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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 October 16, 2019

        Invaluable Lessons You Can Learn From Your Mistakes

        Invaluable Lessons You Can Learn From Your Mistakes

        Do you like making mistakes?

        I certainly don’t.

        Making mistakes is inevitable. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could be at ease with them?

        Perhaps there is a way to think of them differently and see their benefits.

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        Why Mistakes Feel Dangerous

        Mistakes often feel dangerous. Throughout human history, our errors have often been treated as dangerous for a variety of reasons:

        • Our vulnerability. We have limited and fragile support systems. When those systems fail, people often lose their lives.
        • Real dangers. Nature can be dangerous, and making mistakes can put us at the mercy of nature and its animal residents seeking a meal.
        • Ignorance. Many cultures scapegoats someone whenever there is a failure of some kind. Scapegoating can be serious and deadly.
        • Order. Many societies punish those who do not conform to the prevailing orthodoxy and treat difference and non-conformity as a mistake. Even our brains flash an error message whenever we go against prevailing social norms.

        We have a history of handling mistakes and failure in an unpleasant way. Since each of us carries our human history with us, it can be a challenge to overcome the fear of making mistakes.

        If we can embrace the reality of mistakes, we can free ourselves to be more creative in our lives and dig up some interesting insights.

        Why We Can’t Avoid Making Mistakes

        Many people operate under the notion that making mistakes is an aberration, a mistake if you will. You can call it perfectionism but it is a more substantial problem. It is really a demand for order and continuity.

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        When we think we can eliminate mistakes, we are often working from a perspective that sees the world as a fixed place. The world, however, is not so obliging. Like it or not, the world, and everything in it, is constantly changing.

        Change is more constant and pervasive than we can see with our own eyes which is why we often miss it. Our bodies are constantly changing. The natural conditions of the earth change constantly as well. Everything, including economic and cultural systems have life cycles. Everything is in a constant state of flux.

        We cannot see all of the changes going on around us since rates of change vary. Unfortunately, when we try to create a feeling of certainty and solidity in our lives or operate from the illusion of stability and order, we are fighting reality and our natural evolution which is built on adapting to change.

        It is better to continually bend into this reality rather than fight every change we experience. Fighting it can cause us to make more mistakes. Finding the benefits in change can be useful and help us minimize unnecessary mistakes.

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        Lessons Learned from Making Mistakes

        Life has so many uncertainties and variables that mistakes are inevitable. Fortunately, there are many things you can learn from making mistakes.

        Here is a list of ways to harness the mistakes you make for your benefit.

        1. Point us to something we did not know.
        2. Reveal a nuance we missed.
        3. Deepen our knowledge.
        4. Tell us something about our skill levels.
        5. Help us see what matters and what does not.
        6. Inform us more about our values.
        7. Teach us more about others.
        8. Let us recognize changing circumstances.
        9. Show us when someone else has changed.
        10. Keep us connected to what works and what doesn’t work.
        11. Remind us of our humanity.
        12. Spur us to want to better work which helps us all.
        13. Promote compassion for ourselves and others.
        14. Teach us to value forgiveness.
        15. Help us to pace ourselves better.
        16. Invite us to better choices.
        17. Can teach us how to experiment.
        18. Can reveal a new insight.
        19. Can suggest new options we had not considered.
        20. Can serve as a warning.
        21. Show us hidden fault lines in our lives which can lead us to more productive arrangements.
        22. Point out structural problems in our lives.
        23. Prompt us to learn more about ourselves.
        24. Remind us how we are like others.
        25. Make us more humble.
        26. Help us rectify injustices in our lives.
        27. Show us where to create more balance in our lives.
        28. Tell us when the time to move on has occurred.
        29. Reveal where our passion is and where it is not.
        30. Expose our true feelings.
        31. Bring out problems in a relationship.
        32. Can be a red flag for our misjudgments.
        33. Point us in a more creative direction.
        34. Show us when we are not listening.
        35. Wake us up to our authentic selves.
        36. Can create distance with someone else.
        37. Slow us down when we need to.
        38. Can hasten change.
        39. Reveal our blind spots.
        40. Are the invisible made visible.

        Reframe Reality to Handle Mistakes More Easily

        The secret to handling mistakes is to:

        • Expect them as part of the process of growth and development.
        • Have an experimental mindset.
        • Think in evolutional rather than fixed terms.

        When we accept change as the natural structure of the world, our vulnerability and humanness lets us work with the ebb and flow of life.

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        When we recognize the inevitability of mistakes as part of the ongoing experiment which life is, then we can relax more. In doing so we may make fewer of them.

        It also helps to keep in mind that trial and error is an organic natural way of living. It is how we have evolved over time. It is better to be with our natural evolution than to fight it and make life harder.

        When we adopt an evolutional mindset and see ourselves as part of the ongoing human experiment, we can appreciate that all that has been built up over time which includes the many mistakes our ancestors have made over thousands of years. Each one of us today is a part of that human tradition of learning and experimenting,

        Mistakes are part of the trial and error, experimental nature of life. The more you adopt the experimental, evolutional frame, the easier it becomes to handle mistakes.

        Handling mistakes well can help you relax and enjoy all aspects of life more.

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        Featured photo credit: Sarah Kilian via unsplash.com

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