“If you want to make your dreams come true, the first thing you have to do is wake up.” — Anonymous
We all have dreams, and I don’t mean the kind we have at night. They can be anything from swimming the Atlantic Ocean to winning the lottery to receiving the Nobel Prize to learning a new language. There are as many different dreams as there are people…times ten.
While dreams might be ephemeral in themselves, there is one real fact about them, and it is embodied in the quote at the top of this article. While a dream MIGHT come true by accident or some happy combination of circumstances, to MAKE a dream come true, we first have to wake up and DO SOMETHING. Simply sitting around waiting for a dream to come true is no more effective than hoping to win the lottery because someone gives us a ticket. While that scenario could play out in real life, most lottery winners had to first actually buy a ticket.
However, just as buying a ticket, or a lot of tickets, in a lottery does not guarantee our success; life does not provide us any guarantee that we will achieve our dreams just because we start doing the things that will probably be required to get us there. On the other hand, just as our chances of winning the lottery improve with the number of tickets we are able to buy, our chances of achieving our dreams grows as we take more steps towards our goal.
Some steps that can be taken include setting goals towards the accomplishment of our dream, learning and refining skills that might help us, enlisting the aid of those who might be in a position to help us, and, perhaps of the most importance, persevering in our quest.
GOALS: We humans are goal-oriented creatures. Just as we are more likely to arrive at a physical destination if we know where we are going, having goals allows us to have a path to follow to the accomplishment of our dream. Once we have set goals to guide us, we will begin to notice events, information, and people that can aid us.
SKILLS: We cannot become a champion runner until we learn to walk first. Once we learn to walk, running may come naturally, but running in a championship manner is something that has to be learned and practiced. Additionally, a champion in almost any field has to learn other skills or talents which complement the attainment of the dream. Turning to sports once more, our championship runner will have to pay attention to nutrition, get the right amount of sleep and rest, and may need to learn exercises not specifically linked to the sport but which will improve performance.
OTHERS: Many times, we will be able to find coaches or mentors who can help guide us on our path, just as a runner may need a coach who knows about the training required to compete at a professional level. Others may simply provide a shoulder to cry on when we are down and certain that there is no way we can ever succeed. Some coaches or mentors can be found in books, by the way. If you are not sure how to get to where you want to go, read the biographies of a couple of people who did make it.
PERSERVERANCE: There are many, including myself, who say that one of the most important factors in success is simply the good old ability to stick to it, no matter how rough the road or far away the target is. Almost every field of human endeavor is replete with stories of those of ordinary skill and intelligence who reached the apex of their field just by not giving up.
Since I began this article with a quote, I will leave you with three:
“Eighty percent of success is showing up.” — Woody Allen:
“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” — Thomas Edison:
“Ah, nothing is too late, Till the tired heart shall cease to palpitate. Cato learned Greek at eighty; Sophocles Wrote his grand Oedipus, and Simonides Bore off the prize of verse from his compeers, When each had numbered more than fourscore years.” — Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, from Morituri Salutamus