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Last Updated on August 15, 2018

Pursuing Dreams is Like an Iceberg. Most People Only See the Tip of it.

Pursuing Dreams is Like an Iceberg. Most People Only See the Tip of it.

When 9-year-old aspiring singer Celine Tam was asked by a judge from America’s Got Talent what her big dream was when she grew up, she instantly replied: “This is my dream.”[1]

Of course, it’s not just Celine who likes to talk about dreams. Google shows that there’s an uprising trend that people love to talk about dreams:[2]

    When people discuss their dreams, they nearly always focus on the bright side of reaching their goals. It’s as if they consciously overlook the effort needed to achieve great things. Instead, they choose to put all their faith and hope into the expected, positive results.

    Video Summary

    How Dreams Have Been Over Fantasised

    It’s easy to only see the positive sides of dreams — fame, fortune, attention, followers and recognition. While it’s fine to enjoy fantasy thoughts of how life could be in the future, these thoughts will always remain nothing but a fantasy until you start taking action.

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    You might dream of being in a pop band, having a hit single and album, and touring the world to adoring fans. You’ve seen other artists do it, and you’re sure that you’re as talented as them – or more so. While this may be true, there’s also a lot of time, effort and persistence the vast majority of successful musicians and singers have put in. And not a lot of people see these things.

    These artists have dedicated a huge portion of their lives to practicing, performing and learning how to market themselves. They’ve also had to overcome some big obstacles to success, such as family pressure, lack of financial support, songs getting rejected hundreds of times, and no audience at the beginning.

    It’s easy to just focus on the bright side of successful people, rather than understanding the incredibly tough journey they survived to get there; unless you read an autobiography of them (which often details their trials and tribulations).

    The Little-known Dark Times of Successful People

    Consider the story of world-famous singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran.

    Before releasing his debut album in 2011, Sheeran was homeless for almost three years. This included two nights sleeping rough outside Buckingham Palace in London.[3] However, instead of letting his situation crash his dreams, he kept on playing gigs and recording songs. Success was a while coming… but now he’s one of the world’s most successful musicians, including being the first artist to have two songs debut in the U.S. top 10 in the same week.[4]

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      And then there is Elon Musk.

      Before scaling the heights of success with SolarCity, SpaceX and Tesla, he first had to go through some extraordinary challenges. These included: product failures, going broke, and relentless personal criticism and accusations.[5] Musk admits it was difficult, but his immense self-motivation helped him to overcome the challenges, and begin to see the fruits of his efforts.

        To realistically have a chance of reaching goals, one must be willing to suffer the hardships along the way, rather than just wanting to enjoy the final destination.

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        If you’ve set your sights on success, be prepared for disappointments, frustrations and roadblocks. These things are impossible to avoid. And the bigger your dream – the more of the negatives you can expect to encounter.

        So what dream to aim for? I’m going to answer you in the final section – the action part.

        Stick to one dream, not dreams

        Before giving you some definite pointers on choosing your ideal goal, I want you to realize this truth… Our time on this planet is limited. And while it’s impossible to escape time, you can learn to work in harmony with it. You can do this by choosing a dream that perfectly fits your age, personality and talents.

        Note that I say dream, not dreams. The reason for this, is that you’ll increase your chances of success if you choose and stick to one ideal goal – rather than flitting aimlessly between unsuitable goals.

        Now, to decide on your one dream, be sure that you are willing to suffer for it with these five criteria:

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        1. 90% of the work for this dream will be hard. I am willing to suffer and sacrifice for it.
        2. I will commit 100% of my time and energy to my dream.
        3. I will give up things such as luxury goods and leisure time in order to reach my dream.
        4. My dream will always excite me so much that I will happily overcome any hardships and obstacles.
        5. I have what it takes to reach my dream.

        Please stop for a moment, and read each statement again. Then give yourself time to really process them. You may be surprised as you process these statements… “But spare time is quite important to me”, or “my life seems to be okay right now”, or “I don’t think I can spend that much effort on it.”

        These thoughts are perfectly fine, but they indicate that your one dream should be realistic and achievable.

        However, if you have these thoughts… “I’m ready to take on the world,” “I’m willing to sacrifice my time, money and energy,” “I’m absolutely committed to achieving success,” then you’re ready to aim for the stars! Choose a BIG dream – and make it a reality!

        I don’t want to tell you specifically what dreams to choose, as this could limit your decision. Instead, I recommend you spend a few days analyzing what you do best, what you enjoy the most, and what benefits you can offer to others. Once you have two or three ideas, narrow these down by determining how much effort and resources they require to achieve. Finally, choose your goal – and commit to sticking to it.

        Choose your dream wisely, stick to it and get to work on achieving it. You will not regret doing it.

        Reference

        More by this author

        Leon Ho

        Founder & CEO of Lifehack

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        Published on May 20, 2019

        How to Prevent Inaction from Leading to Regret

        How to Prevent Inaction from Leading to Regret

        Time.

        When you think of this construct, where do you see your time being spent?

        As William Shakespeare famously wrote “I wasted time, and now doth time waste me…”

        Have you used your time wisely? Are you where you want to be?

        Or do you have unfinished goals to attain… places you want to be, things you still need to do?

