We often remember and bring up discussions about how silly our childhood dreams used to be: maybe you wanted to be an astronaut, or a fireman, or maybe you just wanted to have a chocolate castle and be a princess.
But here we are, not being astronauts… not living in a chocolate castle. Is it because we grew up and realized how unrealistic we are as children, or maybe we just forgot how to dream?
Whatever the answer is, there is one important lesson to be learnt; potential can only be harnessed where there is motivation. Lets break it down: When you are a child, curiosity is the first step to knowing what you love, which leads to motivation. You than start learning and exploring, sharpening your skills and finding the directions that can help you apply them, which leads to potential. One without another will not get you anywhere. You can only truly do something at your best if you love doing it. Some might argue that it is not crucial to like the activity you are doing or job you are having in order to be motivated to do it, as you can obtain motivation by setting yourself clear goals, with an optimistic thought that today’s effort will bring tomorrow’s happiness… but tomorrow will always be tomorrow. Look at Japan for instance; the third largest country by GDP due to the serious technological and industrial developments, yet the population rate is in decline and Japan finds itself placed 51 on the world happiness index.
Now, why and where does this shift in mentality happen? The more we grow, the more we feel “burdened” with commitments, and sometimes even debts (starting with students loans for most of us). People start become risk averse (at least they think so), assimilating their motivation with the first layer of their need’s fulfillment: money. So for the sake of short term benefit, we postpone our dreams. We might think that it is wise to do so, because we need stability to pursue our dreams, we need money! But the very truth lies in the fundamental economical theory of scarcity: a limited resource will result in more desire, in more need, and implicitly in more effort to acquire it. Not having money is one of the biggest helps entrepreneurs can get in the beginning. When in a scarce financial situation or when the projected business plan outreaches your abilities or possibilities, you will be at your upmost efficiency in finding the way to solving problems and be productive . It is the art of creating “something out of nothing”, and that is where the potential is. The only thing you need is motivation, sourced from passion and dedication by doing what you love. Its as simple as it gets. Everything and anything you do involves risk, it is the basic principle of opportunity cost, but the whole idea, as ironic as it might sound, is enjoying yourself while you are doing so. This means that we should only take risks for what we love, because there is no realistic way of avoiding them anyway.
In the end of the story, we all return to that one thing we always wanted to do. So the proposed solution is simple: never give your dream up in the first place. This is the only way of staying motivated and happy while productively working towards your long term goal; because no matter how rational we get, our fundamental impulse will always be emotional. It might sound idealistic, but in fact, it is the very incentive that drives any free market – it is the benefit of the two parties involved in an exchange that is “the most important single central fact about the free market” (Milton Friedman).