Die Trying, Don’t Die Dreaming

by Dr. Monroe Mann, PhD, Esq, MBA, ME, LLM, EMT
Founder & Executive Director, Break Diving, Inc.

Wake up people!  You could die tomorrow!  Heck, you could die TODAY!

I hear so many people talking about what they are going to do one day, or what they are going to have one day, but if I ask them what they are doing to reach that goal today, they have a million excuses.   “Um, well, you see, about that…”  Blah blah blah!

It’s true: sometimes, no matter how hard you try, and no matter what you do, you will not succeed.  That is not me being pessimistic.  It is reality: we can’t always get what we want.  It’s life.  Life is cruel.  Life is ‘unfair’ (whatever that means).  But it’s reality.  While I hope beyond hope that every single dream of yours comes true, if we are not totally stricken with delusion, we all recognize that not everything we set out to do is going to succeed.

Does that mean that we shouldn’t try?  Does that mean we should give up?  Does that mean that we should never attempt to pursue great challenges?

NO!  Of course not!

Every single day we should be trying.  If you want to adopt a child or an animal, why are you waiting?  If you want to travel the world, do it already!  If you want to fight drunk driving and combat texting and driving, get off your ass!  If you want to contribute to disaster relief, and raise money to fight cancer, heelllllloooo?  If you want to become a movie star, save the planet, or write that book you have always dreamed of… DO IT ALREADY.  Or (as the point of this article should make clear)… at least try. Try to do or master standup comedy.  Try to learn or master javascript, C++, react, and ruby.  Try to create a sculpture or learn to draw.  Just TRY already.

And if you already did ‘try’, and failed, then hello!  TRY AGAIN YOU LAZY SELF-CRITICAL BUM!  Don’t you realize that the only person keeping you from trying again is… you!  I don’t care if you failed the first time–this time, maybe you won’t!  This time, you’re a different person.  This time, you are going to find a new teacher.  This time, you are going to stop listening to that self-defeatist voice nagging and nagging in your head.  This time… you are not going to stop trying until… you succeed.  Or… until you DIE TRYING.

As I often say to my actor friends and clients, “Look, someone has to be on the next cover of People Magazine.  Why shouldn’t it be you?”  Does it mean that we will all get onto the cover of People?  No.  In fact, 99% of us won’t.  But…. and it’s a BIIIGGGG ‘but’: one of us will.  Someone out there is going to be on the next cover of People.  And the only way it can be you is if you try.

You don’t necessarily have to work directly to get onto the cover of People.  For example, you’re probably not just going to ask them to put you on the cover.  But you can do things that would entice them to want to put you on the cover.  This is all Guerrilla Networking (based on a book I wrote) and it’s all about making those you want to meet… COME TO YOU.  In other words, do the things that will entice them to take notice of you!  Go on an audition–which could lead to a big role that makes you famous.  Write a screenplay–which could turn into the next blockbuster.  Run for office–and become the next great controversial politician, haha.

My point is this: try!  Every day, try!  Try a new book.  Try a new class.  Try a class that you took last year that didn’t work out.  Try with new advice from someone else.  Try with old advice from the same person, but this time, really put the advice into action.  Try in a new venue.  Try in a new city.   Try in a new country!  Try with a new outlook.  Try with more patience and forgiveness.  Try with more determination.  Try with more willingness to accept that you need to become better.  Try with more humility.  KEEP TRYING!

I want you to be trying so many things every single day towards your dreams that even if you die RIGHT NOW, everyone will remember you as “Someone Who Died Trying”.  And I think that’s a pretty awesome epithet.  Truly, even if I never reach my life’s major goals and see my wildest dreams come true, I would still be so proud if I saw on my tombstone the words: “Monroe Mann — Here lies a great man who died trying.”

To some, that may seem like a poor way to be remembered.  Ahh, but not so!  Someone who dies trying is someone inspiring!  That is someone who died with a mission, and a strong sense of purpose!   That is someone who brings a smile to my face!

You see, I don’t want you to die as “Someone Who Died Dreaming”.  Dreaming?  That means you died a lazy person who day-dreamed about a future he never actively pursued?  (Yes, I wrote ‘he’–I am politically incorrect, and I don’t care–bwu ha ha ha!  Feel free to replace that pronoun with whatever you want!)

But seriously please, don’t be someone who is constantly dreaming, and never doing.

I want you to try.

And I honestly do not care one iota if you fail.


Because you won’t.

As long as you are always trying, it means you are actively pushing towards your dream, and if that’s the case… YOU HAVE NOT YET FAILED.  It means there are only two options in your life:


And that, my friends, is one of my life’s great mottos.  You can see how it fits in perfectly with the Break Diver’s Creed: No Rules, No Excuses, No Regrets.  It’s basically saying the same thing!

Bottom line: the only people who have failed in the pursuit of a dream are… those who have undeniably given up and thrown in the towel.

The antidote?

Do not be that type of person.

Do not be a failure.

Just keep trying.

Keep trying!

And please… (I beg of you!)… die trying.

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