What Does Mitch Hedberg Know About Chasing Dreams?


“I’m sick of following my dreams, man. I’m just going to ask where they’re going and hook up with ‘em later.”

This goofy quip was brought to us courtesy of the late Mitch Hedberg.

We also have Mitch to thank for remarks like “My fake plants died because I didn’t pretend to water them,” and “I’m against picketing but I don’t know how to show it.”

While I know the one-liner about hooking up with his dreams later was, of course, a joke, it seems to reflect a common sentiment about pursuing goals. We don’t particularly like the process. We don’t like the waiting, the not knowing, the necessary evil that is development over time.

We live in the age of, “Lose 50 pounds without exercising or changing your diet!” But that simply isn’t realistic. Not if you want lasting results and improved health. Not if you want actual change. And whether you’re trying to lose 50 pounds, or start your own business, I assume that’s exactly what you want.

If we try and skip to the end to “hook up with our dreams later,” we will be hurrying toward nothing, as those dreams will only take shape through the very process that we’re attempting to bypass.

I remember years ago, having an epiphany regarding my pursuit of a career in music. Long before I ever signed a record deal with Love and Theft, I had been pursuing music for years, and wrestling with the angst of “will I ever see my dreams become reality?”

It dawned on me one day, though, that this waiting may actually benefit me–a novel idea! If my dream happened a year later instead of immediately, then depending on how I spent that time, I could be a year better at my craft. That passing time was not wasted time, not sit-and-twiddle-my-thumbs time, but time to work and become great.

You don’t become great because people pay attention to you. People pay attention to you because you’re great.

Finally I felt at peace with the waiting. Because I no longer believed I was simply waiting. I was preparing. I was honing my craft, improving my skill—I was ensuring that when I finally did have peoples’ attention, I would be able to give them a show worth watching.

The truth is, regardless of the fact that I wanted more than anything to be a famous musician at age 16, I simply wasn’t ready.

Thank God I didn’t sign a deal and make my first impression on the public at that point. Thank God I was forced to wait, to grow and to become a musician worth paying attention to.

Embrace the process. The period of waiting is not wasted time. You can’t skip ahead and meet up with your dreams later. They’ll only be there if you go through the purposeful, and at time arduous process of working, practicing, growing in skill and maturity.

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I’ve failed (to some degree or another) at 3 businesses.

I can’t wait to see with clarity just how valuable that time was, and how important that failure was. I can’t wait to see how the time that felt lost or wasted, was actually an integral building block in the foundation of my success.

Don’t skip ahead, don’t sell the development period short. It doesn’t work that way. If you try and skip it, your dreams won’t be there waiting for you.



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