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Take chances, be optimistic and chase your dreams

By Colleen Young
On February 13, 2013

I want to help everyone have the courage to pursue their dreams. It makes me so sad when people tell themselves that their goals are not worth trying for, just because they're afraid of getting hurt. It's time for all of us, including myself, to break down our protective walls, overcome our fears and let ourselves know that we deserve to be courageous enough to work toward earning the best the world has to offer.

Maybe you don't have this pessimistic outlook on life that I'm trying to rid people of. However, I can bet that just like me, you've expected the worst in a situation just to protect yourself from truly being upset if things went wrong.

I think we tell ourselves that we're going to face obstacles and get hurt along the way just to scare ourselves away from trying. That way, if something does go wrong, we aren't caught off guard. Though with that method, I feel that we just add to our pre-existing negative outlook on the situation.

How sad is that?

We would take so many more chances, be more receptive to people and have happier lives if we decided to think optimistically for a change. What if you did try for that dream job? What if you decided to talk to the person that you've been fond of? What if instead of putting yourself down by saying your goals are unrealistic, we fearlessly went after what we wanted in life? I think that brave optimism would be quite contagious.

If we let ourselves expect the best out of a situation, suddenly it'd be all we can think of. All throughout our days, we'd picture what it'd be like to get that wonderful opportunity. We'd picture it truly coming true and all of a sudden, we'd even count on it!

However, that's the feeling that so many of us don't allow ourselves to have. We block those daydreams in an effort to not let ourselves get too worked up about something we may never get. Whether we get that specific opportunity or not, that feeling we've experienced even for a moment, is so motivating that it'll lead us to take even more chances until something great really does come along.

For example, I had recently heard of a contest with a prize that would have truly made my dreams come true. It was for VIP tickets to the "Live with Kelly and Michael" show, along with a trip to New York City, where it's filmed.

I was determined to win and worked very hard on my entry, writing a full letter and providing a happy picture of myself to accompany it. I was already picturing the pink outfit I'd wear to the show, hoping that Kelly and Michael would see me and miraculously decide that they need a third co-host - me.

However, even after having loved ones proofread my letter and help me send it off with well-wishes, I never did hear back. For all of you on the edges of your seats, I don't think I won.

Instead of letting that disappointment bring me down, I'm going to keep trying!

Someone much more deserving won the contest, but there will be many more opportunities for me. If I let that loss change me, imagine all the future opportunities I'd miss out on! I need to keep trying and so you do with all of your aspirations.

I didn't expect the worst - instead, I expected the best and now I'm even more motivated to keep trying to achieve the best in that scenario.

I'll stop expecting the worst out of situations, holding myself back and putting myself down just in an effort to protect myself, as long as you promise to do the same. I don't think we're protecting ourselves at all by holding back - we're hurting ourselves and hindering our chances to achieve what we've always dreamed of.

This semester, push yourself to get that excellent grade you always dreamed of. Apply for that internship or job that you never thought you'd get. Work tirelessly toward that life goal that you never thought you could reach. Even on this upcoming Valentine's Day, talk to that one special person that makes you as happy as can be.

No matter what it is, go for it. The obstacles that you overcome along the way will make it even more worth it. Let's stop holding ourselves back from living a pretty exciting life! You can change the world and your goals can be achieved.

Colleen Young can be reached by email at

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