post written by: Marc Chernoff

10 Lies You Will Hear Before You Pursue Your Dreams

Pursue Your Dreams

Unfortunately, just before you take your first step on the righteous journey to pursue your dreams, people around you, even the ones who deeply care for you, will give you awful advice.  It’s not because they have evil intentions.  It’s because they don’t understand the big picture – what your dreams, passions, and life goals mean to you.  They don’t understand that, to you, the reward is worth the risk.

So they try to protect you by shielding you from the possibility of failure, which, in effect, also shields you from the possibility of making your dreams a reality.

As our friend Steve Jobs says:

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life.  Don’t be trapped by dogma, which is living with the results of other people’s thinking.  Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice, heart and intuition.  They somehow already know what you truly want to become.  Everything else is secondary.”

Here are 10 ill-advised tips (lies) people will likely tell you when you decide to pursue your dreams, and why they are dreadfully mistaken.

  1. You can follow your dreams someday, but right now you need to buckle down and be responsible. – Someday?  When is ‘someday?’  Someday is not a day at all.  It’s a foggy generalization of a time that will likely never come.  Today is the only day guaranteed to you.  Today is the only day you can begin to make a difference in your life.  And pursuing your dreams is what life is all about.  So don’t be irresponsible.  Don’t wait until ‘someday.’  Make today the first day of the rest of your new life.
  2. You’re totally screwed if it doesn’t work out. – Wrong!  This is a giant, lame load of BS.  You’re not even close to being screwed.  In fact, the worst case scenario is that things don’t work out and you have to go back to doing exactly what you are doing right now.
  3. It’s safer to stay at your day job. – Sure, I suppose.  But you know what’s even safer than that?  Going home, locking yourself in your bedroom, and never, ever coming out.  And just like that you will have flushed your entire life and your dreams down the toilet.  Remember, safer doesn’t always mean better.
  4. That’s impossible! – It’s only impossible if you never do anything about it.  The reason certain things seem impossible is simply because nobody has achieved them yet.  But this doesn’t mean that with your help these things won’t become possible in the future.  If you truly dedicate yourself to an end result, almost anything is possible.  You just have to want it bad enough.
  5. Only a lucky few “make it.” – That’s because those lucky few got off their rear ends and did something about it!  They had the drive, determination, and willpower that you have right now.  You can be one of them.  It’s up to you, and only you.
  6. You might fail.  And failing is bad. – Failures are simply stepping stones to success.  No matter how it turns out, it always ends up just the way it should be.  Either you succeed or you learn something.  Win-Win.  The biggest mistake you can make is doing nothing because you’re too scared to make a mistake.  If you can’t handle failure, then you can’t handle success either.
  7. You don’t have access to the right resources. – It’s not about having the right resources; it’s about exploiting the resources you do have access to.  Stevie Wonder couldn’t see, so he exploited his sense of hearing into a passion for music, and he now has 25 Grammy Awards to prove it.  Get it?
  8. You need more money saved before you can take the first step. – You don’t need more money.  You need a plan.  You need a budget.  Eliminate ALL the nonessential costs in your life.  If pursuing your dream requires you to leave your day job, figure out the absolute minimum amount of income that you require to realistically live.  Studying those who have succeeded with similar ventures also helps.  But above all, take baby steps.  Don’t be foolish and assume that you must have a certain amount of money saved right now, or that you must quit your day job today in order to pursue your dreams.  Instead, ask yourself, “What actions can I take right now with the money and resources I have right now that will bring me closer to desired goal?”
  9. You don’t need any help.  It’s smarter to go after it alone. – You are the sum of the people you spend the most time with.  If you hang with the wrong people, they will negatively affect you.  But if you hang with the right people, you will be far more capable and powerful than you ever could have been alone.  Find your tribe and work together to make a difference in all of your lives.
  10. That sounds like a lot of hard work. – You’re darn right it does!  But that doesn’t mean it’s not worth it.  I think success in life hinges on one key point: Finding hard work you love doing.  As long as you remain true to yourself and follow your own interests, values and dreams, you can find success through passion.  Perhaps most importantly, you won’t wake up a few years from now working in a career field you despise, wondering “How the heck am I going to do this for the next 30 years?”  So if you catch yourself working hard and loving every minute of it, don’t stop.  You’re on to something big.  Because hard work ain’t hard when you concentrate on your passions and dreams.

