Giving up before we start


Near the end of season four of How I Met Your Mother, Ted and Robyn have an honest conversation about his fears about starting his own architecture business. As I was watching this dialogue go down I knew I needed to blog about it: Ted says what so many of us haven’t been able to put into words about our dreams. I can’t seem to find a clip online so you’ll have to read the transcript.

Robin arrives home to find Ted looking extra-glum and staring off into space. She asks if he’s okay, and he says, “What if I don’t think of the books?” Robin says, “Excuse me?” Ted explains. “There’s this famous architecture story about an architect who designed this library. It was perfect. But every year, the whole thing would sink a couple inches into the ground. Eventually, the building was condemned. He forgot to account for the weight of the books. This company — it’s just me. What if I don’t think of the books?” Robin replies: “Okay, first of all, nobody goes to libraries anymore, so who cares about that guy? Secondly, you need to get on the phone and start calling clients.”

Ted explains, “The longer I put off starting my own firm, the longer it can remain a dream and not something I screwed up at. It’s like I’m giving up before I started.”

Robin laughs. “You want to talk about giving up? I used to describe my ideal guy as ‘funny, smart, passionate, challenging’, and now, apparently, I will settle for ‘in my apartment’. Didn’t you think you’d have it all more figured out by now?”

We do this, right? We sabotage our dreams by letting them stay dreams, rather than taking a step in their direction.

After this conversation with Robyn, Ted picks up the phone and makes his first try on a sales call. We learn quickly that he has actually just called Robyn’s cell phone and he was practicing his pitch on her. We laugh because he’s putting it off again except that he isn’t quite: it’s one step closer to making the real pitch.

What’s one step – even if seemingly insignificant – you can take towards your big dream, your exciting Bucket List goal? I’d love to hear about it here in the comments. 

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