Follow Your Dreams: What You Must Know To Pursue Your Dreams
What’s your dream? Growing up, that’s one of the things most people ask me. And I’ve always been intrigued by that question. So let me ask you: “What’s your dream? And what are you doing to make it come true?” In this article, let’s explore what does a dream mean and how you could start to follow your dreams.
Follow Your Dreams Meaning: What Does It Mean To Pursue Your Dreams?
It’s easy to know what your dream is. If you’re honest with yourself, the answer to the question, “What is your dream?” is simple. If it’s still vague, ask yourself this: If money was no issue, what do you want to do with your life? That gets the ball rolling and your mind thinking.
Why? Because you already have a hunch or even a basic idea of what you want to do. It’s hidden in the things that occupy your mind when it wanders. You can look at where your mind gravitates when you’re not doing anything. There lies the clues.
This realization jumped to me back when I was a young college student taking up Clinical Psychology. You see, I love talking to people and getting to know them on a deeper level than just asking how their day was.
I love listening to their stories and I certainly love asking questions. One of the questions I ask people is, “What are your dreams?” I discovered that everyone I talked with has their own unique set of dreams. Not only that. But if they were being honest, they knew the answer instinctively.
The question isn’t really about what. The more important question is if you have the courage to follow your dreams. And if so, how?
Have The Courage To Pursue Your Dreams
We all have dreams. However, not everyone has the courage to pursue their dreams. Their reasons vary: they feel like they’re too old or too young. They can’t because they have a family, or they’re still in school. Maybe they don’t have enough money, or they’re making enough that they already feel comfortable.
But if you look closely, one thing becomes clear: you won’t follow your dreams if you lack clarity. If you have vague, uninspiring dreams, you won’t have the courage to pursue your dreams. Why? Because it feels like you’re working blind for something you don’t even know what.
Most of the people I asked have vague dreams. They tell me they want to be a doctor, engineer, or a teacher. But when you ask them what kind, specifically, they look at me like I’m some kind of an alien. Then they just admit that they don’t know yet.
No, I’m not insulting them for not figuring it out. Because here’s something that’s important to remember: it’s okay not to have things figured out. It’s okay to not have something that’s definite – to course through life and let things happen.
However, it’s highly unlikely that you’ll ever get to the point of making your dreams come true. This is why whenever I have this discussion with other people, I always try to help them figure things out.
Yet what surprises me is that most people reject the help. One, because it would take time to figure things out. But two, because they don’t want to think. And that’s disheartening. Because they live in silent desperation and they don’t do something about it.
Be Part Of The 5 Percenters
Earl Nightingale, co-founder of the company Nightingale-Conant, once said that only 5% of the people are successful. These are the people who follow their dreams actively and put on the conscious effort to make it come true. It all starts with defining their dreams.
Maybe that’s why only 5% among us are able to live the life of our dreams. Defining your dreams is the battle half won. And that’s the start of having the courage, the resolve, to follow your dreams.
A good dream is something that pushes you towards it. But a great dream – something that is definite and specific – pulls you towards it. And you start to have the courage to pursue your dreams.
Be Part Of The 5 Percenters
Courage is not having the path straight or having your fears gone. No. Courage is taking action in spite of fear. It’s like a muscle that grows whenever you use it. When you are afraid or doubtful about yourself, your skills, or whatever, take action. Especially if you believe that you’re doing something that adds life to other people.
This builds your courage. There won’t be any magic pills that you can take to make you courageous in an instant. But you’ll develop the characteristic of acting forward in the middle of fear.
Writing this specific article scared me. I felt like I wasn’t worthy of writing it because “I don’t follow my dreams.” (At least, according to me).
Yet, when I asked a friend, she told me that I’m way ahead of who I was 2 years ago. And the mere fact that I’m taking action in spite of fear means that I’m true to what I’m writing. I’m walking the talk.
If you’re going to follow your dreams, you must be courageous. And the best way to do that is to choose where your highest contributions lie. After all, being “pulled” by an inspiring dream will make building your courage muscles worthwhile.
Why Is It Important To Follow Your Dreams?
There are many reasons why it’s important to follow your dreams. But in summary, here are the top five reasons why it’s important to follow your dreams.
- It makes life worth living (no one can follow them for you)
- It’s your gift to the world (you can be an inspiration to others)
- Being in a job you don’t love makes you hate life
- It makes you grow
- Regret is a terrible thing to have
How To Pursue Your Dreams
In this section, I’ll share with you the steps I’m taking so you can start to follow your dreams, too. You see, I created this blog as part of my own pursuit. I love learning and sharing what I learned to people because it might have an impact in their lives.
I want to inspire you to make something great out from the gift God gave you: your life. I’m not “there” yet. And the fact is, I don’t think I’ll ever get there. Not because I’m not making any progress or what, but I’m enjoying the pursuit.
There are people who have been blessed by and learned from what I’m sharing, sure. But I know that growth comes from the process, not the achievement. So I’m always going to aim to reach and impact more people.