Disregard these misguided bits of nonsense and you’ll be well on your way to fulfilling your dreams.

Now get out there and make a splash!

Photo by: Gigi 62

Download the ebook If you enjoyed this article, check out our new best-selling book.
Marc and Angel Subscription via Email And get inspiring life tips and quotes in your inbox (it's free)...

Enter your email address to get new articles delivered for free:


  • This is a wonderful piece of article. It sums up everything a “safe” person needs to learn to venture into life. Great article!

  • Love your posts, Marc! They always inspire me to keep going.

    By following my passion for Music, I am now in the process of creating a 501c3 arts organization which was a dream of mine. My approved incorporation papers just came back and now all the real hard work is beginning. But I wouldn’t change a thing because I love it! I’ve definitely experienced a handful of those ‘lies’ come my way, esp. from my parents :-( , but I know my truth and the path I need to follow and when times get tough and I’m being down on myself, I love that I can come here for a source of encouragement and inspiration.

    Thank you for your beautiful words!

  • i really loved point number 3, very well written!! yes staying in the room is the safest option!

  • Wow, wow, wow… I’ve been hearing SO many of these lately and it’s so inspiring to read this post and realize that I’m not the only one to hear these things. Thanks so much for this!

  • Hey Marc,

    Lots of inspirational reasons here. I think we often fall into the fallacy of thinking that if we go after our dreams and fail we think that’s it, it wasn’t meant to be. But, often if you persevere and try again (sometimes it takes a different approach), you can be successful in your dreams. I quite like your #2 point. People forget that often you can go back to whatever you were doing before you started pursuing your dreams. Corporate jobs aren’t going anywhere, if that’s what you have to go back to for a spell. No shame in regrouping and trying again. The same is giving up or not pursuing your dream in the first place.

  • Marc,
    This post is so absolutely perfect and dead-on. There are a million reasons not to seize your dreams right now — but only one reason that you must: because now is the only time you have.

  • Marc,
    I LOVE this!! So true - it is within all of us…our dreams. And if we roll up our sleeves and really go after them…all sorts of amazing will happen!

  • I’ve heard most of those bits of not-so-helpful advice, and then some. I’ve realized that when I step out and do something off the path, it feels threatening to others–it makes them realize that it really is possible to go ‘out there’ and removes their own excuses for staying so firmly rooted where they are.

  • I LOVE this outline of pure:

    F alse
    E vidence
    A ppearing
    R eal

    Many people surrender themselves to whatever their current situation is and lose drive and more importantly PASSION to be persistent and keep their wheels in motion. For every instance where someone gave up, their is a success story to cancel out the negative. We ultimately have the control of where our focus is, and if we push through, we will achieve our goals and realize the dream!

  • Marc

    As a mother I bite my tongue at times rather than say any of those phrases - I recognize many of them.

    I am reminded that when you try to help a caterpillar become a butterfly by helping it out of it’s cocoon you kill it. It is the same with those you love - if you protect them to much you suffocate them.

    Anyway I have still my dreams to follow too!

  • This article has made me think about what I have reached so far in my life and if the moment has come to change direction…thanks

  • Very good post, It really makes me think… But what if you don’t know what you want? I can’t find what is it that makes me want to fight for.

  • Those negative words are like mosquitoes buzzing in my ears. I have heard them from people who have nothing to lose or gain whether I succeed or fail and I often wonder if jealousy or just lack of creative thinking on their part is the motivation for their negative thoughts. I learned to write down what I want and to focus on that and have faith that it will happen. And turn my deaf ear to the nay sayers. Surprised myself at times with that method, and it started out as a silent personal experiment.

  • Another great post…I have heard every single one of those “lies” at least once (and as many as a 100 times) over the last 6 years…your key point of advice is exactly what I did…follow your passion…

    Naomi…Find your passion…what makes you smile…take your favorite hobby or interest and make it your job…

  • Awesome! *said in a high pitched, very girly, very excited, sing-songy voice*

  • Thank you for the lies.
    It opens up the truth.
    Yes, when is someday?
    Someday I might lose my enthusiasm.
    And isn’t that irresponsibility?

