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  • Writer's pictureDave Nixon

The Real Cost of Ambition: 12 Expenses to Expect When Pursuing your Dream

Ever since I could remember I wanted to be a policeman. I wanted to be fair, give to the community and my favourite colour was always blue. Then, as I grew older and I played my hand at sports, I wanted to represent my country. Something most people would of wanted to do.

It was around 15 that I remember getting told to hurry up and get a job so I could help pay bills. “You’re not going to pay cricket for Australia” I was told by Mother Darling.

Well, she was right. I didn’t play cricket for Australia. I will give her that.

Back then I didn’t know how powerful those words impacted my mind. Or in your case, how similar comments impacted your mind. Neither did the coaches nor our parents. They just told you what they saw as reality. We don’t realise that later on in life we end up doing the same to the next generation. Look, not everyone is going to play sport for their nation. Luckily so, because we need Doctors, Bus Drivers, Scientists, Uni Students, Teachers and Artists of all types. Just don’t take that mental junk into your life and carry it around like baggage.

Reality is a crock of shit. What is reality to one person is completely different to the next.

I remember having a conversation with a friend one time and I remember him mentioning that he wanted more. He said that he worked with people who were happy just wanting to have a good job and a nice house and a family and settle down and that’s all well and good but it wasn’t for him. I told him I didn’t agree.

Once upon a time those people wanted to be a ballerina or a fire fighter. They dreamt of being more and used to play dress ups. They would make the backyard into a world cup soccer stadium and kick the winning goal in the final. As kids, we dreamt, we had imagination. As adults, we lose that spark and hide fear in mediocrity and call it practicality. Somewhere along the line these people started to settle and expect less of themselves.

The truth is, everyone has dreams. Everyone. They just cost a lot. They cost a lot of money. They cost a lot of effort. They cost a lot of sleep. The price of your dreams come with a large price tag. Yet, looking back, they are far more affordable than the cost of playing it safe. The cost of average. The cost of regret. Only you truly know that cost, no one else can do it for you because really, this is your life. No one is going to do it for you. No one is coming to save you.

It’s on you. You don’t get your 20’s again. Your 30’s. your 60’s. Hell, maybe you won’t even get that far. Just spend the whole time waiting for the “perfect time” which is hidden somewhere in the mirage of the desert of the mind.

Look, let’s cut to the chase… chasing your dreams can be shit. Like, one moment you’re thinking you are off to the Olympics the next moment you literally consider busking so you can eat that week. One year your business is about to go National, the next year you are having conversations with the lawyer on strategies to avoid bankruptcy.

Chances are, no one sees this. Truth be told, no one cares. So, to keep your little engine going here are some of the costs you are going to come up against when you decide to stop playing the matrix and actually make a ruckus with your life.

1. You are going to sleep on couches: Seriously, get good at sleeping anywhere. Back seat of the car is a good one or just wait till everyone leaves the business and sleep on the floor and use a rolled up jumper as a pillow.

2. You are going to lose money. A lot of money. Some people go to Uni or College and some people start a business. Either way, you are going to have to pay your tuition. Every dollar you lose is an investment in your learning. Don’t spend the same dollar twice.

3. You will skip meals to save money. “This will never be me! My health is too important to me.” HAHAHA, shut up, Rookie! Look, if you haven’t gone through a stage where tins of tuna are your staple meal then don’t worry, you will.

4. You will draft up resignation letters I am not even going to pretend like running a business is peachy. I hate it. But, like, I love it. Like a child, they deserve a smack and they are cheeky and get all dirty and you can do whatever you can and they still manage to just fall over and crack their head and you are like “Seriously!?! How did you even reach that? I turned my back for a second!” Yep, draft the letter but just wait a fortnight. Chances are it was written out of emotion rather than from a place of value.

5. You will have angry rage outbursts when no one is around Haha. Man, if only people would of seen the adult tantrums then I would be locked up! I am just going to tell myself that they are natural and move onto the next point.

6. You will talk to yourself. Just don’t answer yourself. Well this one doesn’t help my last point either now does it? But yes, you will even go through imaginary conversations with other people out loud only to leave your mental notes in the pocket of the other brain you didn’t bring when you go to have the conversation.

