The Manhattan Project--2016 A to Z Theme

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Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Ask Arlee: How Do I Know When It's Time to Stop?

Persistence (Photo credit: Vanessa Pike-Russell)
 The Dilemma of a Dream

        How often have you become so frustrated, tired, or bored with something you've been working at that you just want to give up and walk away?  

         I'm sure this has happened to many of you more than once.  The dream could be something that's gotten you fired up like a business idea, an endeavor you've poured your creativity into like a novel, or a  course of action like an educational pursuit.   For a while it's the thing that is the passion that consumes your being and then one day you stop and wonder if you're chasing fairy tales and trying to catch moonbeams.  Have you ever been riding on the wind and then one day find yourself blown into a corner that seems to be a dead end?

Ask Arlee:

         This may be the question Jeremy from  Being Retro (among other places).  Then again knowing Jeremy the question might just be a fun rhetorical question.  But of course knowing me I'm going to take it all serious and not only answer the question, but also I'm going to add clues to my Battle of the Band song pick for this coming Friday.  Have you caught any of the clues so far?

Jeremy [Retro-Z] said...
how to know when it's time to stop?

         Yeah, that's what he said--or asked.  Or whatever he did.  

         And my thought is this:  Even if you're walking with your head in the clouds, a dream still has validity.  If today things aren't working the way you were hoping, stop and reassess your goals.  What is it that you really want to achieve?   Have you been going about it the right way?   Maybe you need to refocus.  Or maybe just put things on hold for a while.  

         A worthy dream is not an elusive butterfly that takes wing to fly away when you lose hope.  Even good strong powerful dreams can lose momentum, but that doesn't mean they need to stop totally.  Reevaluate your progress along the road to your destination.  Park that dream car in the garage if need be and drive a different car for a while.  You can go back to the first car when you're ready for that one.

          Whether you end up on a stage before thousands burning a wild guitar with a famous rock band or in a quiet country pub playing Irish fiddle tunes, remember that it's not so much the magnitude of the dream you achieve as it is having achieved the dream in a way in which you can feel a sense of satisfaction.

           Your dream may not be a shining star exploding in the heavens, but a twinkle of hope on the horizon that you must patiently aim for in a slow trek forward.  Don't forget those who would be happy for you to reach your dream even if they don't know what that dream is.  There are a thousand smiles and nods of encouragement waiting to propel you forward.  You may not see them or know who they are, but I believe that there are many who want us all to succeed in what we dream.

         Yeah, take wing and fly to your dream destination.  Sometimes you may have to wait, change course, or sleep on it.  But don't stop.  Not completely.  Don't let a good dream die.  

         Have you ever given up on a dream and regretted it?   Did you ever persist at a dream that seemed to be dying to see it eventually revive and succeed?    What is the dream that you would most like to see come to fruition?    Can you guess what song I will be competing in Friday's Battle of the Bands post?

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  1. Oh, dreams, dreams, dreams....

    Though I shall not go into detail, I have enough regret from several failed dreams that you could, (if you looked sideways and squinted into the dying sun) call me the other name for a warm, English beer.

    (But I wouldn't change a single thing :)

  2. This reads like a really beautiful inspirational post, something that makes me feel like a fighter and makes me want to never give up on my dreams no matter the cost because it's what you've always done Lee, thank you for being so inspirational, sometimes it can be necessary to quit while you're ahead but I don't see why anybody should ever give up on their dreams if that dream means the absolutely world to them and they feel like they couldn't stop even if they wanted to.

  3. Nice post. So true. Good dreams never die.

  4. Given up on a dream? Like a real dream or one you have at night? I gave up on ever being happy but then Russell came into my life and that all changed. I am, however, giving up on the dream of being financially stable and owning a home. At our age no one will give us a 30 year mortgage and we don't have a downpayment or any retirement left so I foresee a trailer park in our future. :(

  5. I still dream of being a college professor, which first means getting my PHD. Not ready to give that up, you're never too old to dream or to pursue a dream. As for JoJo, my father only had his pension and SS (and not a big one - he retired from the steel mill) and he bought two homes after the age of 65, if you qualify financially they'll give you the mortgage, and age has little or nothing to do with it. Don't give up!

