(originally posted 10/26/2017 on www.cdennismoore.com)

“Every second of the search is an encounter with God,” the boy told his heart. “When I have been truly searching for my treasure, every day has been luminous, because I’ve known that every hour was a part of the dream that I would find it. When I have been truly searching for my treasure, I’ve discovered things along the way that I never would have seen had I not had the courage to try things that seemed impossible for a shepherd to achieve.”

“Everyone on earth has a treasure that awaits him,” his heart said. “We, people’s hearts, seldom say much about those treasures, because people no longer want to go in search of them. We speak of them only to children. Later, we simply let life proceed, in its own direction, toward its own fate. But, unfortunately, very few follow the path laid out for them–the path to their Personal Legends, and to happiness. Most people see the world as a threatening place, and, because they do, the world turns out, indeed, to be a threatening place.”

–THE ALCHEMIST, by Paulo Coelho, page 135

This isn’t a new topic, nor will it be the last time I address it. I can blog til I’m blue in the face, I can fill up webpage after webpage with words of encouragement, but no one can achieve your goals FOR you. You HAVE to take those steps yourself.

And sometimes, the things you find, the people you encounter along the way, will add to your life in ways you never could have predicted.

When I started writing reviews for my local literary guild’s monthly newsletter, I was trying to fill space, and to give myself motivation to read some of the books on my shelf (I started reviewing only writing books, forcing an education upon myself as I built up a stockpile of reviews for the newsletter). Then I discovered I really enjoyed writing reviews, so I kept going, and soon I was writing them for a review website, and then I branched out into movies and music, and that led me to writing reviews for The Horror Zine where I met a very close friend, Caleb Straus, who when we met, was seeking reviewers for his movie, IT’S OVER. From that humble beginning 20+ years ago with a little book on how to break into writing comics and a 200 word review, I’ve made a friend for life.

The same goes for everyone else on my team. I met Dave when I asked him to edit a short story collection I was putting together, and I asked him because a fellow writer, Steve Vernon, had asked me to review his collection, NIGHTMARE DREAMS. Again, it goes back to those reviews I started doing as a space-filler. I loved the collection and wanted to work with the editor who helped shape it. David Bain was that man, and one thing led to another and now over a decade later he’s the only writer from those message board days I keep in touch with on any significant level.

But I never set out to 1) writer reviews or 2) make lifelong best friends. Those things came about as a side effect of the real dream: to write for a living. And while I’m still working, every day, toward achieving that goal, look at where it’s led me.

So many times we let fear keep us not only from realizing our dreams, but from even attempting to live them. And that’s got to stop. First of all, how can you ever succeed if you don’t first risk failure? You can’t win the lottery unless you buy a ticket. And while buying a ticket doesn’t guarantee a win, NOT buying one guarantees a loss.

We live so long in our comfort zones for a reason, the very same reason they’re called comfort zones. But all comfort zones really do is lull you into a haze and keep you from taking the action necessary to live the life you want to live.

Step outside that zone once in a while and experience the world. Decide on the life you want to live, map out the steps necessary to get there, make a plan, and take action. Not later. Now. Before you get left behind.

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