    Anything is possible :)

  • Marc,

    It feels like serendipity. I am pursuing what i love beyond all else, and it’s an incredibly hard road, and many one of a kind scenarios have come up that have given me the short end of the stick. Today maybe the worst of all of them has happened, and this article is the first thing i see when i go to your blog. I guess it’s meant to be.


  • you are truly right, but i’m still doing my dream my part time, and make the people around us undestrand what we really want to do

  • So true - great list. Thanks for the inspiration!

  • BEST BLOG IN THE WORLD WITH THE BEST ADVICE!!!! Your words inspire me SO much. I also got some of my friends reading it as well.

  • Nice one. Well stated.

  • Thanks everyone! ;-)

    I know this article was a bit more stern and ‘in your face’ than usual. But I think it had to be stated this way. I know so many smart, capable people who stall on their dreams simply because others have poisoned their minds with a million reasons why their dreams are unachievable. And it’s just not true.

    Anything is possible. But we have to take action. And we have to start now.

  • We all have to open our eyes and see the truth. The negative things we hear in our head are only lies. We can get anything we want, obtain what we desire and full fill our dreams to the max. Only when we realize that 60,000 thoughts a day rules our life and if the majority of that is positive, where good. Keep the ratio, on your side. Think big, work hard and chase history! peace!

  • You forgot one:
    “You want to do that AND have kids/ family? Yea right.”

    Although I do find all stated inspirational, you consider the fact that maybe this post is leading people to consider going into “good debt” which is contributing towards our nations economic fail currently.

    It’s hard to figure out what you love in terms of a job, but if you find something that you are good at and that gives back to society, that’s a good start.

  • Hi Marc,

    Powerful post here! I think number 2 is so true. What is the worst thing that can happen? This question should be in our mind all the time. Thanks for sharing

  • Hi Marc. They’re all good points that stir the blood. But I particularly like No. 6. That’s our (at times) over-zealous, fearful mind speaking to us. How can it ever be wrong to take the step that our own wisdom and integrity tells us to take…a step that if taken opens the door to a new world that will otherwise remain forever unknown?

  • Agree, people love to tell you it will not work and all sorts of negative things. Envy is usually behind what is disguised as caring. And what we shouldn’t forget is that politicians use the same messages to control the people - “don’t get out of line stick to what we want you to do”.

    By the way, success is only an inch away from failure. Wrote an article to that effect that’s very popular
    that you may enjoy.

  • Thanks for this article. #8 is exactly what my dad told me before I moved out of his house and went to live 2000 miles away (at the age of 22), and so far I’ve proved him wrong. Thanks again!

  • I love this statement, ” Failures are simply stepping stones to success.” A psychologist friend asked me yesterday if I would be comfortable to speak to one of his clients who was too fearful to start her own company. This quote has been the thing that I have adopted. It stops that fear in it’s tracks!

  • My favorite blogpost among all your other blogposts I’ve read till now, and I’ve read many of them!
    My friends loved it too, and many shared it.
    Thank you for those 10 lies. :) :)

  • Great post! I love, “But you know what’s even safer than that? Going home, locking yourself in your bedroom, and never, ever coming out.” So true!

  • Marc & Angel,

    My friend Curtis Edenfield just turned me on to you all’s blog! Just wanted to say this post really inspired, such, that I decided to write on it a little myself! Check it out if you’d like @

    Also, you all have become the 1st blog we officially follow on ours!

    Thank you

    Pablo & Sierra

  • Thank you. I took the big step but was scared of the follow through. I know I have nothing to lose so I should follow up because the worse that can happen is that they say, “No.” Well than that is their problem and NOT mine. I went after my dream and learned from it. Thank you for the kick in my butt to pursue this and not stop until I get what I came for.

  • Very good set of point as there are always reasons for and reasons against - and then there is risk preferences and determination. Achievers as I found at take action - that is how they become amazing. So, go for it - if you never go you will never know.

  • Just what I needed to read right now. If I would have listened to such “reasonable advice”, I wouldn’t have most of my college experiences, have lived in other parts of the country nor have reunited with the old friend I ended up marrying.

  • What a great article! Thank you for these tips. I am currently in a situation where I am trying to follow my dream and this is exactly what I needed to hear!

