life

Follow Your Dreams

Growing up, most of us imagined ourselves in a bunch of different roles and careers. We fantasized of being astronauts, explorers, actors, law enforcement officials, doctors, lawyers, and everything in between. We played with toys and dolls and reinacted scenarios where we achieved great feats, got the bad guy, explored other planets, and made it onto Broadway. The options were only as limited as our imaginations.

What happened? Why did we ever stop dreaming?

We got a little older and were told to grow up. We were informed we could never rise to such lofty expectations that we had as children. Good luck with that kid, why don't you go to school and get a real job! Be like your father, and go to work at the factory. This assimilation of thoughts seems proposterous, but it is the reality of the generation before us. Perhaps, career choices were not limited to specific trades or manual labor, but it was modern day practice to secure yourself a career position, start a family, own a piece of property, and work to pay it off and then die, occasionally taking a vacation break a couple weeks a year.

As with everything in life, moderation is key; like a pendulum, imbalance will manifest when weight is distributed unevenly on either side. To daydream and imagine a fantasy world is all well and good; however, simply wishing and hoping is useless and a waste of time.

YOU CAN DO WHATEVER YOU PUT YOUR MIND TO

Yes, and no. An indomitable spirit is an essential characteristic to posess when plowing through life and conquering your goals; that much is undeniable. An intense work ethic compliments the first asset marvelously; and lastly, consistency and perseverance combine to create a trifecta of success. Or do they?

The truth is, we could be the hardest-working, smartest people in the room. Day after day, we bust our assess- remaining patient, yet eagerly awaiting results. But they don't come

We always tinker with the formula, discovering ways to improve efficiency and productivity. Sometimes we literally do everything in our power to move forward. Exhausting our resources, we become more frustrated, digging ourselves deeper and deeper into a hole.

... OR CAN YOU?

Maybe you have a passion for painting. You eat, breathe, and sleep painting and the thoughts about it consume your mind. It is your happy place. When you paint, time evaporates as you stroke the bristle against the paper, creating art with your very fingers. You dream of being a blossoming artist, with your illustrations displayed at exhibits and conferences worldwide.

The only catch is.. you suck at painting.

No matter how hard you try, your drawings look like a child scribbled with a crayon. Nobody would pay a dime to put that junk in their living room.

Some people are born with talents- others, not so much. In a previous post we explore the concept of improving the things you're already good at, and becoming great at them, versus improving your skills from bad to mediocre.

So, if you suck at painting, yet have aspirations of becoming the next Van Gogh, what are you to do?

Realistically, if you are 100% honest with yourself, you may never make a penny painting on your canvas. This isn't to say that you cannot still pursue your passions- but as for the phrase "make your passion your paycheck"- that's just not in the cards for some. It almost sounds superfluous to say that such a circumstance could potentially be your reality, but it is absolutely true for some people. What is more true than that, however, is...

LIFE ISN'T FAIR

Luck is an interesting thing. It is viewed superstitiously like black cats in alleys and walking underneath ladders. A lot of people refuse to accept luck as a thing. I don't believe in luck, mutter those individuals. I create my own destiny.

While you personally have an enormous role in dictating your own progress, you cannot escape the fact that luck does exist. Some people just end up at the right place at the right time. The equation that some would use is:

Preparation + opportunity = success

So many people work hundreds of hours, with little to no return on investment. They grind away, crafting their skills as their peers proceed to go to social outings and various entertainment venues. A tedious, montonous, and repetitive routine is set in stone, as they chip away at transforming their vision into reality. Maybe- just maybe- they will be graced with a brief second of opportunity.

"Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work." - Thomas Edison

Again, the cold hard truth is this: some people just get lucky. They receive opportunities that others dont. Take into consideration the people born in the United States. We live in a country with limitless opportunities to further our career and build our empires. The majority of us have access to modern accommodations, job opportunities, and the ability to fail and restart an endless amount of times. Those born and raised in third-world countries, not so much. We often don't recognize this as an opportunity because we are so accustomed to it- but at the end of the day, that's exactly what it is.

YOUR CIRUMSTANCES DICTATE YOUR OUTCOME

For in-depth, real world examples of this, look no further than Malcolm Gladwell's Outliers: 

It's not what you know- but who you know.

Surrounding yourself with influential, ambitious individuals gives you a foot in the door, per-se. Your network determines your net worth. You are the sum of the 5 closest people you surround yourself with. Insert a bunch of other inspiring quotes here; they all mean the same exact thing.

Your friends, your environment, the time and date you were born, the state of current affairs- all of these circumstances dictate your ability to "make it" in the world. Like it or not, that's just the way it is.

