If I were to guess, many of us have heard the age old adage, “If you dream it, you can achieve it.” I maintain a firm belief in this philosophy…under the correct circumstances. The vast majority of us are dreamers, harboring both conscious and subconscious ambitions. The difficult piece to the puzzle is allowing our dreams to emerge from our subconscious, and come to fruition. Countless people across the world maintain high hopes for the future, yet fail to achieve their goals. My question is, why?
Regardless of age, whether you’re 8, 15, 25 or 50, we all share a common characteristic: hopes and dreams. During childhood, we all dreamed of being (insert how you envisioned yourself as an adult here). Astronauts, writers, lawyers, politicians, restaurant owners, scientists, inventors, the list is endless. Myself, personally? Well, I wanted to be a writer. I suppose I’m living out parts of my dream now, at least I’m writing.
Since I was, I don’t know, around seven, eight years old, I found myself fascinated with poetry. I inherited a gift, as a select few like to call it…the gift of expressive writing. I am an emotional introvert. Sharing my feelings, discussing hard truths are my weakest points. Platonic relationships, budding friendships and romances have been stifled by my emotional ineptitudes. However, despite my emotional setbacks, I found an outlet: poetry. What I lack in verbal emotions, I excel at in written.
I started writing poetry as means of stealing women’s hearts at a young age. Ten year old James wrote love poems about beauty, nature, attraction, trauma and everything in between. I was, for lack of a better phrase, a poetic player. Generally, my poetic ploys paid off. Well, paid off for a ten year olds standards of holding hands and being kissed on the cheek. As I grew older, and began to comprehend the emotional traumas I’d faced in childhood and beyond, my poetry shifted from a lighthearted theme to a darker, emotionally charged theme.
During my late teens, through my early 20s (I am currently sitting at the ripe young age of 23), I began to write exclusively about heartache, trauma, my societal viewpoints and the agonizing pain I carried deep within my heart. I constructed these poems in the hopes that my words would evoke fear, despair, happiness and empathy in my readers. Poetry provided me an outlet to share my emotions in a manner that required no face-to-face contact, thus, eliminating the possibilities associated with confronting the truth. Truth hurts because it is a reality.
Aside from writing, learning about historical trends sparks my interest, and time. I am smitten by history and all it has to offer for future generations. History does, in fact, repeat itself. In politics, life, society, everything. My current reality is this: I have a bachelor’s degree in Public Policy. I spent four amazing years studying at the University of California at Santa Barbara. I work two jobs: one as a caterer, and another as a server. Despite my education and intellect, I’m stuck in a reality I have created for myself. A reality riddled with disappointments, false hope and frustration.
I had dreams growing up as I have attempted to express above. Yet, I have not achieved any of my personal goals. Sure, I’m a writer. I write poetry on a regular basis, and halfheartedly contribute to this blog. Problem is, I don’t have a plan. I am fearful of change and all of the obstacles inherent with change. I have ideas, great ideas and envision a much better future for myself than I am creating now. Emotional setbacks, poor decisions, constant fighting in my own head, and destructive behavior has landed me in limbo.
The focal point of this blog post is to discuss the nuances associated with achieving our dreams. To do so, I’d like to share a story. I was fortunate enough to meet my greatest friends, and “adopted” brothers in college. By adopted I mean we fostered a relationship similar to those brothers and siblings share with one another. But I digress. These four young men I am referring to are Grant, Ryan, Kevin and Tyler.
Grant, Kevin, Tyler and I met our freshman year in the dorms. Grant was my savior in the dorms, so to speak. My best friend from high school and I decided to room together our freshman year at UCSB, and Grant was our third roommate, and currently one of the few people I consider a close friend. I met Kevin and Tyler through Grant, and, eventually, Ryan, the fourth young man in this story. All five of us lived together our senior year, the year my four fine friends began working towards their dream.
