Does it come in black?

Dream big is the gray-haired, toothless tagline for success. The successful people that bellow those words into our eager faces rarely tell us what to do when our dreams come true.

Because no one has a clue. Having no clue is the one thing you can’t admit when you are successful. People will figure you lucked out. So everyone successful just pretends like they know what they are doing. Or worse, what they are talking about.

So what do you do then, when your dreams come true? Do you go buy yourself a batmobile and tell everyone, “I’d rather cry in my batmobile than on a bus,” each time you feel dead and empty inside?

Or do you, like most people, expound exaggerated platitudes, speak at large gatherings, write a book and start a podcast?

Before all that, you must celebrate your success, the big dream coming true.

And that’s where the problem starts. When success becomes the reason to do something.  And slowly, everything.

I don’t mean to be a depressive killjoy, but what exactly are you celebrating when you celebrate success? Are you celebrating the fact that you now have something you didn’t have earlier? Were you a failure all along then? Shouldn’t that make you feel, well, like, shit?

Here’s the truth: the celebration is an attempt to force happiness success did not bring. If you need a reason to celebrate, that in itself is a failure.

Okay. Maybe I am a killjoy. Maybe I should just pet my fluffy ordinariness and let the world celebrate. But it’s not the celebration I am against. The problem is with our belief that this big-dream-smattering-success is a (wooden) reflection of how well we have lived.

It’s not.

Success can prevent you from seeing one fundamental truth: that you are still the same personThe reason we claim to learn so much from failure is that we allow ourselves to be changed. Success gives you the feeling you don’t have to change; that others will change for you. 

This blog was my (big) dream once. But by the parameter of success in the blogging world, it’s not a success. It has a tiny reader base, makes no money and confuses the heck out of everyone that reads it. Should I admit failure and close shop?

That would be monumentally stupid. Because this blog is one of the best things I have done. If you think it’s a failure, it’s the best one I have had so far. And if tomorrow, hell bidding this blog goes viral and has like seven more readers, am I a success then? Does that mean I have arrived? Should I start speaking at conferences?

No. That means nothing. Nata. In fact, it may only stifle my writing because now I have this audience and stuff and everything I write will feel like crap. I may be big, but it will not be my dream anymore. Maybe that will be a good time to shut shop. Maybe that’s when I have really failed. Because I confused the dream with the bigness.

Life is not an even split between joy and sadness, pain and pleasure, success and failure. There is only one dichotomy. Living. Or not. Success is a thing for the nots. Don’t let it become the black box you live out of.

Finding out who you are is a grey, chaotic beauty of meaning, emotions, and change. Success is not permission. There’s no better way to waste your life than waiting for success to tell you who you are. Or can be.

Dream big.

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