Absurd Thoughts That Keep People in Midlife from Pursuing Their Dream

George J. Ziogas

It’s never too late to be what you might have been

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Our dreams are the things that give us life. When we follow our dreams, we find ourselves living fulfilled and satisfying lives that allow us to make valuable contributions to society, whether directly or indirectly. Many people struggle to pursue their dreams, particularly those in midlife.

It seems there are a host of barriers that keep them from venturing out and giving it a try if they haven’t already started the pursuit by then.

While many thoughts and fears can play a role in keeping someone stagnant, the following are some common absurd thoughts that prevent people in midlife from following their dreams.

“It’s Too Late”

Many people in midlife are plagued with the thought that entirely too much time has passed for them to begin pursuing their dreams. Often, people compare themselves to others and see people currently at the place they aim to be.

This comparison can make it seem like you’ve passed your peak and no longer have the time necessary to make your dreams happen. This assumption that you no longer possess the time to make your dreams come true can keep you from even taking the first steps needed to make them a reality.

“What Will Others Think”

Too much concern about what other people will think can also keep people in midlife from pursuing their dreams. People will often consider that others will have an unfavorable opinion of them and their pursuits, particularly at the given age, and therefore stay away from them in order to avoid critique and ridicule.

“It’s Too Hard”

Another common line of thinking can be the belief that the pursuit of one’s dreams is just too challenging. People, particularly those in midlife, might look at all that’s required to make their dreams a reality and begin to feel overwhelmed by the demands. These demands and the feeling of overwhelm can make it seem as though one is incapable of pursuing their dreams and deter them from making the effort.

“What if I Fail”

The fear of failure is another common thought that prevents people in midlife from pursuing their dreams. When assessing what’s needed to achieve their dreams, that feeling of overwhelm can set in and make one doubt their ability to actually reach their dreams.

The fear that a person will fail can often be enough to keep a person from even trying in the first place. This is because failure often comes with regret, embarrassment, and other negative feelings that many people deem not worth it.

“I Don’t Know Enough”

Too much emphasis can be put on the knowledge and information needed to pursue one’s dreams. While a person certainly needs to have a good background in the area of their pursuits, expert level knowledge is generally not needed.

This is especially true because much knowledge and information can be obtained along the way as one works towards their dreams. Yet, the false belief that one must know everything upfront can keep a person from making any forward progress.

“This Isn’t The Right Time”

At times, people can be looking for a perfect time to begin pursuing their dreams. What makes the timing perfect can differ for everyone, but often people consider factors like freedom from work, financial freedom, less responsibility, less demand from family, etc. The truth is that there’s no such thing as a perfect or “right” time and a focus on obtaining this robs many people of their dreams.

“I Will Look Crazy”

Many people tend to focus very heavily on how they will be perceived by others. The fear of embarrassment is a powerful deterrent for many people, and the belief that others will perceive a person as looking or being crazy for going after their dreams, especially at or after a certain age can be enough to stop people in their tracks and make them avoid the pursuit.

“It’s Too Risky”

It’s wise to do a risk versus benefits assessment when working towards any goal, but people in midlife can sometimes place too much weight on risks when doing so. This again goes back to fear and the belief that what could be lost or experienced won’t be worth it in the end. Thus, the individual avoids the pursuit altogether.

“I Don’t Have Enough”

Resources can be another area of perceived lack that keeps people from pursuing their dreams. It’s true that given any pursuit there’s a certain level of materials needed to make those goals come to fruition.

What often happens is that if people don’t have everything they need upfront, they fall into the line of thinking that they don’t have enough to begin any forward movement towards their dreams. This discounts the fact that often materials can be acquired as a person works towards their goals.

“This Wasn’t Meant to Happen”

Sometimes the amount of time that has passed can make people believe that their dreams simply are not a part of the plans. Some people can fall into the trap of thinking there’s a specific timeline for some dreams, so if something is not accomplished by a certain timeframe, then it must be a sign that it just wasn’t meant to be in general.

“This is Insignificant”

When a person is in midlife it can be tempting to believe that their dreams no longer hold importance or significance because of their age and the amount of time that has passed. While there’s no tie between when the pursuit of a dream begins and its value, too frequently people in midlife get discouraged because they feel their age disqualifies them from moving forward in that way.

“I Can’t Do This”

A lack of belief in oneself can be enough to keep many from the pursuit of their dreams. When a person doesn’t feel within themselves that they can do what’s needed or that they have the skills, talent, or information needed to achieve their dreams, they can often perceive these dreams as worthless and not worth the investment of energy or time because the outcome will inevitably be bad.

“I’m Not Supposed to Do This”

This belief aligns with a concern about what other people think. Those people can be family and friends, co-workers and neighbors, or society in general.

When a person in midlife compares what these groups may have said or implied, what they should be doing with their life against what their dreams are, it can feel like their dreams don’t align. Thinking about what they’re expected to do versus what they want to do can make their dreams feel out of reach and often keeps people from pursuing their dreams. Not wanting to fall out of line with what others expect can be enough to keep people stuck.

People in midlife, and people in general, can often keep themselves from reaching their dreams more than any outside circumstance or situation.

The absurd thoughts mentioned above and others like it can paralyze people with fear, cause doubt, and create enough hesitation that people don’t take any steps forward and find themselves always wishing they could do without actually doing.

Learning how to get a handle on these thoughts can be the key to unlocking the confidence needed to pursue one’s dreams and make them come true.

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New York, NY

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