Why "follow your dreams" is bad advice

Why "follow your dreams" is bad advice

“Every dead body on Mt. Everest was once a person who followed their dreams”
-A Quote on the internet

Everyone has big dreams in life, irrespective of age. When you are a kid, you have simple dreams like “I want to be a Pokemon master”, or “I want the 60 colours colour pencils set”. As you get older into your adolescent years you have dreams like “I want to ace the class”, or “I want to be the fastest runner in my class so I can impress my crush on sports day”. These are all trivial ones, but as you approach adulthood, depending on your influence it can be detrimental to have high aspirations beyond your risk factor. The rampant perversion of social media users to post “inspirational” quotes like “Work hard in silence and let your success make the noise”, “work so hard that your phone number becomes your bank balance”, “Become so famous that your signature should turn into an autograph”. Youngbloods desire to achieve something and this only fuels their desire, but they overlook the risks of following dreams.

Survivorship Bias

It is common to hear success stories of big tech founders “Bill Gates dropped out of Harvard”, “Mark Zuckerberg dropped Out of Harvard” and it inspires the younger generation to actually attempt such things. The problem with this is it actually sits in the minds of those who are considering it, eating up college dropout stories and think they can actually do it too. Youngsters are not known very well for taking calculated decisions and considering the consequences of their actions. Survivorship bias is at play here. The obsession to market success stories by the society and by definition to push the failed stories under the carpet downplays the difficulty of success. They fail to see that a lot of people that took said risks, like say, dropping out of college. Not all those who dropped out of college to follow their business venture or dreams were successful. For every one successful college dropout who made it big, there are thousands of dropouts who are living miserably after failing their dreams.

Glorification Of Hustling

The demonization of normal living in “hustle culture” which looks down on the 9 to 5 work culture is also a driving factor. People with stable jobs quit their work to “Be their own boss” and follow their dreams of being a billionaire, with no game plan whatsoever. In my opinion, a 9 to 5 job is the greatest, it gives you stability and the means to provide for yourself and your dependents (Conditions apply). And of course, a lot of them fail and ruin their health over it. The surge of inspiration after a Facebook quote binge makes you lose all reason and do dumb things.

Means To Dream Big

I have a personal belief that following your dream is a luxury, even so if you are on the low end of the economic strata. Though the current system might be frowned upon, we cannot deny it has helped a lot of average people to live a good life and take care of their dependants. And to abandon it is foolery. Especially if you can lose everything, if you fail at your venture.

Sacrifices are inevitable when you are growing up, want to be a streamer on the internet when failing to make it big can cost the livelihood of your family? Don’t. Want to be an actor who rakes in millions from every movie and have a large fan following, but failing to do so would bankrupt you? Don’t. Want to do the revolutionary business and take a loan by giving everything you own as collateral and failing to do so would leave you and your family homeless and on the streets? Don’t. It may sound pessimistic and telling you to live in the box may sound uncool. But if failure leaves you with nothing, it is better to not take a risk, as you have a higher probability of failure rather than success in the current world setup. Not everyone can be the chosen one who goes to save the world by vanquishing evil like in the video games you play. Some people are just meant to be NPCs.

It is only advisable to take risks like those if you have a backup plan or an alternate skill which can help you to secure means to provide for yourself. Generational wealth is also good too.  It should be “follow your dreams, but only if you have the means necessary to live with if you fail to do so”.