The Myth of Pre-Requisites: What Are You Waiting For?

The Myth of Pre-requisites.


I know I was when I first heard this mentioned on the This is Fifty podcast. The guest, Marcia Wieder, is an author and coach who writes about dreams–the waking, visionary kind, not the sleeping, restorative kind–and she spoke about how important it is to not only have dreams, but also to nurture them, keep them alive in our imaginations, close at hand.

Too often, though, we think of dreams as silly, idle time-fillers, kids’ stuff, impossible, so we take one of two paths–either we talk ourselves out of pursuing them, or we talk ourselves out of dreaming altogether.

I’m guilty of the latter.

None of that dream stuff for me. I live in the real world. With real problems. And real striving. And real . . . well, . . . drudgery.

But hey, at least I’m not doing that silly dream stuff.

I leave that for other people.

Most of the time.

But every so often, when the veil is thin, a tiny, pesky little one slips through . . . maybe I can write a book . . . maybe I can spend my summers in Europe . . . and I . . . dream . . . .

But not for long.

Because, you see, a steady stream of “Pre-requisites,” march steadily across my field of vision:

When I . . . then I’ll . . .

First I must . . . then I can

Once I have . . . then I’ll be able to . . .

First A, then B

First A, then B

First A, then B

And so they march on.


The litany of pre-requisites streaming between me and my dreams. Interweaving. Interjecting. Interrupting.

Where was I?

Ah yes, life. March on!

But is it true?

Is it true that all these pre-requisites must first be met before we can live our dreams?

Marcia Wieder tells the story of how she put off her dream of moving to Italy for many years, telling herself that “when her parents finally left this earth, that’s when she would make the move.”

But is it true?

And more importantly, is it necessary?

Did she need to wait until her parents were gone before she moved to Rome?

Does my neighbor need to lose 50 lbs before she can start to date?

Do I need a book contract before I write?


Of course not.

But we do it all the time, don’t we? Throw up these “pre-requisites” between ourselves and our deepest desires?

And that is the Myth.

That some imaginary pre-requisite must first be fulfilled before we can pursue our dreams.

First, a pot of gold, before designing our dream business.

First, an agent, before writing that book.

First, no fear, before we take a step.

So we wait, and wait, and wait.

For that pot of gold to appear. For the agent to sign us. For the fear to subside.

And we hold ourselves at arms length from what we want most.

We wait.

For the perfect moment.

Which, in fact, is no moment at all.

But eternity.

So you might as well start now.

What are you waiting for?



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Categories: Reflections


2 replies

  1. Tina, this post hits home – maybe too close. You posted 2 days ago, with no comments, so I think I’m in the majority. Who wants to admit that they conduct their life under pre-requisites? After all, aren’t pre-requisites about classes and school? If my pre-requisite for writing this comment is for others to write first – then I’m pushing through my fear to say –

    ‘Bravo Tina, you are speaking about the dirty messes in our minds. That’s brave! Thanks to your courageousness! Thanks for forcing me to think! Thanks for letting me know that you are going through the same thing! Thanks for making me feel … even if I don’t especially like the feelings that arise. Thank you for you!’

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