Number One Reason Why People Have Trouble Following Their Dream

When you’re younger, everyone tells you that the key to happiness in life is following your dreams. If there’s one thing that you could do or be, what would you pursue? When the question is framed like that, figuring out what your dream is seems like a piece of cake. And then, without fail, reality comes knocking on your door. It forces its way in, picks up your dreams, and takes them away.

But why do we give up our hold on our dreams so easily? In a word: FEAR.

The Biggest Threat to Dreams: Fear

Fear is without a doubt the single greatest threat to dreams. It can take many forms and various ways. Some of the ways that fear prevents people from achieving their dreams include:

  • Becoming overwhelmed by the process
  • Being scared of the unknown
  • Letting past hurts and disappointments dictate future choices
  • Fear of failure
  • Lack of confidence in yourself
  • The habit of ‘settling’

Each of these is a manifestation of fear. Sometimes, our dreams seems too big, too complicated, and too far-fetched. Many people get overwhelmed at the prospect of starting out on the path to attain their dreams. Before they even begin, they start overanalyzing  and stressing about all of the many things that could go wrong. For many people, fear stops them from even trying to pursue their dreams in the first place.

Why Do You Struggle to Follow Your Dreams?

To get a better idea of why people struggle to follow their dreams, we asked a number of people their opinion on the matter.

Amanda Thomas, Liaison Technologies

I think that people are often stuck on the idea of doing something that will make them a lot of money rather than something that they are truly passionate about.


In my opinion, there are two major hurdles to following through on your dreams:

Fear - fear of the unknown and the requirements needed to realize your dream.

Inability to Change - people don't change until they are comfortable or ready. Sadly most live comfortably while their dreams die.


I think people struggle to follow their dreams for the following reasons:

1. They focus on what they "should" want instead of what they DO want.

2. Two competing  brain functions - dream zone or do zone. The "do" zone focuses on the practical realities and fears which ends up crushing the dream.


We tend to force “finding” our dream or our passion and expect that one day we’ll walk downstairs and there it is on the table – “Oh there’s my dream!”  In reality, our dreams/passion develop from our experiences -- exposure in work, volunteering, hobbies, athletics, helping friends, etc., once we see what’s valuable to us and to others, and how our skills can contribute.  

Dr. Maelisa Hall, PsyD

People often become conflicted about whether or not their passion should be their paid job. Consider whether you really want your paycheck to be dependent on your passion's stability.

Vincent Alcaras – Author

A Dream or a Nightmare?

Whether it's of failure or success, fear is strong enough to keep people in stasis; unable to admit to themselves what they want most in life. 

Annemarie Strehl

One key factor is that we are usually not taught or actively encouraged by parents and teachers to fully explore our dreams. Instead, we are asked to strengthen our knowledge, practice our talents and look for fits in "decent jobs" that allow solid traditional careers. This sort of approach makes following your dreams impossible.


People have trouble identifying their dreams because as children, a lot of our dreams are already shot down. People tell you it's not a good idea and sometimes, that’s enough to make you forgo your dreams.

How to Pursue Your Dreams

Now that you’ve identified what’s stopping you from achieving your dreams, how do you conquer that fear?

The best way to start realizing your dreams is to first identify what it is you want to do or achieve. Take small steps to identify where you want to reach and develop an action plan that will allow you to get there.

Remember, the best way to conquer your fear is to face it. Each small step you take is a step towards realizing the dreams you’ve always wanted to achieve.


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