"Follow Your Dreams" is Terrible Advice

Look. Not trying to be a killjoy here, but the whole “follow your dreams” crap is (in my not-so-humble opinion) a line of bullshit somewhere up there with “It’s not me, it’s you,” and “Jalapeño poppers are actually GOOD for you and will not leave you crouched over a toilet regretting your very existence.”

If I’d followed my dreams as a sixteen-year-old, I’d be a FUCKING MISERABLE concert pianist right about now, still bleeding on the keys and wondering why I felt so dead inside.

I like to think about dreams like ribbons. Violet and crimson and gold and carmine, all dangling down from an invisible ceiling around our faces. Some celestial being is offering us the chance to grab one, and follow that ribbon to its glorious end. So we, like dutiful humans, grab a dream, and wrap both grubby paws around it, and start hauling it into ourselves, wrapping it around our psyches until it strangles us.

“Follow your dreams” is NOT career advice.

It’s not a healthy lifestyle.

It’s not even good style input, because if so I would still be wearing palazzo pants which—considered objectively—actually make my ass look like stripey porridge.

“Follow your dreams” is a lot of things. It’s an antidote to the Puritan work ethic, which confuses pleasure with sin and perpetuates the outdated model of capitol industrialism, where 98% of people have to trade time for money and hope they don’t end up with the short stick at the end of their lives when they can’t do anything about it, because they don’t have any time left at all and really they should be spending long hours weeding their azaleas.

“Follow your dreams” is also a great reminder to stop the madness and seek out magic.

Like, walk away from your corporate job and travel the world. Leave your unhappy relationship and find a better one. Don’t settle for anything boring, because that is a kind of penance for shit you didn’t do.

However, I reiterate, “Follow Your Dreams” is not career advice.

You know what is?

“Try a lot of things until you find what you’re good at, then try doing that more until you figure out EXACTLY what you’re best at, and people beg to pay you for it.”

“Ask for what you want first, then make concessions on the little things.”

And the one I'm building an entire course about: “Take the time and work to learn who you are. Then, figure out how you can help the world. Then, go do it.”

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Emily McIntyreComment