We all have them.
Some of us want to be movie stars. Some of us want to be musicians, or writers. Some of us want to be teachers, or doctors, or lawyers.
Or maybe, your dream is to not do anything at all, but to live life sitting on a beach with a fruity drink in your hand.
Dreams come in all shapes and sizes, and almost no two are alike. Even if two people share a desire to become an astronaut, then it’s quite likely they will have very different reasons and motivations.
We begin to dream at a young age, with each of us receiving varying levels of support from friends and family. Nevertheless, we all grow up with something— whether it’s spoken aloud and acknowledged, or a secret kept inside and hidden from the world, and possibly yourself — that we desperately hope of becoming, doing, or achieving in our future.
In the end, though, the sad truth is that many — probably even most — of us never see those dreams come to fruition.
Instead, we live our lives hoping that our deep desires will someday come true, all while feeling stuck or trapped in the job/marriage/home/etc. that you end up feeling like you “settled” for.
You wanna know how to prevent yourself from ending up this way?
Give up on your dreams. It’s as simple as that.
Let Go of the Impossible
Let me be clear. I’m not saying that you need to give up on your goals in life, just your dreams. There’s a difference.
You see, by nature, even labeling something a “dream” brings with it a sense of impossibility or, at the very least, improbability.
Think about it. How many times have you heard the phrase “dream big?” Or “follow your dreams.” They are nothing more than feel-good statements meant to comfort. To help us feel better about ourselves and believe we could do better and more important things with our lives if we really wanted to, but that we just haven’t found the “perfect time” yet to do so.
Having a “dream” is just a way for us to convince ourselves we are meant for bigger things in this life. Something for us to cling to when we start to feel bad about where we’re currently at, or for being too lazy to work toward a real better future.
Heck, even the term “daydream” refers to a series of pleasant thoughts meant to distract you from your present situation.
But if you never do anything about that, then that’s exactly what they will remain: THOUGHTS.
So if you ever hope to achieve that thing you desire out of life, then you need to separate reality from fantasy. Get real with yourself and stop wasting time with the romanticized “what ifs” that fill up your thoughts during your day-to-day life.
Stop thinking and start acting.
Accept the Reality
If you can ever hope to “make your dreams come true,” as they say, then the first step is to drop the facade and accept the reality.
You’ll quickly learn that reality isn’t nearly as fun and easy as what gets shown in movies and television shows, when people younger than you seem to achieve twice as much in a mashed-up 5-minute slideshow.
Reality means waking up an hour earlier than everyone else to get a headstart. Or perhaps staying up till the middle of the night, after the rest of your family has gone to sleep, to finish up your writing goals for the day — even though you have to be up early the next morning.
Reality is hard work, it’s soul-crushing, and it will make you feel like you are all alone in this world. And even though you aren’t alone, you need to learn to get comfortable with the feeling anyway.
The sooner you stop waiting for someone else to lead you to success and relying on others to help you out, the better. I’m not saying to turn down the good advice, criticisms, or genuine helping hands — no one truly gets successful all alone — but you should be able to count on yourself to do all the heavy lifting and time investing.
Understand that, while you will have people cheering for you and hoping for you to succeed, there’s no one in the world that’s going to care about you meeting your goals as much as you do.
It’s Not All Bad News
For most people, it’s the reality of the impending struggle that stops them from ever trying to change their lives in the first place.
But remember, if you don’t try, then a dream will only ever be a dream. A figment of your imagination.
The truth of the matter is that this fear of the struggle is usually worse than the struggle itself.
We have a tendency of painting the ugliest pictures in our heads — of imagining, and then believing, the worst-case scenarios of situations — even though we all know 99% of the time, they turn out better than expected.
Once you can convince yourself out of automatically assuming all your attempts toward your goals will end in a fiery blaze of pain, misery, and embarrassment, you’ll quickly find that the struggle isn’t nearly as bad as it sounded.
In fact, the struggle can be enjoyable, satisfying, and therapeutic in its own special kind of way.
As much as I wish I could find life-changing success after a few weeks of working, I know it wouldn’t feel nearly as fulfilling as it will after struggling and grinding toward my goals year after year. Believing that all your hard work will pay off in the end can be such a joyful feeling, and can be crucial to keeping up the hard work on the days where it all feels pointless and futile.
Perhaps the best part of the struggle is that you will have ample time and opportunity to learn from your failures and mistakes, which will, in turn, make you stronger, smarter, and more prepared for the future.
Try not to focus on the “nos” and instead start asking yourself “why?” It’s by doing this that you will figure out which paths not to take and which ways will most likely lead to success.
No More Dreams, Only Goals
By this point, you are no longer drifting through life wondering when, or if, your dreams will come true. You’ve given up on your dreams, and have turned them into solid, real, achievable goals — they are no longer imaginary fantasies, now they are desires within your reach.
You’ve turned what was an impossibility into a possibility. You’ve turned an idea into a belief. You’ve turned a dream into reality.
Now that the notion of what “could be” has become what “can be,” all that stands between you and your goals/desires is the work it takes to get there. And although the work is going to be hard, and it might take a long time, you’ve already gotten past the hard part: changing your mindset.
Oftentimes, all it takes to change your life is to change how you think.