        The hard truth is, that time once passed cannot be replaced–which is why it is common to hear people say that one should not squander time doing nothing, or delay certain decisions for later. More often than not, the biggest blocker from reaching our goals is often inaction – which is essentially doing nothing, rather than doing something. 

        There are many reasons why we may not do something. Most often it boils down to adequate time. We may feel we don’t have enough time, or that it’s never quite the right time to pursue our goals.

        Maybe next month, or maybe next year…

        And, before you know it, the time has passed and you’re still no where near achieving those goals you dream about. This inaction often leads to strong regret once we look at the situation through hindsight. So, take some time now to reflect on any goal(s) you may have in mind, or hidden at the back of your mind; and, think about how you can truly start working on them now, and not later.

        So, how do you start?

        Figure Out Your Purpose (Your Main Goal)


        The first important step is to figure out your purpose, or your main goal.

        What is it that you’re after in life? And, are there any barriers preventing you from reaching your goal? These are good questions to ask when it comes to figuring out how (and for what purpose) you are spending your time.

        Your purpose will guide you, and it will ensure your time spent is within the bounds of what you actually want to accomplish.

        A good amount of research has been done on how we as humans develop and embrace long-term and highly meaningful goals in our lives. So much so, that having a purpose has connections to reduced stroke, and heart attack. It turns out, our desire to accomplish goals actually has an evolutionary connection–especially goals with a greater purpose to them. This is because a greater purpose often helps both the individual, and our species as a whole, survive.

        Knowing why it is you’re doing something is important; and, when you do, it will be easier to budget your time and effort into pursuing after those milestones or tasks that will lead to the accomplishment of your main goal.

        Assess Your Current Time Spent

        Next comes the actual time usage. Once you know what your main goal is, you’ll want to make the most of the time you have now. It’s good to know how you’re currently spending your time, so that you can start making improvements and easily assess what can stay and what can go in your day to day routine.

        For just one day, ideally on a day when you’d like to be more productive, I encourage you to record a time journal, down to the quarter hour if you can manage. You may be quite surprised at how little things—such as checking social media, answering emails that could wait, or idling at the water cooler or office pantry —can add up to a lot of wasted time.

        To get you started, I recommend you check out this quick self assessment to assess your current productivity: Want To Know How Much You’re Getting Done In A Day?

        Tricks to Tackle Distractions

        Once you’ve assessed how you’re currently spending your time, I hope you won’t be in for too big of a shock when you see just how big of an impact distractions and time wasters are in your life.

        Every time your mind wanders from your work, it takes an average of 25 minutes and 26 seconds to get into focus again. That’s almost half an hour of precious time every time you entertain a distraction!

        Which is why it’s important to learn how to focus, and tackle distractions effectively. Here’s how to do it:

        1. Set Time Aside for Focusing

        One way to stay focused is to set focused sessions for yourself. During a focused session, you should let people know that you won’t be responding unless it’s a real emergency.

        Set your messaging apps and shared calendars as “busy” to reduce interruptions. Think of these sessions as one on one time with yourself so that you can truly focus on what’s important, without external distractions coming your way.

        2. Beware of Emails

        Emails may sound harmless, but they can come into our inbox continuously throughout the day, and it’s tempting to respond to them as we receive them. Especially if you’re one to check your notifications frequently.

        Instead of checking them every time a new notification sounds, set a specific time to deal with your emails at one go. This will no doubt increase your productivity as you’re dealing with emails one after the other, rather than interrupting your focus on another project each time an email comes in.

        Besides switching off your email notifications so as not to get distracted, you could also install a Chrome extension called Block Site that helps to stop Gmail notifications coming through at specific times, making it easier for you to manage these subtle daily distractions.

        3. Let Technology Help

        As much as we are getting increasingly distracted because of technology, we can’t deny it’s many advantages. So instead of feeling controlled by technology, why not make use of disabling options that the devices offer?

        Turn off email alerts, app notifications, or set your phone to go straight to voicemail and even create auto-responses to incoming text messages. There are also apps like Forrest that help to increase your productivity by rewarding you each time you focus well, which encourages you to ignore your phone.

        4. Schedule Time to Get Distracted

        Just as important as scheduling focus time, is scheduling break times. Balance is always key, so when you start scheduling focused sessions, you should also intentionally pen down some break time slots for your mind to relax.

        This is because the brain isn’t created to sustain long periods of focus and concentration. The average attention span for an adult is between 15 and 40 minutes. After this time, your likelihood of distractions get stronger and you’ll become less motivated.

        So while taking a mental break might seem unproductive, in the long run it makes your brain work more efficiently, and you’ll end up getting more work done overall.

        Time is in Your Hands

        At the end of the day, we all have a certain amount of time to go all out to pursue our heart’s desires. Whatever your goals are, the time you have now, is in your hands to make them come true.

        You simply need to start somewhere, instead of allowing inaction waste your time away, leaving you with regret later on. With a main goal or purpose in mind, you can be on the right track to attaining your desired outcomes.

        Being aware of how you spend your time and learning how to tackle common distractions can help boost you forward in completing what’s necessary to reach your most desired goals.

        So what are you waiting for? 

        Featured photo credit: Photo by Aron Visuals on Unsplash via unsplash.com

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