Everyone has that One Thing they’ve always wanted to do.
For me, it’s the 12 novel fantasy series that I’ve been “writing” in my head since before high school. It’s hard to remember a time when I wasn’t planning on sitting down to knock out the first book in the series. I could talk for hours about how the story starts, the characters, the deep meaning behind the magic systems, and how everything is connected.
If I started today, I’d have enough material dreamed up to finish all 12 novels and then some. All I would have to do is start writing. But I haven’t gotten around to it yet. Because these novels are my One Thing—the One Thing that I’ve always wanted to do, but haven’t.
Normally I write these posts from experience. I can speak with at least a little authority on things like taking big steps in life and finding meaning in work because I’ve already been there and already learned those lessons first hand. But this, obviously, is a little different. This isn’t a post full of advice about chasing after your One Thing. Believe me, I wish I was in a position to give advice on that.
Instead, this post is a warning—for all of us who are letting life slip by without going after our One Thing. It’s a simple warning, and one that you likely already realize. Though I’m positive that we could all use a reminder from time to time.
The best things in life don’t just happen
In order to do anything worthwhile in life—acting in a movie, opening a coffee shop, flying a fighter jet, sailing the Mediterranean, writing a book, or whatever your One Thing is—you have to be the one who does it.
No amount of waiting for something to happen will make it more likely to actually happen. If you want to push a boulder up a hill, but simply sit around hoping that the boulder will push itself up the hill, nothing will happen. You have to go out and start pushing the boulder. Of course, your One Thing is no different. But what happens if we wait?
We always have a good excuse for not pushing that boulder though, don’t we? We’re not ready, not old enough, not good enough yet (that’s my excuse), need to do more planning, too afraid, or too uncomfortable. Regardless of our reasons, the end result is always the same: we wait.
But life doesn’t wait.
The longer you go without chasing after your One Thing, the more embedded into your current life you become. Work will demand more of your time and energy. Responsibilities will pile up, and each must be given their due. Relationships will grow and change who you are over time. Life becomes more full of things that aren’t your One Thing.
And eventually, you find that there’s no room left. No time, no energy or will, no way to chase after your One Thing—assuming you still want to at this point.
Wait long enough, and all that’s left of your One Thing will be daydreams and regret.
The dreams that stick, no matter how big or small, stick for a reason
For most of us, our One Thing is a dream. That dream that we’ve spent years of our lives planning for, praying for, and wishing for. Maybe we’ve tried to chase after it before and failed (I definitely have). Or maybe it’s something that feels so outlandish to us that we’ve never even attempted to take the first step.
Yet through all our waiting and failed attempts, through all the limitations and responsibilities, and all the reality checks, for the moment at least, we still dream that one day we’ll get to do our One Thing.
Why? Because your One Thing is a part of you. Dreams don’t stick with you because you think they’re cool. They stick because you have a deep connection with them. Dreams are influenced by your personality, created by your mind, and yearned for by your heart. So chasing your dreams is an important part of being who you are.
Letting your dreams die—not chasing after your One Thing—is allowing that part of you to die. What happens when you chase after your One Thing?
What happens when you chase after your One Thing? What happens if you don’t stop, even though you have responsibilities? Even if you’re faced with challenges along the way?
You get to do it.
So please stop waiting and go do your One Thing.
Written by Wyatt Dalton