How to actually reach your dreams. If I had a dollar for every time someone said “someday” I would be independently wealthy. Do you ever notice that most people don’t actually reach or live their dreams? I came across a meme this morning that has been credited to Nikolas Tesla – “Comfort is a drug. Once you get used to it, it becomes addicting. Give a weak person consistent stimulation, good food, cheap entertainment and they will throw their ambitions right out the window. The comfort zone is where dreams go to die.”
I have a love hate relationship with this new world of memes that we live in. There are so many amazing memes of wisdom out there I will confess to actually collecting them. I even with some regularity write and post a series of blog post called Better questions and reflection to live by. I have currently posted 14 said posts to my website with more to come. But with all this wisdom floating around why are most of us no smarter or wiser?
I digress, how to actually reach your dreams. Because this meme is probably the only reason I am living my dream. It really does come down to one word – sacrifice. No sacrifice NO dream realized. It really is that simple. Unless you are independently wealthy and then you simply buy your dream. For the rest of us it is 100% sacrifice.
Most people say “someday” so often that I suspect most people have actually stopped dreaming. They have given up to a 9 to 5 daily grind with 2 weeks a year vacation till the day they die and are quite happy in their world to do so. And even more happy to complain about it. They live on autopilot and then one day it’s too late. Did you have a dream? Have you forgotten how to dream? It’s true what they say. Life is not about working 40 to 80 hours a week for over 50 years to retire rich or poor and then die.
Assuming that you are one of the few that have not given up to resignation and you still have a dream that you are reaching for. What are you sacrificing to reach that dream? And is your goal or dream worthy of your effort? Some of us only have small dreams or goals. So be it, this post is not about judging. But there are a few of us out there if given the chance to be free to dream our biggest dreams and goals are capable of some pretty big dreams and goals.
If I walked into your apartment or home would I know something is different about you? What kind of vehicle would be parked in the driveway? Would I be forced to ask “What’s going on here? What are you working on or towards?” Or does your place look like everyone else’s place, full of stuff?
To make my current bike ride (or my dream) a reality I sacrificed every day for 9 years. Every day with every decision I asked myself does this choice, decision or purchase bring me a step closer or further from my dream? When it comes to stuff. Get rid of it and get rid of all of it. Unless something actually has meaning or personal value or you use it on a fairly regular bases then get rid of it. Extreme minimalism.
Usually, the first question is why would I get rid of something I don’t have to until I am ready to realize my dream? First, we have to ask ourselves why do we buy stuff? To feel good about ourselves or to bring pleasure. Even if it’s only temporary pleasure which it usually is. If you are serious about your dreams and goals you will not get any closer to your dreams as long as you are feeding the need for pleasure. And because the more comforts you have the quicker you will lose focus of your dreams. You get rid of the stuff to maintain focus.
What kind of vehicle is in your driveway? If you own a vehicle that requires monthly payments then likely you are living beyond your means or once again distracted from your dream by owning something that depreciates in value. Better yet if at all possible, you shouldn’t have a vehicle. Bike it or public transit will save you thousands and thousands of dollars a year.
How to actually reach your dreams
Everyday you should “feel or experience” your sacrifice to reach your dream. Feeling or experiencing your sacrifice is what keeps you on track. It’s what keeps you focused on the big picture. When you feel that pain or discomfort and you find yourself asking why? You now have an answer. Because I am reaching and working everyday for my dream. And then you can tell yourself that because I am capable to get through “this” whatever this is. I will be successful in reaching my dreams. If you are not feeling the “pain” on almost a daily basis than you are in a position to sacrifice more to see your dreams into reality sooner.
The pain keeps you focused and disciplined. The daily pain becomes the motivation to push harder. Who wants to feel pain any longer than necessary? And if your dreams are big enough the mental strength of getting through your sacrifices doesn’t hurt either.
An example how I felt the pain that helped my to actually reach my dreams
I haven’t driven a vehicle for almost 10 years leading up to my bike ride. That meant biking the 21 km’s between home and work rain or shine or snow all year round for many years. I was fortunate that I was often only home on weekends and sometimes only every other week. But in the beginning, I would bike back and forth every day. And I would bike in the winter also. Often, I got home at midnight or later on a Saturday night or have to bike that in the rain. Sometimes when I took the bus I would have to stand out in -15C freezing my but off wondering why?
What choices or decisions had I made in life that I am going through this misery or hell? And then as quickly as I asked myself, I would remember – oh yeah, my dream is to do a 50,000 km bike ride through 24 different countries. And because I was willing to suffer through this misery, then I WAS going to see my dream come true.
I wrote another blog post called 21 Crazy and not so crazy ways I saved money for this bike ride. You can find it HERE. Not every way or example are going to necessarily be applicable to you. We all have different situations or dreams. But I do encourage you to check it out as there maybe principals or modified choices that you can implement. If it only makes you rethink or renew your motivation it’s worth it.
Another way that you know that you are on the right track is everyone will think you are crazy for your choices. The reason many people will think that you are crazy because in you they will see how they gave up on their own dreams a long time ago and they see their failure through your sacrifices and successes. Double down with your sacrifices. You are on the right path.
Please don’t be fooled by the “feature photo” of the walkway heading to a sandy beach. Most peoples dream is to retire to a beach on the Caribbean. Perhaps it’s a good thing most people don’t succeed at this dream. Don’t settle for such a small story. While we were never designed to work 40 to 80 hours a week for over 50 years to retire rich or poor and then die. My personal philosophy was that we were never meant to retire on a beach either.
We are all here on this planet with certain gifts for a reason. Part of our purpose is to live everyday using our gifting to try to figure that reason out. Strangely our passions and dreams tend to be fairly closely aligned with our purpose. There is no purpose to retirement and/or retiring to some beach. Even if you realize that retiring on a beach is wishful thinking, stopping thinking about the beach. Feed your mind and thoughts with ideas such as purpose and living a bigger story. And stop saying “someday” will help you actually reach your dreams.