For the past year and a half, I’ve been overly apologetic when I explain our homestead to first time visitors. I play it down a lot, because I’m seeing all the unrealized potential that I was expecting to have achieved by now.

There are good reasons, naturally. My health took a noticeable nose dive since 2012, which is saying a lot considering the challenges I’d already been facing for the better part of a decade. Still, I hate to be that guy who was once-upon-a-time going to do something exciting and different but is now just a guy with a bunch of land that just sits there. 

Who wants to be THAT guy, right? Lame. Leaving behind the creature comforts of city life without the accomplishments is like being baptized into the redneck religion. It just doesn’t happen unless you’ve thrown your life away for methamphetamines.

As I paused to reflect this week, I realized that some of the people I admire most in the world have been idealists bursting with unrealized potential. That’s how they eventually accomplished their dreams. They started by seeing what wasn’t there and talking about it as thought it was. They literally willed their dreams into existence by refusing to relent or apologize for the imperfection of the present.

So, as I hunker down in my chair with a nice sheet of sweat weighing down my shirt, I share these thoughts with you. This land that has lain more dormant than I ever intended will come alive with purpose. The day will come when I give friends tours through walking gardens laden with medicinal herbs, edible flowers, and soil enhancing vegetation. I see a day when I recognize every single plant on my land, and I can share the purpose and value of each one.

That’s important to me because even now, when I walk our property, I mostly see green plants I can’t name. I’m years behind where I want to be in plant knowledge. But it’s important to me to develop a land where everything has a purpose. We might not see or understand the manifold purposes or abilities of each plant, but we’ll know why we brought it here and what we can do with it.

And then the land takes on a whole new meaning. It takes on an aura that cannot be extinguished. It becomes a living canvas of life and value and intricate relationship. And I will savor every bit of it.

So maybe idealism isn’t so bad

If you’ve been embarrassed by unrealized potential, don’t stop there. Ask yourself whether you still believe in the ideals that led you down this path. If the answer is yes, consider reclaiming your ideals and speaking them out loud each new day.

It’s basically self-encouragement. Championship athletes master self-talk and envisioning the goal. It’s what winners do. You can do it too.

How to start reversing the failure curse

Stick to three goals. Limit yourself even if you really think 5-10 different goals are driving you. Simple is better. They may evolve with experience, but don’t be too hasty to change any one of them.

My goals, for example:

  • Achieve financial independence through blog business
  • Implement permaculture design for homestead