Augusten Burroughs | How to Ditch a Dream

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As a child, bestselling author Augusten Burroughs knew he was destined to be an actor. He was, in fact, confident he would be one of the greatest actors of the day—or possibly the greatest.

But when he eventually saw himself on videotape, “It was a stunning revelation…

[my] knowledge that I was giving an incredible performance in no way aligned with the reality of what I saw. I sucked worse than anything has ever sucked in the history of suckage.”

Faced with the truth that he was not an actor, what now? Burroughs did eventually wend his way toward writing. Because he writes well, he can accomplish what he had dreamed of doing as an actor – to reach and feel a connection with people.

He then says, “When I chose writing over acting, I didn’t give up a dream,” Burroughs explains, I gave up my choice of vehicle used to deliver it.”

This, to me, is a key takeaway.

Sometimes we need to ditch a dream, but if we can peel our way to what we truly long for, we can begin to match that with our native capacities.

Photo credit John Haro

I like how Burroughs puts it: “Grab your dream out of the sky like it’s a kite and pinch the string through your fingers until you reach the spool.”

Once you have your why, you you’ll be ready to find a dream you can do.

Have you ever changed the vehicle for delivering your dream? Are you feeling like ditch mode of transportation for another?

If you are longing for something that hasn't happened, you may want to re-read The Mirror of Erised.

If you are in a tweeting mood, here’s some more pithiness from Burroughs:

“Sometimes you need to ditch a dream.”

“Have you ever watched a single abysmal YouTube cover of a song? Dreams are not always beautiful things.”

“If you can let go of the dream, you probably should. If you can’t let go, don’t.”

And my favorite:

“Dreams are not like spleens. There is not just one per person.”

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