Follow Your Dreams

Are you living the life that you always dreamed of?  Are you doing exactly what you wanted to do when you were a kid?  If YES then, more power to you and congratulations!  If NO then, why not?  This article will help you look within and get you moving.  The keys to achieving your goals and dreams are to Stop and Assess the Situation, Take Action and NEVER Give Up.

1) Stop and Assess the Situation

I recently read Gene Simmons’ book “Sex, Money, Kiss” and I highly recommend it.  At one point he says, “When you die, are you going to go into the ground wondering what you should have or could have done?  Or, are you going to go into the ground with a smile on your face saying, ‘I did it all’.” 

"I did it all." - Gene Simmons

I think that if the vast majority of people reading this died today, they would not say, “I did it all”, myself included, BUT are you on a path which will get you there?  The only way to get there is to be on the right path and the only way to determine that is to Stop and Assess the Situation.  Let’s face it, we wake up, go to work, answer e-mails, make phone calls, come home, eat dinner, go to sleep and repeat.  That doesn’t allow much opportunity for introspection.  It is very easy to get into a pattern and not break out of it and the next thing you know, years have gone by where you could have made changes, but you never took the time to Stop and Assess the Situation. 

Allocate 30-60 minutes per day to yourself.  Use this time to relax, but also to look within.  Ask yourself the following questions:

1) Am I happy?  If no, why not?  If yes, what makes me happy? 

Write a list of the things that make you happy and the things which bother you and see which list is longer.  How much time do you spend on the happy items versus the bothersome ones?  Continue doing the things that make you happy and try to minimize, change or remove the things that do not make you happy, life’s too short to live any other way.

2) What are my goals and dreams?  Am I pursuing them or just dreaming about them?

How often do we come up with a great idea and then never pursue it?  How many times do you see an invention or something on TV and either say, “I thought of that first” OR “Why didn’t I think of that?”  Make sure to always strive towards achieving your goals and dreams, even the small ones.  Maybe you want to build a shelf or plant a garden, go ahead and do it!  For bigger goals which take a longer time (e.g. achieving financial freedom), set up a plan to achieve those goals.  If your goal is to achieve success in a particular field, speak to successful people within that field and get their advice.  Avoid mistakes that they made and you will get there even faster!

3) Who do I hang out with most of the time?  Do they make me a better person or worse?  Are they successful?  Are they happy?

Your support network (i.e. closest friends) are your backbone.  It has been said that you are the average of the 5 people who you hang out with the most.  Think about that for a second…I drank more in college than I do today, so did my 5 closest friends.  I am insanely passionate about Health, Wellness and Fitness, so are my 5 closest friends.  I am healthy and stay in great shape, the same goes for my 5 closest friends.  Get the picture?  Try it for yourself and see!

After answering these questions, you will get an idea of where you are and where you want to be, the next step is to TAKE ACTION!

2) Take Action

“All courses of action are risky, so prudence is not in avoiding danger (it’s impossible), but calculating risk and acting decisively. Make mistakes of ambition and not mistakes of sloth. Develop the strength to do bold things, not the strength to suffer.”

 -Niccolò Machiavelli, The Prince

That quote says it all.  If you don’t like your job, CHANGE IT!  If you are not happy with your body, CHANGE IT!  It is easy to complain and be negative, and while it is more difficult to stop complaining and turn a negative into a positive, you will be much happier in the long run!  You have nothing to lose and everything to gain so, TAKE ACTION! 

They key is to not just take risk, but take CALCULATED risk.  Putting every penny you have on Red at the Roulette wheel is not risky, it is idiotic.  You have no control over the outcome so, you are basically just throwing your money away.  Was Bill Gates playing the roulette wheel or taking a Calculated risk when he dropped out of Harvard to build Microsoft?  That is a great example of a Calculated risk.  If it failed, he could always go back to school AND he was young so, he had the rest of his life to make up for it.  None of his success would have materialized had he not taken action. 

Too often we try to perfectly predict what the outcome of our decisions will be.  It is part of our DNA to be risk averse.  Don’t let your instinctual risk aversion prevent you from taking action.  Carve out time every day to pursuing your goals and dreams, even if it is 10 minutes, it will add up over time.  Create an action plan, make a list of steps you need to take and then get going and follow the plan!

So, you have assessed the situation and begun to take action, but that does not mean that you are on the fast track.  There will be bumps along the way, it is inevitable.  No one who has ever achieved their goals and dreams has done so without any adversity, but everyone who is successful and living out their dreams chose to NEVER Give Up until they got what they wanted.

3) NEVER Give Up

One of the all-time best scenes in movie history came from Raging Bull where Robert DeNiro plays boxer Jake LaMotta.  After getting bludgeoned by Sugar Ray Robinson, but never getting knocked down, the referee calls the fight on account of TKO.  Robert DeNiro (playing Jake LaMotta) wobbles over to Sugar Ray Robinson, battered and bloodied, and taps him on the shoulder and says, “Hey Ray…Hey Ray…you never got me down Ray…you never got me down…You hear me?  YOU NEVER GOT ME DOWN!” 

Whenever I watch that scene, I get so JACKED UP!!!  That scene is a metaphor for life: take all the punches life throws at you, but never get knocked down.  If you have an attitude of success rather than an attitude of failure then you are UNSTOPPABLE.  A saying that I live by is, “If you never quit then, you never lose.”  It is only once you have given up that you are done and the only person who decides that is YOU!  Always having a PMA (Positive Mental Attitude) will carry you down the road to success.

If I told you that you were going to suffer the fate of a couple of well-known failures, you would probably want to avoid it like the plague.  What if I told you those failures were Winston Churchill and Michael Jordan?  That’s right!  Michael Jordan was cut from his high school varsity basketball team sophomore year and Winston Churchill repeated a grade during elementary school, failed the entrance exam to the Royal Military Academy twice AND he was defeated in his first effort to serve in Parliament.  The reason we don’t think of them as failures is because they NEVER Gave Up!!!  As a result, they overcame their failures and ended up achieving tremendous success.

Michael Jordan and Winston Churchill both had PMA (Positive Mental Attitude):

“I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.” – Michael Jordan

“Never give in, never give in, never, never, never, never — in nothing, great or small, large or petty — never give in except to convictions of honor and good sense.” – Winston Churchill

On March 4, 1993, Jim Valvano spoke at the ESPY awards stricken with terminal cancer and only a few months to live, yet, he gave one of the most moving speeches I have ever witnessed and it truly embodies what not giving up is all about: “I just got one last thing, I urge all of you, all of you, to enjoy your life, the precious moments you have. To spend each day with some laughter and some thought, to get you’re emotions going… to keep your dreams alive in spite of problems whatever you have. The ability to be able to work hard for your dreams to come true, to become a reality…Don’t give up, don’t ever give up. That’s what I’m going to try to do every minute that I have left. I will thank God for the day and the moment I have…”

To follow your dreams, you need to: 1) Stop and Assess the Situation (Where am I currently in terms of achieving my dreams? Where do I want to be? What do I need to do to get to where I want to be?) 2) Take Action (Do what you need to do to get where you want to be) and 3) NEVER Give Up (NEVER GIVE UP).  The formula of living the life you want and achieving your goals and dreams is not complex, it is simple.  Actually following it and sticking to it no matter what life throws at you is what makes it difficult and that’s what separates those who are happy & successful from those who are not.  What’s stopping you from living out your dreams?  What are you waiting for?  Start NOW, NEVER give up, BE UNSTOPPABLE!!!




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