The dream is private. The pursuit is public. This distinction alone explains why many people never get around to following their dreams.
Being a dreamer is safe. No one criticizes you, or misunderstands you, or gets mad at you, or abandons you, or feels disappointed in you merely for having dreams. We all have creative ideas and as long as they remain safely tucked away in our imaginations, we have hope of maintaining our peace with the world.
Once you give expression to your creative impulses, there’s no going back. Once you put an idea out there, you’ve projected a portion of your personality and philosophy into the physical world. And that makes you vulnerable. For every adventurous personality who dares to diverge from the beaten path, there’s an old classmate or acquaintance somewhere who’s busy trying to figure out why their old buddy went off the deep end. That’s who you’re going to be if you step out and start creating.
But what’s the alternative? Listen to Jason Fried’s description of a person we’ve all met in some form or another:
“We all have that one friend who says, “I had the idea for eBay. If only I had acted on it, I’d be a billionaire!” That logic is pathetic and delusional. Having the idea for eBay has nothing to do with actually creating eBay. What you do is what matters, not what you think or say or plan.”
You can be the person who creates something awesome at the risk of being misunderstood. You can also be the person who keeps their ideas hidden from scrutiny at the expense of becoming delusional.
If you really have interesting ideas, you deserve to give yourself the chance to see what would happen if you acted on them. Don’t be content to create the next eBay in your mind alone. Let the world get a taste of your ideas. We’re waiting.