Other People’s Dreams
“I play tennis for a living, even though I hate tennis, hate it with a dark and secret passion, and always have.” ~ Andre Agassi
Isn’t it incredible that a man who was once the best tennis player in the world actually hates the sport? Tennis was his father’s dream, and it was for him that the younger Agassi devoted years of his life to being the best in the world.
Agassi’s story is only exceptional because it is high-profile. Far too many of us live other people’s dreams and pursue paths that aren’t our own.
We all know the rules – we know what is acceptable, prestigious, respectable and lucrative. We understand that to succeed in the game we must master the rules and do our utmost to outmanoeuvre our opponents. And we expect that in return for playing by the rules we will be rewarded and fulfilled.
Why then does it feel like something’s missing?
The problem with living according to other people’s plans is that it never feels authentic. It’s actually quite hard; it feels uncomfortable, like living in ill-fitting skin. Our own dreams go unattended, and if we ignore them long enough they are eventually forgotten.
Fortunately dreams never die, no matter how long they have been allowed to lie dormant. Occasionally we feel them stirring, calling to us to be set free.
Agassi’s retirement at the relatively young age of 36 gave him a way out, and he was fortunate that he had amassed enough resources during his tennis career to be able to pursue whatever dream he chose next. But most people aren’t so lucky, and many spend the bulk of their working lives stuck in an endless quest to make other people’s dreams come true.
Whose dreams are you living? Is your work an authentic expression of your hopes and desires? Or does it feel as if you are chasing an elusive target?
There is always time to answer the call of your dreams, to change course when it feels as if you are on a road to nowhere.
- Stop. The very act of stopping to consider where you are going is powerful. It signals a willingness to listen to what your inner voice is telling you.
- Listen. Only you can hear the call of your authentic path. You will recognise it by its resonance, by the way its melody swells your heart.
- Act. Take action in the direction of your dreams. It doesn’t even need to be bold; it just needs to be definite. Set foot on the path, and your dream will come to meet you.
Andre Agassi became the best in the world doing something he hated. Imagine what he could have achieved had he devoted the same focus and dedication to a dream he loved.