I’d love to do that, but… (fill in the blank).
I’ve heard it countless times, and at least nine out of ten times it was basically an excuse.
Like not having enough time or resources or experience, being afraid, being indecisive, being this or that.
Or, the fact that it was “too late”. Except it wasn’t a fact, but purely a thought. A negative, unhelpful, limiting belief.
If you are reading this, please know that, as cliche as it may sound, it is never too late to have dreams and pursue them.
And if you have negative thoughts that prevent you from taking action, it is possible to challenge or reframe these thoughts by simply being more present.
We don’t stop dreaming because we get old…
We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.
It’s a quote by George Bernard Shaw. If you paraphrase it, it sums up one of the main points of this article — you grow old because you stop having dreams.
In other words, if you’ve ever thought that perhaps it was too late for you to go after your goals and dreams, chances are the issue was the thought itself rather than time.
Yes, time is limited. I’ve written about it countless times in this blog. However, this should never be an excuse for you to do nothing and complain that it’s too late.
If anything, it should inspire you to act now regardless of age or circumstances.
You can think of it this way — it can only be too late if you think it’s too late. If you just look at reality objectively, the concept of “late” doesn’t really exist except in some rare cases.
The importance of having dreams
Though dreams alone won’t guarantee any result, every achievement was originally a dream.
To live life to the fullest, having dreams is a prerequisite, which is why it’s so important to cultivate them and not let discouragement stop you from taking action.
If there’s a will, there’s a way. Those who can picture what they want in life will be able to see the path toward it.
So really, there is always a way. It’s just that our own limiting beliefs or lack of understanding can, at times, make us blind and miss the opportunities we would otherwise take advantage of.
So the key is to look inside first, work on your own thoughts and mindset first, and start dreaming again; and make those dreams a priority.
It’s never too late to dream — consider the following ten points…
Why it’s never too late to dream
1. Limiting beliefs ≠ truth
One of the greatest skills you can develop to improve your mood, mental health, and self-awareness is the habit of looking at your mind as a separate entity.
This gives you the power to challenge the thoughts that are either unhelpful or incorrect, and simply move on rather than being absorbed by them.
If you ever catch yourself thinking that it’s too late, difficult, risky, etc. to start over or to go after what you want in life, give yourself a reality check because I guarantee most of the time what you call the truth is just your own (limiting) beliefs.
2. Short-term goals
Do you have a goal that requires ten, twenty, thirty years of your time to be achieved? Yes, it may be too late for that. No, it shouldn’t stop you from taking action.
Personally, I’m not a big fan of super long-term goals anyway — life is too unpredictable for those, and who knows who and where you’ll be in ten years. Perhaps by that time you’ll have lost interest in the very thing you were trying to achieve.
The solution? Short-term goals that don’t require a ridiculous amount of time and resources. These could be either brand new goals or simply ways to make your original goals and dreams shorter (not smaller).
3. The present moment is all we have
Time is a very complicated thing. At least for us human beings. Einstein found out about the relativity of time a little over a hundred years ago, and since then other theories have been developed.
Carl Jung, for instance, proposed that time and space could be somehow controlled or altered by the psyche, which could then result in the phenomenon he called synchronicity.
But here’s the thing — focus on the present moment, and time ceases to be so complex. What if we considered time to be what we experience right now, and nothing else? I think it would make us a lot more powerful. Act now and you have all the time in the world.
4. Endings are new beginnings
Here is another potential negative thought that can arise if you think it’s too late to have dreams — the thought of a certain time or phase having come to an end.
While the thought itself may be correct, and reflect the truth, it should never limit your imagination. The end of an era is not the end. Rather, it is a new beginning. No matter how uncomfortable it may be.
Again, it all changes depending on how you look at things. You can either decide that it’s over, and let that stop your growth, or use endings as fuel and motivation to go after brand new dreams.
5. You don’t need permission
There is only one person who is able to give you permission to pursue your dreams, and that is you. No one else. Allow yourself to do what you love and you are halfway there.
Sure, you can look at what others do and then base your decisions on that. But it’s a very risky strategy. So for example, if society has decided that in order to have a certain goal you can’t be over a certain age, it may be wiser to instead make your own rules.
Similarly, if everyone around you thinks a certain goal can only be achieved in five years, ignore that and see if two years is possible. Chances are it is as long as you allow yourself to see a solution.
6. Action equals luck
Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that luck creates action. Rather, action creates luck. It is not your circumstances that determine what you do in life, but vice versa.
If you have a dream and only focus on your “luck” — your current circumstances — then you are giving power to them, and you become powerless.
Do the opposite: begin with the end in mind. Envision your goal until it’s crystal clear and then work backwards. Don’t focus on where you are right now to go where you’d like to be. Don’t be; become, and act.
7. Age doesn’t mean anything
Seriously. The only thing it ever means is the meaning you attribute to it, your interpretation of it.
Read about truly successful people — entrepreneurs, artists, creators, people who had the courage to live the life they wanted to live and achieve their crazy dreams— and you’ll find plenty of examples of that.
Some of these people could have used their age and/or circumstances as an excuse. They didn’t. And created beautiful things, and became the best version of themselves.
8. Progress, not perfection
What if you saw your dreams as actions or tasks rather than achievements? In other words, what if you focused on the journey rather than the dream itself?
Besides making the process more enjoyable, at that point you no longer have any excuses in terms of not having enough time, or thinking “it’s too late”.
Turn any distant achievement into actions that can be performed in the present moment, and it won’t matter if it’s too early, or too late, or too difficult — you will be focusing on doing and not achieving.
9. To dream is to be curious
If having dreams is all about being curious, discovering new things, experimenting, creating a new life by living differently each day — then how could it ever be too late for that?
Again, you want to shift from a goal-oriented mindset to a much more practical one; and realize that if you are working toward your dream, then you are already living the dream.
There are no entry requirements, and you don’t need anyone’s permission except your own.
10. What if it’s just an excuse?
There is a thing called fear of success, and it’s a lot more insidious than it may seem. Your mind can come up with an endless list of excuses as to why you can’t go for what you want in life simply because of fear of success.
The worst part is, these excuses are very believable. Often because they are partly true. If you think it’s too late, then yes, it may be compared to someone else’s life.
But does it matter? Does it prevent you from taking action in any way? It doesn’t. The tenth reason it’s never too late to dream is that, more often than not, it’s nothing but an excuse to stay in your comfort zone.
Never too late to dream: best quotes
We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.George Bernard Shaw
The present time has one advantage over every other: it is our own.Charles Caleb Colton
It’s never too late to change the programming imprinted in childhood, carried in our genes, or deprived from previous lives; the solution is mindfulness in the present moment.Peter Shepherd
The bad news is time flies. The good news is you are the pilot.Michael Altshuler
One of the wonderful things about being alive is that it’s never too late.Phyllis Whitney
It’s never too late to be what you might have been.George Eliot
The best time to plant a tree was twenty years ago. The second best time is now.Proverb
It’s never too late. Don’t focus on what was taken away. Find something to replace it, and acknowledge the blessing you have.Drew Barrymore
There is never enough time to do it right, but there is always enough time to do it over.Jack Bergman
There will come a time when you believe everything is finished. That will be the beginning.Louis L’Amour
It’s never too late — never too late to start over, never too late to be happy.Jane Fonda