did the entire email was think of reasons to stay in Germany. Apparently, it was a “great opportunity,” but nowhere in the email did he mention any of the benefits of going. Not only should this guy stay home, but no one should ever introduce us. People like this drive me insane.
“The secret of happiness is freedom. The secret of freedom is courage.” – Thucydides
Do you really want to travel? Do you really want to learn a language? Do you really want to move overseas? Do you really want to do anything at all? Then do it already. I’ve always wanted to live overseas, and I do right now. I’ve always wanted to learn to speak other languages, and I speak three now, including a smattering of several others.
I remember several years back, when a few friends and I had a grand idea to move our businesses to the Netherlands. Everyone seemed so down for it. I started working on business plans and treatments, and wrote thousands of words for this scheme. And not too long after, I realized that I was the only one doing anything about it. No one else wrote anything, and no one else contributed except for the typical phrases of “let’s do it” and “I’m totally down for this” and “I can’t wait for this to happen.” Problem was, they were waiting for it to happen instead of making it happen. I stopped working on it, and nobody ever said anything about it or asked me how it was coming along.
I, too, realized that I couldn’t wait for anyone else; and as it stands today, I am the only one of this medium-sized group that ever actually did it. No disrespect to any of those people, as I find them all to be great friends, but in reality: They only wanted to go. They didn’t want to go. See the difference? If you know what I mean, then you know what I mean.
People always say they want something, but they never do it. If I want something bad enough, I know I have to make it happen. I’m not the best at it, I’m always learning, and I’ve failed a zillion times. But if I don’t really want it, then why am I even working on it? Why am I even talking about it? We have a phrase that goes, “Don’t talk about it. Be about it.” It’s the same reason a lot of people I knew didn’t even have a clue that I was moving to Germany back then. It came time to go, and I was telling people a week before we left – some didn’t know at all until we were on the plane. It was nothing personal, I simply chose not to talk about it because I was too busy working on making it happen. I also don’t like to talk about things until they’re 100% sure (I’d rather just do these things), so I suppose I was part of the notification problem as well. Either way, it’s about doing it, not about sitting around talking about it. I can see memories reeling through your head right now, of all the acquaintances you know who talk about doing big things instead of actually doing big things. You’re probably guilty of it, too – I know I am.
Two of the greatest hurdles for people are the two scariest things in the history of the world: uncertainty and the unknown. It’s what drives fear. It’s what drives war, religion, attack, surrender, going, stopping, and everything in between. I won’t delve into this too much, as the great bloggers Niall Doherty (click for his post on Disrupting the Rabblement) and Sean Ogle (click for his post on Location 180) both recently tackled it. Their posts and blogs are worth your time.
If you really want to do something – I mean really want to do something – then do it. You can overcome uncertainty and the unknown. You need confidence, desire, and an actual belief that you can achieve it. You might fail a few times, but as they say, there’s nothing wrong with failure as long as you learn from it. Or, failure is the greatest motivator, or whatever it is.
This could be learning a foreign language, quitting your day job, starting a blog, being location independent, traveling the world full-time, moving overseas for work, finding a guy or girl that you actually connect with, and pretty much anything and everything you’ve ever done worth mentioning in your entire life. If you want it bad enough, there’s a way to make it happen. Don’t even get me started on the endless blathering from people who said we’d never be able to move to Germany, that we would find it impossible to get residency permits, that we wouldn’t be able to get an apartment, that we wouldn’t be able to learn the language. Well guess what? Among other supposedly “impossible” things, we moved to Germany, we obtained two-year residency permits, we got the first apartment we applied for, and we both learned German (well, that’s a never-ending process – even for native speakers).
Don’t be fooled by the devils of uncertainty and the unknown. If you really want something bad enough, then do whatever it takes to make that happen. Get another job, quit another job, save your money, spend some money, sell your possessions, meet new people, extract yourself from the arms of negative people, cut your hair, get that tattoo, reconnect with your parents. Oh, but you have “extenuating circumstances?” What, do you think you’re the only one with a problem? The only one with a roadblock? Whatever it is, if you want it, make it happen.
What, you thought this was supposed to be easy? If it was so easy, everyone would do it! The hardest part might just be your decision to take action. Everything after that is a learning process, a set of steps (or an outline) that you’ll often make without knowing it, some probable failures – and ultimately, success.
I had tried – but obviously not tried hard enough – to move overseas in the past. (Excluding the times I actually did move overseas for school.) I’ll never forget the exact moment when we went from ‘discussion’ to ‘action’. The time and place don’t matter. What matters is that Angela and I collectively said we would do whatever it takes to make it a reality. We said that we knew there would be roadblocks along the way (as we literally drove around them during a short road trip), and that we’d have to figure out how to navigate them. We also said that we had to stop letting our fears overrun our dreams. We knew it wasn’t going to be easy, so we made a decision right then and there to take action and do whatever it took to make it happen. Why? Because we wanted it. And that’s all you really need.
Was there ever a situation you recall where you had to push past uncertainty and the unknown in order to make a dream become a reality? Are you working on something now? Are you still struggling with the unknown? We’d love to hear what’s going on with you – let us know in the comments!