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How to tell loved ones their pipe dreams are unhealthy

"Crossroads: Success or Failure"
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Los Angeles is a city of big breaks and broken dreams where talented go-getters either get a lucky break as working actors, singers, producers, et cetera, or live in frustrated delusion.

There are objective ways to figure out who is going to "make it big" according to career coach Marty Nemko, Ph.D. "There are simple questions to assess whether someone's dreams are reality-based," Nemko says. He asks, "As you look back, have people been willing to pay you? What if you you relegated your dream to a hobby - would you be devastated or relieved? What is your drive level? Are you living off someone else's money to pursue your goal?"

Nemko says if the answers are worrying, then loved ones should avoid Pollyannaish cheerleading. However, psychotherapist Janice Kinter, Ph.D., counsels, "It is hard to take away someone's hope. Losing hope is one of the biggest signs of depression."

Actor Gene Hackman went to acting school after being in the U.S. Marine corps, then was voted “least likely to succeed” by teachers at the Pasadena Playhouse. Should he have quit? How do you know whether a dream career is more of a fantasy? What's the best way to talk about this touchy subject?


Marty Nemko, Career coach and Psychology Today contributor; “Dismiss Pollyanna