Be a Doer, Not a Dreamer

People like to throw advice around all the time. Some of it's good, some of it could land you in prison. And some of it will change your life, but only if you let it. Only if you take that advice and run with it. There's one piece of advice I've been given that has truly stuck with me, advice that I grabbed onto and started running, and I can say this with 100 percent certainty: it changed my life. 

I had just turned 18 years old. I was miserable in college, majoring in something I hated because I had been told over and over again that I'd be so good at it. I'd be the best. And who doesn't want to be the best? But here's what I learned: being the best can mean so many different things. I only had to be the best at what I wanted to be the best atNot what other people wanted me to be the best at. So, I switched my major and never looked back. But that still isn't the advice I'm talking about. This was more something I realized on my own. The real advice came from someone I've never met in person, (I will cry when it happens, and it will happen) but from someone I've looked up to for years. 

Shonda Rhimes. You all know that name, and if you don't, well... ever heard of a little show called Grey's Anatomy or Scandal? Now you know who I'm talking about.

Back to the advice, though. About two years ago, I decided I wanted to be a TV writer. I've always loved writing. For as long as I can remember, I've been making up stories in my head, sometimes writing them down, sometimes not. And then Shonda came along and gave me the push I needed. She said what I needed to hear to make that dream my reality. 

I'd spent so much time dreaming of being a writer but doing nothing to make it happen. And then Shonda gave a commencement speech at Dartmouth. And in that speech, she said this: "Dreams are lovely. But they are just dreams. Fleeting, ephemeral, pretty. But dreams do not come true just because you dream them. It's hard work that makes things happen. It's hard work that creates change. So, Lesson One, I guess is: Ditch the dream and be a doer, not a dreamer."

Hearing her say that made me reevaluate everything I'd been doing. It made me realize that I could say I wanted to be a TV writer until I was blue in the face, but without action, nothing would happen. I'd live on my mother's couch for the rest of my life. So, you know what I did? I started writing. Everyday. Now, two years later, (the speech was in 2014, I listened to it a little later) I have a blog with hundreds of readers, I have my own scripts for a TV show I created,  I'm working on a book, I wrote a short film for my school's TV club and it tied for first place in a showcase... I can keep going. I've seen more and done more than I ever thought I would. I've met the cast of two of her shows, I've spoken to them about my goals, and they've encouraged me and given me invaluable advice along the way.

But that's just my story. And not even all of it. This advice is for everyone, though. Everyone needs a little dose of Shonda. So now I'm going to give you some advice: don't sit around and wait for something good to happen to you. You can make something good happen. Make something good happen for yourself.

Be a doer. Not a dreamer.