  6. I think one always needs to have a dream, but that we don't have to define our worth by whether on not we achieve it. Like life, the point is the journey, the growth, the process.

    And as to your song clues, my problem is that I see song clues in almost everything. :) Some off-the-top-of-my-head thoughts from possible hints in your post:

    -- "Dreams" (The Allman Brothers)
    -- "Dreams" (Fleetwood Mac)
    -- "Dreams" (Van Halen)
    -- "Daydream Believer" (The Monkees)
    -- "Swinging on a Star" (Frank Sinatra). The reference to moonbeams did it...
    -- "Don't Stop" (Fleetwood Mac)
    -- "Stop in the Name of Love" (The Supremes)
    -- "Shining Star" (Earth Wind and Fire)

  7. thank you for sharing your thoughts, i have always wondered when it was time to say when, i don't mean life. i think my life has always revolved around art, i get a thrill from creating something. not that everything is gold, just the thought of making it sort of giving it life.

    in the last few months i have been wondering why i do it, i came to the conclusion it is for me. i share a tenth of the things on my sites that comes from my head, i find that is a part of me. i used to write, but found a point in my life that said it was time to stop. once you stop you cannot just start again without relearning that part and not just in writing.

    keep your dream alive, do it for the right reason and find your right dream. i think i went off topic as i do, i read... i am inspired and i respond.

  8. I rarely make a choice to let a dream go but I have put off a few "until later", then waited until it was too late.

  9. I dream a lot, mostly about being a successful writer. I haven't been trying long enough to even think about giving up yet. I've just got to keep working at it.

  10. Mark -- The only real failure with dreams is not having ever done anything about them. If we haven't had a few shortfalls in our lives then we haven't lived to the fullest we could have.

    Yeamie -- Your comment has inspired me. Thank you. We shouldn't let a few frustrations stop us.

    Richard -- Encouragement helps us move forward. Thank you for yours.

    JoJo -- You never know what could happen. I can see a lot of advantages with that trailer park life. Houses have their own hassles to deal with.

    Yolanda -- I finally got my college degree at age 55. Sometimes a dream is just waiting in the wings before it makes its grand entry onto the stage of life.

    Chris -- Great song guesses! One clue though says "may not be a shining star" so that song is out.

    Jeremy - Nice addition to my post and I agree. We're fortunate to have outlets such as blogs where we can have greater creative expression that can have the potential to reach others. Thanks for the inspiration you gave me for today's post.


  11. LD -- Then again it may never be too late. We can always pass our dreams to another, especially those in upcoming generations. Dreams are seeds just waiting for the right soil and right conditions. When they start blossoming watch out!

    Sarah -- "Keep working at it" is the key. Don't stop dreaming, but work toward putting those dreams into action.


  12. Great inspiration! I will never give up on writing my book, but it has been put on the back burner a few times due to health and other family issues. Slow and steady can still win the race ;-)
    Tina @ Life is Good

  13. Great advice. It's better to have a dream even if you're struggling to reach it than to be a person who no rainbow to search for.

    Like Chris above, I thought of 'Don't Stop' by Fleetwood Mac but leaned more strongly toward 'Shining Star' by Earth, Wind And Fire. But since you've already dismissed the latter, I'll keep 'Don't Stop' and add a couple more possibilities.

    How about?...

    'Dream Weaver', the original by Gary Wright.

    'Midnight Train To Georgia', the original by Gladys Knight.

    Those would be my top two guesses.