  • Huzzah!!! I will toast the next beer I drink to you. What an amazing blog! Thank you for the tips, it is exactly what I needed to read at this moment.

  • These sentences are actually what I did hear from my father 7-8 years ago. I deeply regret for not pursuing my ultimate dream and study what I really wanted, fashion design. Now, after spending all of the planned money for my education and earning my diplomas in bachelor and master degree with honors and merits in business studies, doesn’t make me proud that I was a good student. Now I have the most boring job in public administration that I never wanted to do. And it makes me sad and devastated to wake up every morning and compete with my bitchy colleagues for a job position that doesn’t even make me happy. If only I could turn back the time, …. ;(

  • Marc, this is right on. I hear those things a lot when I was grown up and a young adult. Everyone has the right to fullfill there dreams. And it much easier when the people you depend on are behind you rather then in front of you tell to stop chasing your dream.

  • No. 7 & No. 8 reminds me of a great quote from Jack Ma, AliBaba’s founder,

    “There were three reasons why we survived. We had no money, we had no technology, and we had no plan. Every dollar, we used very carefully. . . .”

    I’ve used those words countless times to inspire me.

  • You don’t know how poignant this article is to what I just got done writing to a friend of mine. I click over to this link - provided to me by another friend - and here it all is: exactly what I needed to hear. The universe is full of subtle yet powerfully transforming synchronicities and you were the one bringing this one about today, for me, right now. Thank you for this. Peace.

  • I like the general idea of this article, but you are DEFINITELY speaking from the mind of someone that doesn’t have anyone else counting on them. I, myself, am a single mother and do not have the luxury of “chasing my dream” quite yet. Mine and my son’s life relies on me making a steady pay cheque so that we have a place to live, food on the table, and all the other necessities of life. “Someday” is a word I have had trouble coming to terms with, but for the time being, I have nothing else. So please, the next time you call “us” out for procrastinating, think of all the other possibilities.

  • Awesome post! I think I heard all of these lies in the years I was trying to figure out what my calling was. There comes a time when you just have to ignore it all and do what’s going to make your heart and soul happy. Life’s way too precious not follow your dreams!

  • Marc,
    This post/blog is absolutely brillant. Thank you so much for the inspiration!

    BEST BLOG EVER, hands down :)

  • Your posts are amazing, practical, and easy to do. However, just because it’s easy to do, it doesn’t mean we’ll do it. Great suggestions. Great thoughts to ponder. Great to get people thinking and hopefully doing. I very much appreciate your insites and suggestions. Thank you.

  • Awesome list. Now can you post versions of everything that is the positive opposite of these? This is already the statements I have in my head. Let’s have statements that you WANT to have in your head! Thanks!! <3

  • Marc,

    I like the article, but I have an issue with a couple of the points that you bring up.

    In point #3 you contend that keeping your day job is the “safe option.” It’s not. More than 90% of the American workforce are in “at will” jobs, meaning that a company can terminate you pretty much any time they need. When you own your own company, YOU make the decision of who’s employed and who’s not… are you going to fire yourself or someone else?

    In section #5 you make it sound like owning your own business in the US is a rarity and that you have to be “lucky” to run your own company. In 2004, there were approximately 24.7 million businesses in the United States and 99% of those have fewer than 500 employees, meaning that there are more than 24 million small business owners in the United States - In a society where there are only about 190 million working age adults, that’s not that rare, nor does it take that much “luck.” Although to make a truly successful go of it, some of that hard work that you mentioned is certainly necessary.

    And finally, in section #8 you talk about not having enough money… Firstly, unless you’re maxed out on your credit cards, you’re probably already sitting on an easy to use revolving line of credit for your company. Secondly, as my best friend once told me, you’ll never have enough money for “_________.” In his case he was talking about having a child, but it applies to starting a business as well. If you’re always hedging your bets and trying to save up enough money in case “x” happens, you’ll never act. Some times you’ve just gotta go for it. (As an aside, if you are maxed out on your credit cards, you might want to reconsider your business planning skills or at the very least consider hiring a CFO for your company right off the bat.)

  • Your p0st is an excellent one. According to me, we already know all these things. But the problem is that we don’t bother about thinking so deep that you are thinking about it. Love it.