In January of 2014, Grant, Kevin, Ryan and Tyler brought to fruition a plan that many people our age pursue: a YouTube Channel. As you are aware, there are thousands upon thousands of YouTube channels, most of which fail. However, a small percentage of these channels gain a fan base, a following, and eventually, burst onto the technological scene. Treesicle Tube, my friends gaming channel, is amongst the few to have succeeded.
The early stages of Treesicle were classic examples of trial and error. A fun idea thought up by four college students with a plan. In the beginning, Treesicle’s primary focus centered around Let’s Plays. LP’s are produced by gaming channels all over, and incorporate live action gaming with live, humorous commentary. I myself joined in on a recording of an LP, and I will say, it is a lot of fun. However, LP’s were not drawing the attention or fan base my friends were seeking. It was far too much of a niche audience with a considerable amount of competition. Despite the early setbacks, my friends recognized the bigger picture, and fought to achieve their dream.
By summer, Treesicle had switched the channel’s focus from LP’s, to character analyses. The Treesicle crew began to research famous video game characters from across the decades. Mario, Zelda, Sonic, Luigi, Yoshi, Donkey Kong. The iconic characters that consumed much of our childhood. Well, mine, at least. My buddies started to enjoy a following, and built a fan base. YouTube junkies around the world subscribed to their channel, requested new videos, and, just like that, the Treesicle boys experienced the joys of accomplishing their dreams.
There is much more to the story of Treesicle and its founders. This particular blog post does not focus on the individuals who built Treesicle, but rather to highlight how dreams can be achieved through handwork, dedication, and a plan. Currently, Treesicle boasts a subscription number close to 250,000 people worldwide and nearly 25 million channel views. YouTube sent my friends a plaque for reaching 100,000 subscribers, and a couple of the founding members have had the privilege to meet the crews of YouTube’s most industrious channels. My friends’ channel not only profits financially from their growth, but fans of Treesicle enjoy the videos posted day in and day out.
These four young men are excellent examples of how dreams become reality. What is your excuse? In fact, what is mine? Happiness and dreams are not achieved by wishing and waiting for the pieces to fall in place. Hard work, hardship, dedication and setbacks are pivotal pieces in the puzzle to achieve greatness. I have witnessed my friends success first hand, and it is inspiring. What inspires you? Use that inspiration as means of constructing a plan to accomplish your goals.
My good friend Nick has a knack for music. Two years ago he took an interest in hip hop, free styling and recording music. He dedicated his time to learning the complexities of music production. Studied iconic hip hop legends, both old and new, slowly purchased the necessary equipment to hone his talents. His work ethic has helped him to achieve the first part of his dream: attending a prestigious audio production school in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He leaves in three weeks to pursue his dreams, and fine tune his craft.
There are countless other stories across the globe highlighting a person’s rise from zero to hero. Hero does not necessarily pertain to financial security, war veterans, or saving lives. “Pursuit of Happiness” is an excellent example of how a lower class man portrayed by Will Smith achieves his dream of working on Wall Street despite having no formal background in finances. Point is, if you dream it, you can achieve it…all it takes is a plan.
Writing, politics, history, physical fitness, nutrition. These are my interests. All five share a common trait: I can use these interests and my skill set to further the lives of others, while pursuing my own passions. My dream as of now, is to combine the five into a promising future for myself. Start a fitness blog, discuss the history of personal training and competing theories, express my political interests in a meaningful manner. Fact is, all of my ideas stem from my passion to write. All the pieces of the puzzle are in place, now it is time for me to rearrange them and complete the picture.
My challenge to you, my readers, is to evaluate where you are in life, right now. Reconsider your goals, and passions, from past and present. Revisit your childhood dreams. Are you pursuing what makes you happy? Are you striving to accomplish personal goals, and achieve greatness? Do you have a solid plan, and have you taken into consideration the obstacles you will face along the journey? Dreams can be achieved, but until we recognize the necessary sacrifices it takes to fulfill our plans, our dreams will remain just that, dreams. Let’s make our dreams a reality.