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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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        Last Updated on September 17, 2018

        How to Stop Multitasking and Become Way More Productive

        How to Stop Multitasking and Become Way More Productive

        Today we are expected to work in highly disruptive environments. We sit down at our desks, turn on our computer and immediately we are hit with hundreds of emails all vying for our attention.

        Our phones are beeping and pinging with new alerts to messages, likes and comments and our colleagues are complaining about the latest company initiative is designed to get us to do more work and spend less time at home.

        All these distractions result in us multitasking where our attention is switching between one crisis and the next.

        Multitasking is a problem. But how to stop multitasking?

        How bad really is multitasking?

        It dilutes your focus and attention so even the easiest of tasks become much harder and take longer to complete.

        Studies have shown that while you think you are multitasking, you are in fact task switching, which means your attention is switching between two or more pieces of work and that depletes the energy resources you have to do your work.

        This is why, even though you may have done little to no physical activity, you arrive home at the end of the day feeling exhausted and not in the mood to do anything.

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        We know it is not a good way to get quality work done, but the demands for out attention persist and rather than reduce, are likely to increase as the years go by.

        So what to do about it?

        Ways to stop multitasking and increase productivity

        Now, forget about how to multitask!

        Here are a few strategies on how to stop multitasking so you can get better quality and more work done in the time you have each working day:

        1. Get enough rest

        When you are tired, your brain has less strength to resist even the tiniest attention seeker. This is why when you find your mind wandering, it is a sign your brain is tired and time to take a break.

        This does not just mean taking breaks throughout the day, it also means making sure you get enough sleep every day.

        When you are well rested and take short regular breaks throughout the day your brain is fully refuelled and ready to focus in on the work that is important.

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        2. Plan your day

        When you don’t have a plan for the day, the day will create a plan for you. When you allow outside influences to take control of your day, it is very hard not to be dragged off in all directions.

        When you have a plan for the day, when you arrive at work your brain knows exactly what it is you want to accomplish and will subconsciously have prepared itself for a sustained period of focused work.

        Your resistance to distractions and other work will be high and you will focus much better on the work that needs doing.

        3. Remove everything from your desk and screen except for the work you are doing

        I learned this one a long time ago. In my previous work, I worked in a law office and I had case files to deal with. If I had more than one case file on my desk at any one time, I would find my eyes wandering over the other case files on my desk when I had something difficult to do.

        I was looking for something easier. This meant often I was working on three or four cases at one time and that always led to mistakes and slower completion.

        Now when I am working on something, I am in full-screen mode where all I can see is the work I am working on right now.

        4. When at your desk, do work

        We are creatures of habit. If we do our online shopping and news reading at our desks as well as our work, we will always have the temptation to be doing stuff that we should not be doing at that moment.

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        Do your online shopping from another place—your home or from your phone when you are having a break—and only do your work when at your desk. This conditions your brain to focus in on your work and not other distractions.

        5. Learn to say no

        Whenever you hear the phrase “learn to say no,” it does not mean going about being rude to everyone. What it does mean is delay saying yes.

        Most problems occur when we say “yes” immediately. We then have to spend an inordinate amount of energy thinking of ways to get ourselves out of the commitment we made.

        By saying “let me think about it” or “can I let you know later” gives you time to evaluate the offer and allows you to get back to what you were doing quicker.

        6. Turn off notifications on your computer

        For most of us, we still use computers to do our work. When you have email alert pop-ups and other notifications turned on, they will distract you no matter how strong you feel.

        Turn them off and schedule email reviewing for times between doing your focused work. Doing this will give you a lot of time back because you will be able to remain focused on the work in front of you.

        7. Find a quiet place to do your most important work

        Most workplaces have meeting rooms that are vacant. If you do have important work to get done, ask if you can use one of those rooms and do your work there.

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        You can close the door, put on your headphones and just focus on what is important. This is a great way to remove all the other, non-important, tasks demanding your attention and just focus on one piece of work.

        The bottom line

        Focusing on one piece of work at a time can be hard but the benefits to the amount of work you get done are worth it. You will make fewer mistakes, you will get more done and will feel a lot less tired at the end of the day.

        Make a list of the four or five things you want to get done the next day before you finish your work for the day and when you start the day, begin at the top of the list with the first item.

        Don’t start anything else until you have finished the first one and then move on to the second one. This one trick will help you to become way more productive.

        Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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