Anyway, here are the steps. Take these steps and apply it to your own journey. I hope you enjoy “stealing” this roadmap as much as I enjoyed sharing it.
Step 1: Identify Your Dream
The first thing you must do to follow your dreams is to identify what it is. It’s not enough to say that you want to be a doctor. You must define what kind and how your life will look like once it comes true. Remember, the clearer your description and definition is, the more compelling it becomes.
It’s like when you’re traveling. You can’t get to where you want to go unless you know exactly where that is. I remember what the Cheshire Cat said to Alice in the book of Alice in Wonderland.
“Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?”
“That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,” said the Cat.
“I don’t much care where—” said Alice.
“Then it doesn’t matter which way you go,” said the Cat.
“—so long as I get somewhere,” Alice added as an explanation.
“Oh, you’re sure to do that,” said the Cat, “if you only walk long enough.” —Chapter 6, Pig and Pepper
If you don’t know where you’re going, it doesn’t matter where you go. If you need guidance on this, ask yourself these question:
- What inspires you?
- If money was no issue, what specifically do you want to do with your life?
- How can you make yourself and the world better?
Step 2: Choose The Most Important
Once you identify your dreams, the next step is to decide on which of those is the most important. Trade-off is a reality; and you can’t do everything. In fact, it’s counterproductive to think that you can.
The better way is to decide which is the critical few – to choose where you’ll be most effective. This is called the “Highest Point of Contribution.” Trying to do everything and squeeze in more only leads to frustration. Choosing, then, to focus on the critical few is the way of the wise.
Image source: Essentialism by Greg McKeown
This is where being an Essentialist helps. I used to think that I could do everything. But as I grew older, I came to understand that I can’t. I can only do a few things well – the few that matter to me. And I became at peace with that.
To help you choose your optimal contribution, ask yourself this question.
What’s the best and highest use of my time and resources right now that will make the biggest impact?
Step 3: Create An Action Plan
Now that you have an idea of what your highest point of contribution is, it’s time to make an action plan. Think about the steps you must take to get to where you want to go. The best thing you can do to create an action plan fast is to work backwards.
Remember how you clearly defined your end goal? Start there and ask yourself, “What needs to happen before I get to this situation?” Then once you get the answer, ask yourself the same question. What needs to happen before? And before that, what should happen?
Do that enough times until you get back to where you are right now.
I know, it seems pretty simple, but trust me – it works. It gives you some general guide on how to get from where you are to where you want to be.
Once you have the overall idea, write it down on paper. You can always come to this and make it your reference guide to follow your dreams.
Step 4: Ready, Fire, Aim
Don’t wait to be courageous before following your dreams. Start implementing your action plan, no matter how small the action is. Don’t wait to be ready – you won’t be. Ever.
Andrew Matthews, author of Happiness in a Nutshell once said, “Courage is not the absence of fear – courage is acting in spite of fear. People who do nothing with their lives are just as scared as people who take major risks. It’s just that the first group gets scared over tiny things. Why not get scared over something significant?”
One way for you to have the courage to pursue your dreams is to have something great to look forward to. A well defined dream that pulls you and can give you a big dose of courage to pursue your dreams.
And unlike the conventional advice you hear, your dreams you don’t have to be grand. The only requirement is that it has a positive effect on you. It must inspire you to grow and be the person who’s capable of achieving that dream.
So don’t wait for the stars to align. Do something, fail at it, and adjust. Ready, fire, aim.
Step 5: Evaluate
The fifth step is to evaluate your progress. Compare only yourself with your past, not with others who are around you. In the poem Desiderata by Max Ehrmann, it says:
If you compare yourself with others,
you may become vain or bitter,
for always there will be
greater and lesser persons than yourself.
Evaluate your progress. See if what you’re doing is getting you closer to your dreams or not. Stop doing the things that don’t and do more of what’s working.
Then rinse and repeat.
Follow Your Dreams Quotes
Here are some of the most inspiring quotes I ever came across with. I’m sharing these hoping it will light a fire under your butt and inspire you to take action.
“There is no passion to be found playing small – in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.” – Nelson Mandela
“Forget about the fast lane. If you really want to fly, harness your power to your passion. Honor your calling. Everybody has one. Trust your heart, and success will come to you.” – Oprah Winfrey
“Don’t let small minds convince you that your dreams are too big.” – Unknown
“It is better to risk starving to death than surrender. If you give up on your dreams, what’s left?” – Jim Carrey
“The only thing worse than starting something and failing… is not starting something.” – Seth Godin
“Press on. Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.” – Ray Kroc
“Dreams pass into the reality of action. From the action stems the dream again; and this interdependence produces the highest form of living.” – Anaïs Nin
Final Thoughts: Should You Pursue Your Dreams?
The short answer is yes. Why? There are many reasons why you should pursue your dreams. But personally, the biggest one in my opinion is growth.
Unless you grow in life, you’ll never really be satisfied with anything. No amount of money, fun, relationships, or experiences will ever satisfy you if you stagnate.
That’s it! I hope you got a lot of value from this article. Steal something from this and apply it in your life. I’m rooting for you.
To a life of essence,
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