    Another possibility, I suppose, could be 'Don't Stop Believing' by REO-Journey-Styx-Wagon. But I doubt that's it. And it's probably not 'Wind Beneath My Wings' either, but if it is, I will immediately cease 'Following' your blog.

    Trivia Question:
    Did you know 'Midnight Train To Georgia' was originally penned as 'Midnight Plane To Houston'? I'd call that a solidly good lyrical adjustment!

    ~ D-FensDogg
    'Loyal American Underground'

  15. The novel I was writing back in 2010 is on the shelf. I never could finish it and became so disgusted that I put it away. Does that mean I will NEVER take it out again? Nope. But, I am still quite happy not looking at it now. I am working on something else and it is good.

    No idea on your song. I see all of the possibilities offered up so far. It could be any or none of them. Your last post had nothing to do with dreams. You are tricky, my friend.

  16. I have given up on a dream and regretted it... so much so that it's tortured me for a decade... I think that's why I won't let myself give up on my writing. I'm sure that I would feel the same regret. Such a beautiful post. This really resonated with me.

  17. I think that's the unanswerable question. Or, maybe, the wrong question. Maybe both. What I can say is this: If what you're doing isn't working, something needs to change.

  18. I too believe in following one's dreams and never fully stopping. Taking a break, following another path for a while, sure. Sometimes dreams can change. After pursuing one for a while, it's possible to realize this isn't really it and adjust.
    Lots of song possibilities in your clues--I look forward to Friday.
    BTW--I'm answering your question on my blog in tonight's post. It'll go up around 7:30 as usual if all goes according to plan.

  19. Tina -- I know how life can get in the way sometimes, but we can keep going again when the roadway is clear again.

    Susan G/K- A dream without struggle is not a challenge. Overcoming challenge makes for a good story.

    StMc-- I'd never heard that bit of trivia, but changing the title was a good idea. You can continue following this blog. None of your picks were correct. A hint: bits of the song lyric are scattered through this post and my previous one.

    Robin-- Unfinished projects provide projects for the future. If they are painful then they must need some work, but not dismissal.

    Morgan -- Thank you. Most of us have given up on a dream or two. It doesn't mean we can't go back to it though even if we go back in a different way and for a different reason.

    Andrew -- I think that makes my answer in part similar to yours. If a plan is not working you just have to step back to see if you had the correct goals in mind. The spirit of the dream is usually okay, but the reality of achieving the dream as you have seen it may need to be reevaluated.

    Jagoda -- I think dreams often change when focus becomes more clear and we have a better picture of the reality of where we are heading with the dream.


  20. I have a terrible habit of not realising I've found success until after I've moved on. It's only until after I think back on what I achieved, that I realised I achieved more than I could see at the time. I can be seriously dense sometimes ;)

  21. I was dissuaded from pursuing a dream as a young teen and in latter years I regretted it when it was really too late to do anything about it.

  22. That is such a good question. Can't answer it but I sure am thinking....Thanks, Arlee and Jeremy.

  23. Thanks for the encouragement Arlee. Things are tough right now and I appreciate it!

  24. Great post Arelee and also very timely. Many times I feel like giving up this great or shall I say big writing dream and doing something else :(

  25. I often ask myself if pursuing a dream is worth the work and uncertainty. I'd like to believe it is...and as long as I keep believing it, then it has to be true. I appreciate what you said about even in times of doubt and lost momentum, it doesn't mean that it's time to throw in the towel, it doesn't mean that the dream is gone, it's just a time to reassess, maybe even take a break, but then continue down the path when you're ready. I have many moments of doubt and setbacks, but I never want to look at them as roadblocks, just bumps along the road. Persistence. Onward. Thank you for this post.

  26. All of my dreams involve writing, but I have a long life ahead of me, a wealth of ideas, and any number of our books could become #1 bestsellers. The key (for me, anyway) is to keep writing, keep putting out more books, and just see which one eventually takes off.

  27. Lynda -- I think that sometimes we have to distance ourselves before we see the bigger picture and everything put into perspective. Success can be measured in many ways.

