Often I’ve seen myself as a hapless dreamer, stuck in a world full of seeming coincidences, in which everyone is whining and wallowing in self-pity, making up all sorts of excuses instead of trying to better themselves. After all, it’s easy to get caught up in the rat race, running from one thing to the next, thinking that participating in the race itself will bring you happiness. But, all this extra competition really brings you is stress and eventually an empty bank account.
As a hapless dreamer, I figured, maybe my time will come around someday. In the meantime I’d continue working on being happy with what I have right then, and enjoying each moment as it comes instead of wishing it was different than it is or thinking about some distant future that may never come. In times where people seem to be falling into seemingly hopeless circumstances, it seems my perspective as a hapless dreamer may in fact be somewhat useful to share.
Before we continue, let’s agree first on the nature of coincidence. A coincidence occurs when something that’s not common or predictable happens. Usually, coincidence is used in reference to two unlikely things happening together by chance. There are many different interpretations of coincidences, which makes them intriguing. Many people believe that they’re caused by fate or divine intervention, but others think of coincidences as just part of an ordinary occurrence: the world being a place where things naturally occur together from time to time.
Sometimes, these coincidences seem to be in direct contact with our own lives, sometimes positively affecting our life’s trajectory. Unfortunately, most of the time, these coincidences can indirectly steer us off course. Of course, you must remind yourself, Life doesn’t really revolve around you. Nothing that you do or say is as important as you think it is.
This is not to say you’re insignificant. Instead, it’s about being more aware of when you’re blowing things out of proportion. What’s even worse is that we turn those blown-up things into huge parts of our identity. If anything, realize how many people are probably thinking or saying something similar to whatever you’re going through right now. Not every terrible thing that happens to us is personal. There’s just not enough time in a day for everyone to go through something bad, let alone have something personal befall them at any given moment.
At times, it seems like the only reasonable choice is to give up. But, is it ever OK to give up? There is one thing you can definitely give up: trying to avoid failure. Sure, no one likes to think about failure. But, if we’re going to create new things, we need to get comfortable with it, and even expect it. In fact, if you accept failure as part of your learning process, you’ll end up happier and more productive in every venture you undertake.
For example, many entrepreneurs have learned how to fail quickly, cheaply, and publicly. They know that failing doesn’t mean giving up; instead, it’s just another step on their way toward success. The more you go through life looking for ways you can fail successfully, the better person you will be! Not only will learning how to fail help you become overall more successful, but learning how not to let yourself get bogged down by setbacks is vital when pursuing your next project or venture.
It doesn’t matter if you’re good at what you do. I’ve had many struggles with self-improvement, mostly because it seems I’m never good enough at what I do. Now, if you’ve ever taken an entrepreneurship class, as I did in my senior year of high school, you’ve probably been told that having good ideas is only half of what it takes to make your business successful. Unfortunately, I rarely have applied this advice outside of solely business-related ventures.
It seems many of my favorite quotes about entrepreneurship come from Steve Jobs, but it can’t be helped. In fact, this particular quote can be applied to just about any aspect of life. Jobs once said,
“You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that dots will somehow connect in your future.”
Back to the rat race I mentioned earlier, we tend to focus so much on getting ahead because we are afraid of being left behind. But, what if instead we were okay with being average or even mediocre at first? What if we were okay with not always knowing how things are going to work out?
Wake yourself out of your comfort zone occasionally. It’s difficult, but it will make you stronger in so many ways. Think of it as practice. You also must be compassionate with yourself. Give yourself a break for being human. Make sure you don’t set expectations too high for yourself or expect perfection. Mistakes will happen, and that’s okay! The important thing is that you learn from them. The beauty of life comes from just how vast it really is; just when you think things are getting bland or boring, something can come along to bring some excitement into your life! Believe me, there is plenty to do out there, even if it’s not always obvious.
Always be on the lookout for signs and omens. If you ever have a feeling or think of something that seems particularly important or odd, try to remember it. If you see an owl on your drive home, it might not be very significant; if you see an owl when you’re thinking about quitting your job, it might be. Don’t be too quick to dismiss seemingly insignificant moments; sometimes, they can mean everything. You never know when that sign is going to point you in another direction entirely! See, coincidences aren’t always a bad thing; in fact, sometimes they are a sign that things are about to change.
Also, remember, if things get bad enough, they will get better. If you’re able to maintain an optimistic view of your life, then you are going to be better off than someone who doesn’t. When things are going bad, it is easy to get discouraged because we start focusing on what is going wrong instead of what is still right. There will always be problems in life and people that dislike us. But, it is our job to find what we can love and then search for opportunities within those problems. This mindset may not make all of our struggles go away, but it will help keep them from making us feel worse than necessary.
Get up, stand up: we are all dreamers, and this is our world. Whatever it is that’s holding you back, whatever excuse you have for not trying harder, dreaming bigger, working longer—it’s just that: an excuse. Successful people work to better themselves every day; they don’t wait for everything to be perfect before acting. You aren’t going to find yourself enlightened with wealth and happiness over night, but small things matter.
Work on yourself everyday; get up at 6 in morning even when you’re tired as hell from staying up late watching Game of Thrones reruns. Smile when you feel like frowning. Take pride in your work. Working hard will pay off eventually, but if not, then who cares? Think about how cool it would be if one day you woke up and everything went according to plan: what would you do?