How To Know If It’s Time To Give Up On a Dream


Bravely step forward.

Woman staring out at the ocean

If we had to follow through on our childhood ambitions, there would probably be quite a few more astronauts and pop singers than there currently are. Before we know a job intimately, we imagine we might like to do it day in, day out, but often, once we finally understand what a job really entails, our initial passion becomes somewhat dulled.

As Dimmi founder Stevan Premutico put it – passion is the only thing that will get you through the tough times and if that’s in short supply, so will your patience be.

Here are a few ways to recognise if the one thing you’ve been striving for has well and truly lost its sheen:

If you have to ask…

The first sign is that you’re asking every Tom, Dick and Harry about whether you should continue doing what you’re doing. While the two are often confused, distinguishing between intuition and self-doubt is key here.

“If intuition seems to be a positive phenomenon, then self-doubt is unhealthy and often stops you from giving yourselves a chance to achieve new goals and overcome difficulties,” explains clinical psychologist Dr. Yuliya Richard. “People often encourage you to trust your intuition, but if you experience self-doubt, then try to find out where it comes from. Instead of telling yourself ‘don’t do it, you will fail’, ask yourself, why do you believe you will fail, and what is it that you need to do to succeed?”

The difference between feeling like something isn’t right is not the same as talking yourself out of a risky-yet-exciting life leap.

Your reasons for doing it have changed

Sure, it’s pretty disappointing to get to the end of a long, arduous road to your dream only to discover it’s not what you really want anymore. But investment of time is not an excuse to keep trudging down a dead end. If your reasons for pursuing a particular path is something along the lines of, “I’ve come this far” or “well, I’ll have to start at the beginning again”, you’re not following your dream anymore – you’re following what you think is the best option. Which, we should remind you, is different from what you feel is the best option.

You’re worrying about what others might think

So, you told everyone you know you’re getting this side hustle going and that you’ll soon be paying for everyone else’s dinner. But, it hasn’t quite worked out that way. If you’re pussy footing around pulling the plug on your venture to save face, forget it. These things have a way of working themselves out anyway, and when you’re further down the line, it’s even harder to get things back on track. If it’s more about others than it is for yourself, it’s time to cut your losses.

You’re just actually interested in something else

It’s more than OK to change your mind. If you’ve climbed the corporate ladder to spend your desk days dreaming of baking cakes (Flour and Stone hire without any experience!), that’s fine. It’s a tale as old as time that some of our greatest innovators left their 9-to-5 to start something completely different and build an empire (take these female Australian entrepreneurs as great examples), so don’t be afraid to start afresh if that’s really where your passion lies.

Read More: Why You Don’t Need to Be Obsessed With Your Job to Be Happy

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