    Jo-- Maybe you can't capture an old dream exactly how you once pictured it, but still have a part of that dream. Reassessing what you once wanted and where you are now might bring that dream back. I don't know that it's ever absolutely too late.

    Karen -- I like it if my posts inspire thought. Thanks for reading.

    Desert -- Things are tough for a lot of us. I know what you're saying.

    Rachna -- Go ahead and do something else for awhile, but don't totally give up that big dream.

    Michael -- Life is so filled with uncertainty. We should always be ready to adapt to change if it becomes necessary.

    Beer --Life goes so fast, especially when we look back on where we've been. Keep on truckin' but don't forget to take the breaks when you need them.


  28. I like your car analogy a lot. We've all got more than one (metaphorical) car in the garage and sometimes it's okay to take the non-dream one out for a spin. The view from that one can be illuminating. :)

    An excellent post, Lee.

  29. Nice post! It's always good to dream and encouragement helps. It's good to keep in mind the support and encouragement of others that help us have the hope of achieving our dreams.

  30. Suze -- Yeah, my mind frequently turns to travel analogies.

    Connie -- Going on one's own can be a lonely road to travel.


  31. Oh, I like this idea very much to reevaluate rather than give up. When inspired, I often find myself running off before getting the full message and as a result, sometimes I've got to about face or change course -- but you're exactly right, that doesn't mean the dream is dead. I'm reading this at a very good time. Thanks for asking the question, Jeremy, and for answering , Lee.

  32. I've spent quite a bit of time reassessing this week. It's good to step back. Sometimes we get lost in the process and/or work. We forget to aim the dart, master the technique and hit the bullseye. Then we wonder why so much times has passed, while we have little or nothing to show for our original goal. Goals aren't the roadmap. Reaching them is the result of taking the journey. Journeys have detours, and sometimes they change course altogether. All things for good, so take it in stride and keep moving forward. Thanks for another thoughtful post, Lee.

  33. As someone who quit a steady job of sixteen years to join the unpredictable world of freelancing, I know a thing or two about following a dream. I only wish I'd done it sooner. I should have listened to myself.

  34. I did walk away from a dream once. I'm not sure if I made a bad decision, but I do know that I wouldn't have the husband and the children I have today. I wouldn't be living in a place I love. I often think about "What if," but I can't say I regret my choice to let that particular dream go.

  35. Nicki -- Too many times people will up and quit without considering all the options they have available to them.

    MJ--Actually we all might do well to reassess the course we're taking on a weekly basis so we don't get too far off course.

    Kelly -- So many of us realize things like this too late. Since we are more resilient when we are younger we can deal with changing course more easily.

    C. Lee -- regretting is a waste of energy, but I suppose it's interesting to speculate the what if's.


  36. If you have genuine, sincere belief in your dream, you have a better chance of making that dream a reality.

    I dreamt that one day I would be as awesome as you, Lee. Then I woke up and realised that was just a delusional dream.

    Seriously, I never give up on dreams. No regrets, just different ways of looking at situations. I am not defined by my mistakes, what I learn from my mistakes, defines me.

    A good Sunday to you.


  37. Gary-- If we don't learn from mistakes we are missing the most important lessons that come our way. I have prolonged the successful attainment of my dreams by making some of the same lame mistakes repeatedly. Deferment of my dream due to not paying attention in class.

    Thanks for adding your thoughts.


  38. Timely post Lee! Thanks for the encouragement and nudge to keep on trucking. How are your dreams coming along? You must have wanted to be a DJ with all your Battle of the Bands!

  39. Buck-- I don't push the dreams like I should, but life still treats me well. Actually I have fantasized about being a radio DJ. I've pictured myself spinning discs late at night into the wee hours playing weird off-the-wall cuts and tossing out banter about this or that. The blog has been kind of a substitute for that dream.



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