Lately whenever I sit down to watch a movie, I am instantly drawn to the movies with a main character who is facing some kind of insurmountable challenge. They refuse to give up too and they get what they want in the end. Their dreams come true and it’s fabulous. I know, it sounds too good to be true, but it’s not.
Now one thing that these strong characters in books and movies have in common is their tenacity. I love that word and it’s meaning. Tenacity. Determination. Even when everyone around them is treating them like they are crazy or insane, they remain unfaltering to get what they want. Even when their professional colleagues and friends desert them, they still keep going to achieve whatever it is that they want to have or do.
The movie I watched last night, Contact starring Jodie Foster, exemplifies exactly what I am talking about. Jodie Foster plays the main character of Elenor ‘Ellie’ Arroway, an brilliant astrophysicist who’s dedicated her life to the search for extra terrestrial life or intelligence (ETI). She’s fierce, strong, driven, and oozes confidence in her belief in ETI. Oh, and did I mention that she also has so many obstacles put in her path to get to do what she wants, search for extra terrestrial life. She gets ridiculed in public and is ostracized by others in her profession. Her mentor tries to force her to quit and go back to a normal field of study. She even spends 14 months trying to get funding for her project and gets rejected time and time again.
And she just keeps going! She doesn’t quit! I love the character of Elenor “Ellie” Arroway for this very reason. No matter how anyone around her treats her, she refuses to give up on her search, her dream. Even when her best friend tells her that maybe it’s time to quit, she refuses to abandon her dream.
So what can we learn from the character of Ellie Arroway?
Our lives are challenging enough, but can become even more challenging and difficult when we stand up and try break free from the norm and chase our dreams to live life on our own terms.
So what can we do about those challenges? What are our other options? What else can we do with our lives if not chase a dream and live life on our own terms?
Work for other people and help them build their dream? Succumb to peer or family pressure and do what others expect us to do to make them happy or so they will leave us alone even though doing what they want makes us feel lifeless and empty?
For me, those aforementioned options are simply not an option anymore. I refuse to live my life by other people’s standards and norms. Yes, I realize that by choosing to live the way I do will make a heap of people uncomfortable and that many people may not like me as a result, but I don’t give a shit. It’s my life. I guess you could say that I am like Ellie in that I refuse to give up on my dream, no matter what anyone else says about me or does to me.
So that brings up my next point: What can we do about the naysayers who may ridicule us or try to sabotage us as we chase our dream?
Limit contact with those people. Sounds harsh and mean, but why surround yourself with people who do not believe in you and what you are doing? Are you a glutton for punishment? Seriously….limit or end contact with people who belittle you and what you are doing. They aren’t trying to help you in any way by telling you to ‘give up’. In fact, I would go so far as to say that these people are your frenemies. (More about frenemies).
Go out into the world and find new people who love and support you. Seek out others like yourself who are chasing their dreams and you’re whole world will change. Sounds crazy, but it’s true. When I made friends with other writers and entrepreneurs like myself, I was able to find the love and support that I was lacking from some of my previous friends and colleagues.
Now, how do you stay motivated even when things aren’t working out the way you want them to right now?
Well, you just keep going, like Ellie Arroway does. You just keep going. You have faith and you believe in yourself and your dream. Put on some blinders. Do something everyday, no matter how small, that reinforces your dream. Instead of giving yourself the option to quit, take quitting off of your menu.
What about the dark times when chasing your dream gets so hard that you just don’t feel that you can go on anymore.
It’s during these times that you have to get into action and act ‘as if’. Don’t be fake with what you are doing, but remember your dream. Believe in it and yourself. Take a half and hour, close your eyes and think of all the reasons why your dream is important to you. Write them down in a journal.
If you are really struggling to find reasons why you are doing what you are doing and you’ve already written your big dream down, get it out and re-read it. Maybe add to it even. Take a bit of time to remember why you are chasing this dream. What it means to you? How does it make you feel? How will your life be different when you achieve it? Dig deep into your feelings and remember.
And don’t give up.
Be like Ellie.
Believe in yourself.
Believe in your dream….
and never give up!