7. You will earn a lot less than people originally think you do. The day before I left for a month long trip to America my best mate said to me “Yeah but we all know you can afford it.” With a blank look on my face, it was then that I realised how much I personally couldn’t afford it. It was the support from my Team, Mentors and friends that got me to my dream trip around America to train with the best. I had booked a ticket there and a ticket home with money that I borrowed, three nights accommodation and had just over $2000 Australian dollars in my account. My bank balance said I couldn’t “afford” it. But to me, I couldn’t afford not to. First lesson: never set goals based on your current circumstances and resources. Second lesson: like energy, money comes and goes and if you have your own business, people will think you have HEAPS.

8. You will have fights with people close to you about things that aren’t important “Nah-uh, they are so important. They didn’t stack the poo tickets correctly.” Yeah, you will argue about shit that doesn’t matter with people who are important. Chances are, your dreams are so close that you are in this together. You have to talk. You have to remove emotion from the equation and understand you are both on the same side of the table. It’s hard but always seek first to understand and then be understood.

9. Most people won’t understand you. They won’t understand that you don’t watch TV. That you don’t listen to the radio. But you aren’t most people. Fuck most people.

10. Your family will probably shun you because you didn’t go to Uni/College or get a “real” job. “And why don’t you have kids yet? Where is your girlfriend? You can’t do this forever, you know? Why can’t you be like your brother and just get a real job? The firefighters are hiring.” – Look, remember it is your dream. No one else’s. Not your Mum’s, not your Teachers, not your Boyfriends. It is yours. No one else has to understand but you. Take other people’s needs into account, yes but at the end of the day, it is yours. Own it.

11. You will lose friends. That’s a given. Then, it makes you argue the point, are they really friends? Or where you close acquaintances because of proximity and convenience? Ever notice that you don’t actually have to tell your “real” friends that they are your friends. Funny that. Just do your thing, the right people will come at the right time. And sometimes, those people are lessons.

12. People will say stuff behind your back and act different to your face. Don’t worry about them. They will always be like that. Just remember to be real, if you don’t like someone, tell them. You don’t have to be rude about it but it definitely sets you up for a reputation of not taking shit in a society that hands them out as if they baked fucking brownies. “Here, I have an opinion on your thing that you do. But I rolled it into the shape of a brownie so it’s easier to swallow.” Don’t eat it. It’s their shit.

Look, you’re going to gain weight, lose weight, fuck up, fall over, do good, do bad, say something for humanity and swear at an elderly driver in the over-taking lane. I mean, that shit is just going to happen. None of it makes you a bad person or a failure. It’s just life. Except, fuck that person in the over-taking lane. I don’t care that you forgot your teeth, or only know how to drive a stick. MOVE OVER!


One piece of advice I can offer is to learn how to simplify things. That doesn’t mean make things easy because you are going to have to do the things others wont to get what you want. It means break it down to make it simple for you. As I have down below with a few things that has helped me through some sleepless nights and Mantrums (they are man tantrums for those of you who don’t know)…

1. Work on projects rather than businesses Once upon a time a wise mentor of mine said “the only reason you start a business is to sell a business.” Considering he had is own plane, he clearly knew nothing. How wrong could I have been. It sounds ridiculous but have an exit strategy. Its ok to have it. In fact, its business savvy. So, look at your business as a project. It will help you work on it at all times and find it easier to let go when the time comes to do so. Because it will.

2. Have a deeper reason past your project. Use your business or project as a vehicle to achieve something on a larger scale. The glamour of a business wares off. The burn of something deeper and the pursuit of contributing to something larger than yourself wont. Make your life mean more than the business. It will also attract the right people.

3. Lose your ego If you have been in business for 2 years and everything has been going really well then I need to tell you 2 things. 1: in business years, you are 2. You are literally an infant. Stop talking and learn to walk. 2: you have literally not hit a storm yet. And storms always come. It’s how we find out who the best at what they do really are. So, if everything has been peachy, then don’t be fooled, life is playing a game with you (you know nothing…….).

4. The only way to fail is to give up. And if it is really your dream, you will never, ever give up. Be flexible in your approach but disciplined in the outcome.

5. Give. Just give. Give your time, give your money. Hold no attachment. It will come back in abundance. But not if you tell the world about it. Don’t be “that” guy.

Well, Young Grasshopper, I wish you all the best in your dirty work and soul searching. Just remember to have fun, we aren’t getting out of this alive. When all is said and done, that's what matters the most.

Take Care and Kick Arse!




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