Put Your Dream into Action

by Mark on January 18, 2010 · 2 comments

Are you a dreamer? Are you a talker but not a doer? I have a confession to make. For years I have been a dreamer. And by “dreamer,” I mean someone who thinks about his dreams a lot but never gets around to actually putting the dream into action.  I often talked about things that I wanted to do and may have intended to do, but I never followed through with it or never stuck with it long enough to get the results I wanted. Sometimes I have spent a lot of time and energy brainstorming plans of what I wanted to do. Most of the time, however, I never pulled the trigger. I wouldn’t be surprised if my friends and family thought that they’ll believe it when they see it after hearing me talk yet again about what I’m going to do. They would be justified in reacting that way.

It wasn’t always this way. I was a hyperkinetic kid who knew exactly what he wanted and exactly what he was going to do to get it. My dream was to be extremely wealthy with a huge house and many cars and toys. The path that I intended to take to get there was clear to me: work really hard to get into a good college, work really hard in college to get a high-paying job, and work really hard at my job to make a ton of money. Then I would have the money to buy my dream (I know now that you can’t buy a dream life, but I was just a kid who didn’t know any better).

There were a few problems with this. One problem is that although I had an extraordinary energy level that few people could match, it wasn’t sustainable. As I drove myself harder and harder, I eventually began to question whether it was all worth it. I was spending too much time deferring my enjoyment into the future and not spending enough time enjoying the present. Secondly, I wasn’t focused. I was scattering my energies over too many areas — schoolwork, a multitude of sports, reading extensively about computers, science, cars, etc., playing video games, and on and on. To make matters worse, I felt the need to be the best at everything, which is obviously impossible. Eventually, around junior year of high school, I decided to slow down my pace and enjoy life in the present a little more.

Why I Created This Blog

I created this blog partly out of frustration. I have been frustrated that I haven’t put my dream into action. I am also no longer willing to work the vast majority of my life in order to finally someday hopefully live the life of my dreams. I think it is possible for people to put their dreams into action much faster than is commonly realized. It is possible to design your life in a way that creates far more time to enjoy life while you are young instead of waiting until you retire at 65. Not everyone will do it, but it is certainly possible. There are plenty of examples of people who have successfully done it.

As I mentioned in my first blog post, I intend for this blog to be a real-time narrative of my experiments with lifestyle design. I will be sharing my thoughts, actions, successes, and failures in a very public way for all the world to see. My hope is that this will help hold me more accountable and motivate me to take sustained action. It will force me to think more creatively, clarify my thoughts, and focus a little more rather than allowing myself to be continually distracted by the millions of little distractions that modern life provides. And of course I hope to be a positive example of what is possible. I want to help people put their own dreams into action.

Thoughts on Putting Your Dream into Action

  1. Clarify your dream. Get clear about what you really want. Fuzzy dreams are far less motivational, and clear dreams will help you figure out what you need to do to achieve them. Also, most people tend to think about what they want to buy, but I recommend focusing more of your attention on what you want to do and who you want to be. What do you enjoy doing? How would you like to spend your days? Does your dream get you excited just thinking about it?
  2. Get confident that you can achieve your dream. If you don’t really think you can do it, you probably won’t. Without confidence, you won’t take the sustainable action necessary to achieve your dream. Review your dream and determine if it is achievable, but don’t sell yourself short.
  3. Don’t worry if you don’t know what to do. Not knowing what to do is probably the biggest reason people procrastinate on working towards their dreams. I was in the same boat, but I decided that I will learn as I go. As one example, I don’t know much about blogging or about making money from it, but I will keep learning from people who are already successful and improve as I go along.
  4. Fail. A lot. This may sound like strange advice on a blog that talks about success, but the most “successful” people are the ones that ironically have the most failures. The reason for this is that success requires taking action, and action results in both success and failure. There is no way to avoid failure. Obviously you don’t want to fail on purpose, but remember that failure is an essential requirement for success.
  5. Stop thinking of your dream as being far off into the future. The farther you push your dream into the future, the lower your chance of ever achieving it. One reason is because you will also end up putting off taking action because there is less urgency. You will also lose patience more easily. Another reason is because distant dreams just don’t seem as real or as achievable.
  6. Enjoy working towards your dream. If you think that achieving your dream will entail enduring misery to get there, there is little chance of putting your dream into action. You will continue to procrastinate, and you will never have the passion that will motivate you into taking consistent action. It will also make life a lot less enjoyable. This is why I chose to blog about things like lifestyle design, success, and personal development. They were topics that I was already passionate about.
  7. Challenge the status quo. Question commonly held beliefs about what is possible or not. If you do what everyone else does, you will get what everyone else gets.  Open yourself up to new ideas, and be careful about any assumptions that you might have. Create new hypotheses and test them.
  8. Brainstorm, brainstorm, brainstorm. Let your mind run wild. Just start writing down ideas. Don’t worry about whether you are going to act on them or not. Have fun with it. The goal is to spark your creativity. You never know where it will lead. On a recent vacation with my parents in Florida, I wrote pages and pages of notes on various ideas of what I wanted to do or try or consider. Some of those ideas I am already using, some I will have to think more about, and some I will discard.
  9. Don’t worry so much about what others think. There will be people who challenge you. There will be people who disagree with what you do or say. This is unavoidable if you have big dreams that are out of the ordinary. You can’t please everyone, so don’t bother trying. I know that there will be plenty of people that disagree with the things I say or do, but I have decided not to worry about it.
  10. Be decisive. You will make mistakes because mistakes are inevitable. Debating with yourself endlessly won’t change this fact. Leaving a decision undecided will leave you paralyzed and stressed out. In the end, go with your gut and go for it.
  11. Just go with it. Be a little crazy. It’s more fun that way.

What are some other ideas for putting your dream into action?


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