AND THAT'S THE WAY THE COOKIE CRUMBLES

We cannot all be astronauts, celebrities, rockstars, or congressmen and women. But that's not an invitation to allow others' disbelief to permeate our consciousness. We have the right to dream; it is our responsibility to be slightly realistic, though. If we can't sing, play an instrument, or put on a performance.. we're not going to be rockstars. Plain and simple. It all recycles back to the beginning- find the couple things you're pretty good at, and master them. This allows us to express our individuality and give our unique gift to the world in an infinite abundance.

 

The Big Picture: 4 Techniques to Penetrate Life Forcefully

VISUALIZE

Sit down for a moment and think: what do you want your life to look like, in the grand scheme of things? What's the big picture look like? The ultimate goal?

Close your eyes and envision yourself the exact way you want to be, at your highest development. What characteristics does this individual portray? What lifestyle do they live? What goals and challenges has this ambitious individual overcome with ferocious tenacity?

The more detailed you can be in your description,  the more effective your visualization techniques will be. Imagine yourself a decade from now: What will you be wearing? Where will you be living? By what means will you obtain income to provide for your kingdom? What regrets might you have if you don't pursue your burning passions deliberately and intently?

All of these questions are necessary to confront if expecting to climb toward your ultimate potential. It might be helpful to unplug for a while in order to decrease distractions and environmental influence to seriously inquire within regarding your ultimate vision. While you can have every scrupulous detail mapped out and accounted for, don't forget to invite opportunity in your life as well. Sometimes the life we receive is not necessarily the one we ask for, but the one we require most.

With the end goal in mind, we can then begin to manifest our ideas into reality.

DECIDE

Once you have spent some time visualizing your dreams, you then make a decision to work toward them. Sounds simple enough, but a lot of individuals fail at this very step. You need to eliminate all distractions and seriously focus. Distractions come in endless varieties; from entertainment platforms, social groups whose goals and rituals don't correlate with yours, lustful pleasures, and a plethora of other things, they are always competing for our focus and attention. It is essential to be aware in the present moment and dial in to the frequency you perform optimally at.

This next step is crucial . Over the next few days, identify distractions you encounter on a daily basis. While it is impossible to eliminate every last one, you can definitely mitigate the disruptions we face on a daily basis. Gradually strip away the baggage until your support network is as obsessed with your goals as you are, and your free time is spent mindfully enhancing yourself in various aspects, versus unenthusiastically browsing social media and deteriorating your brain cells.

You will admittedly face adversity as you inform your peers of your lifestyle change, and at first this may seem overwhelming. However, resistance is to be expected, and you can learn to appreciate it; usually, it lets you know you're doing something right. Embrace the tension as you tread lightly into the unknown and exit your comfort zone. Which leads us next to...

EXECUTE

You have a clear picture in your head, and you made the decision that you're going to do whatever it takes to reach it. Now comes the time to create the blueprint for your life, a game plan if you will. Your end goals in mind should be enormous and larger than life itself. They need to be so large and powerful that there's no possible way to achieve them until you transform into a particular individual that can.

An efficient way to delegate your goals is to break them up into categories. An example would be setting a 1 month, 3 month, and 6 month goal; 1 year, 5 year, 10 year goal- however you please, really. Identify the milestones you need to breach and approximately how much time each would require. Be aggressive, but realistic. This skill takes time to hone, but you've got plenty of time to practice. These checkpoints are useful to inform you whether or not you're on schedule, and allow you the opportunity to evaluate your behavior if you fall below or overreach your goals.

When you begin, it is not uncommon to be ecstatic when motivation is at an all-time high. After all, you've got your life in control now! What's more exciting than that!?

This will last for some time. By all means, embrace this phase for everything it's worth! Enjoy every moment of it. Eventually, motivation will begin to dwindle down, and the daily grind will seem monotonous and tedious with little to no return on your behalf. It is then we must..

COMMIT

Motivation is a great push in the right direction. It gets you off your butt and gets you started. Don't wait until motivation appears to act- act first, and then the motivation will appear. If you become worn out, it could be beneficial to take some time off and unplug, perhaps recalibrate your actions to make sure they're in line with your ultimate pursuit. As an insurance policy, so to speak, it could be beneficial to pause after each checkpoint to celebrate accordingly, and realign your actions before waiting until you become completely drained and unmotivated.

The journey toward self-renewal is one into eternity; one that begins today and lasts forever. Always striving to become just a little better than you were yesterday, through various aspects. Commitment to yourself and your life will ensure that although sometimes we don't see the light at the end of the tunnel, we know that it still exists. While the journey is not always fun and exciting, it is wholesome and true in the purest sense