  • Encouraging post & thoughts!! Thanks for the reminder that we shouldn’t be dismayed by the negativity & push-back we receive when setting out on the course that isn’t “Safe!”

  • Thank you for putting this blog post out, it really hit home for me. I am going to bookmark this on my laptop computer so that when I feel despair, when close friends and family think my dream is frivolous or say ” come on, get real, only a lucky few make it, what are the chances you’re gonna be one of those who can do that” I will read this post to stick to my guns and to keep my dream alive. If there is will there is a way.

  • Thank you for such a wonderful post! Some lies I once believed stole nearly 10 years of my life until I could just take it no more and became a total mental wreck, trapped in an office job i hate and conflicting, killing thoughts. Thanks for reminding me that my dreams are still within reach.

  • Thanks for this post. It came at a right time for me. Been having problems thinking whether I should pursue certain goals, and today someone discouraged me about it. I know I want to give them a try and I think those people who are always telling such things just don’t know anything about me, to what extent I would go to to achieve my dreams. Thank you again :)

  • OMG, just thank you for this article!

  • All the points here are real and worth sharing. They’re especially great for comprehending the noted kind of circumstances when you approach them. is the best blog I have ever come across. Thanks so much for writing this masterpiece. I will re-plan my big plans now (after reading your this post).

  • Thank you! This is just what I needed to hear. So many people don’t even realize they are telling you lies; they think they are helping by ’shielding you from failure’. It is good to identify so you can tune them out. The worst piece of ‘advice’ I ever received is - ‘be realistic’ - just two words that can damage a spirit like a deflated balloon.

  • Thank you for such an amazing article! You’ve really inspired me to re-look at my own identity and the convictions I have embedded in my soul.

    In my society, I had really wished for people to know about your post because we have a variety of social pressures hindering ourselves from reaching our potential!!
    In a nutshell, we are overly fascinated by the notion of “security” be it in terms of being able to sustain a family, having a job/ career that others deem socially acceptable, etc. much due to our ever prevalent Asian culture. (Although it should be noted that such a behaviour may not be totally detrimental to oneself and to society as a whole with the correct approach and methods in advocating it.)

    However, with the points raised from this article in mind, perhaps we should all reflect on ourselves and ask…really…Why should our dreams be affected, twisted and tainted by the perceptions of society and perceptions created by ourselves? That’s why I found this article particularly inspiring. It was the spade to uncover the hidden tomb encasing our pure, “ever-beating” heart.

  • As an aspiring artist/illustrator, your article stopped my heart for a moment, because those are the exact words that my mother and father pressed down upon me. Now, with a scholarship to the art college of my choice, and having sold some paintings, I actually believe I can become who I want to be…Thank you. You have no idea how much this article helped me out in my time of need. I will never give up my dreams. YOLO

  • what a wonderful article. It has really inspired me to take on my dreams. I always dreamed of becoming a great soccer player but people says I m too old for it. ( I am 20 years old ). will definitely go after it with a bang! Cheers!

  • Wow this summed up every fear I have in pursuing what I love, which is art, music, film, learning a new language and travel. I feel encouragement at last that hard work and love for what you do does pay off. Thank you, I want to continue to improve my world.

  • Thank You very much. You may not know it, but YOU are saving lives here. You saved mine. And I’m grateful.

  • Thank you! I shall read this like 10 times a day until I will finally realize that being 28 years old is not too late to be a musician!

  • I had the idea of creating my own career that corresponds with the military. I want to create new military robotic machines of defense. What’s sad is even some of my teachers told me that it’s impossible and it would never work. But my thoughts about that is, BS I will create robots that can and will go to war in place of man. For a life is not replaceable, but a machine can always be rebuilt.

  • Wow this is inspiring, I’m differently going to pursue my love for music than to be a darn judge. Thanks again for this article. Wish everyone thought this way about their lives n stop making excuses or listening to people who don’t share the same vision as they do. People are not living in your head, so they will never understand how you see your dreams.

  • Truly inspiring! I am amazed… powerful, thought provoking, I have been off from work for four months with depression nothing doctors said or proscribed ever came close to the light that just came on.

    No more excuses all i need to do now is remember what my dreams are.

Leave a Reply