Transform Your Dreams Into Reality

Transform Your Dreams Into Reality

I’m a huge believer in dreaming big. In the past 2 months I’ve set lofty goals for myself that I hope to accomplish in the next several years.

You might have a few dreams of your own, things you’d love to do, if only you had the right tools and enough time. Well, lucky for you, I’m going to share with you the biggest hurdles you’ll face in reaching these goals and how to effectively beat them.

This post will be long, but I hope crammed with really practical advice about saving your dreams from the trash heap. For the best results, don’t skim; read everything carefully and begin visualizing success in your own ventures.

Impossible is a big word thrown around by small people.

There are few things that the average person can’t accomplish, given the right tools and a lot of persistence. That being said, most people won’t accomplish 10% of the goals they set for themselves.

Why is that?

I’ve heard people say, “Well, that’s just the sad reality of life.”

These people have taught themselves that failure is the natural result of trying. When they do see success stories, they convince themselves that its the result of luck – inherited ability or just being in the right place at the right time. They don’t even dabble with the thought that these people were the captains of their own fate; that would give them far to much responsibility for their own lives.

An alternative answer is this: people don’t achieve goals, because they don’t actively pursue them. There isn’t a professional actor out there who didn’t put in long hours honing their craft. Not one athlete that didn’t shed gallons of sweat in pursuit of excellence.

Anyone who’s found success will tell you the first step is putting one foot in front of the other. Then, and only then, can you develop the skills you need to succeed and shape the course of your life.

The biggest obstacle you will face

If a goal didn’t take any work, we’d call it a commodity. Instead of working your butt off to become the next Lance Armstrong, you’d go on to amazon.com and see what the market rate was for becoming a world-class biker.

Life’s not that easy, and you should be glad it isn’t. Working towards your goals is part of what makes life exciting. Each day, you get to grow as a person, challenge yourself in new ways, and tinker with the approach that works best for you.

The hardest part in achieving your goals is probably the most obvious: taking action. You’re probably thinking “I could have told you that one.” Well, you’re right, you should’ve known this, but realizing it doesn’t mean you know how to beat it. That’s the tricky part.

The place where dreams go to die

I hate writing about the negatives, I’d rather inspire people with words that ignite a passion. But sometimes, in order to turn our lives around, we have to fully understand why something isn’t working.

The way most people attempt to turn their dreams into reality isn’t working. Despite the best intentions in the world, there’s nothing remotely inspiring about the changes they’ve made. That’s because there are none; their lives haven’t changed at all. We have a word for that – stagnation.

So, what’s holding them back? It’s probably the same things that held me back for so long. Right now, there are forces acting on each of us in powerful ways. Some you may consciously recognize, others have flown under your radar for quite a while.

It’s time we call out these influences for what they are – supporters of the status quo. In subtle ways, they crush our dreams, all the while making us believe that we’re stuck with the life we have now.

1. Social Pressure to conform

It’s hard to say which of these forces is the most powerful. I guess, for each person, it depends on the unique set of traits that makes you unique.

For me, this force has an enormous influence. I care deeply about the relationships in my life, and I only surround myself with people I truly enjoy. That being said, not everyone “gets” me.

People are naturally skeptical of anything out of the norm. So, when you declare that the 9-5 desk job doesn’t interest you, they stare at you in disbelief. “Who is this guy who think he doesn’t have to work a real job?”

Well, I’m me. It’s the life I’m choosing, because time is too precious to spend doing stuff that doesn’t make you come alive.

All of this – every single word – can be boiled down to one line: be yourself, follow your heart and you won’t go wrong.

2. Fear of Failure

Whoa, did I say failure? Does that mean things might go horribly wrong and I might end up with nothing but the clothes on my back and the friends by my side? In a word – yes.

There are no guarantees when it comes to chasing dreams. But there aren’t any promises that the job you have now will still be around next year. Nothing says you’ll be happy if things stay the same. People change, we learn to love things and dislike others.

The safest road you can take is the one that makes you pop out of bed in the morning. Success comes as a result of passion, if you don’t believe me – find one person changing the world who doesn’t love what they do. Or try to find someone unsuccessful who has an unharnessed passion for their work. Trust me, you won’t.

3. Laziness

OK, so most people who dream big dreams and set lofty goals aren’t that lazy.

The problem is, they’ve been duped into thinking that they can become the next instant success. Nobody in the history of the world (that I know of) has become an overnight success by setting out to be just that.

Just look at Leo Babuata of Zen Habits. He never started that blog to become one of the biggest, most well-known bloggers in the world. He wanted to share his ideas and grow an audience slowly by giving away really useful information to his readers.

Lo and behold – people found his blog inspiring and highly readable. They shared it with others and the whole thing snowballed into one of the greatest internet success stories of the past 5 years.

Long story, short: Don’t look for the easy road. Figure out what you love to do and find a way to create value you can deliver back to others. If you do that well enough, people will be willing to pay you for the value you add to their lives.

4. Perfectionism

I’m not a perfectionist in the typical sense of the word, but I do find myself constantly waiting for the perfect time to act, or for the right skills to achieve my goals.

For example, I know my writing skills are nothing to be desired. You may not think so, but I do, and the professors who grade my papers seem to agree with me.

So, I thought to myself “I’ll never be able to grow an blog audience if I can’t write like a pro.” But my dream was to start a blog and grow a readership of really awesome people who share the same passion as me (that’s you! Thanks for reading. Drop me a comment at the end of this article so I can meet you.)

I went ahead and started, despite my subpar writing skills. What happened? Well, I think (and I could be wrong) my writing skills have improved greatly. And people are reading my stuff because it connects with them. Apparently, my writing is at least good enough not to scare readers away. Whether it actually draws people in is another story.

The point is this, you’ll learn stuff as you go. In fact, you’ll probably learn faster this way than trying to do it on your own time. Go ahead and jump right into something new. Experimenting is the best way to open new doors and develop awesome skills you can use in so many ways

5. Lack of Motivation

Here’s one that you either have, or you don’t. You can’t fake motivation for long. I’ve tried to force myself to be excited about stuff before (like going to law school) but eventually I end lying in bed frustrated, wondering why nothing feels right.

The secret to finding motivation is so blatantly obvious that most of the time, we miss it. Do something you love to do and you’ll never struggle with motivation again. My goal is to find a career that I would gladly do without compensation.

To sum it up: motivation is the natural offspring of passion. Find passion, and motivation will take care of itself.

6. Time restraints

Let me honest with you – I’m not married, don’t have any kids, and I still go home during breaks at school.

So, I can’t possibly relate to this pressure in the way someone can with a family of their own to support.

That being said, I’ve learned a lot from others. I’ve studied the lives of people around me and have had to make choices about priorities in my own life. I still think I have something to add to this discussion.

Over the course of a day we make hundreds of tiny choice about how to spend out time. We may linger on the internet to blow off a few minutes, or stand in the shower for a while longer, enjoying the warmth. We check our email multiple times a day (or even an hour), or stop to help a child learn how to ride a bike.

There are trade-offs with every decision you make. I recommend you evaluate the choices you make and see if they are helping you reach you goals. Make this easier for yourself, for one day, right down every single thing you do and for how long you do it. It seems stupid, but you’ll be surprised at how much time you could be using better.

For the record, I think teaching a kid how to ride a bike is a good way to spend your time