“I’m just living the dream.” Chaz Reinhold (Will Ferrell), The Wedding Crashers
Maybe your dream isn’t to be a 40-year-old wedding crasher who still lives with their mom, but I think it’s safe to say that each one of us has a shadow of an unfulfilled wish, dream or desire. In fear of being ridiculed or vulnerable, we might keep this dream tucked in the deepest part of our junk drawer, but it’s always there, ready to surface if one day the right circumstances fall into place.
Do you ever find yourself saying, “If only I knew then what I know now, I would do things so much differently.”
Do you ever look in at your life and wonder where you could have swerved wildly left to lead you down a different, more thrilling path?
As we approach the end of 2013, it’s a good time to evaluate a few important questions:
- Did you accomplish everything you set out to do this year?
- What would truly make your life meaningful and fulfilled?
- Are your current experiences in line with your desires?
- If you could do anything, what would it be?
Ponder these questions with uncensored thoughts and formulate some new intentions.
I think it’s important to realize that sometimes changing your life from bleak and mundane just means taking away the blur that is clouding your life. See 15 Ways to Lead a New Life you Love.Advertising
With a new year approaching, there is no better time to follow your dreams, no matter how big or small. Check out these things that people who live their dreams don’t do so that you can be one step closer to ‘living the dream’.
1. They don’t follow someone else’s dream.
This might seem like common sense, but many of us follow the dreams set up for us by our parents, partners or friends. You might be a people pleaser, or you might be afraid of letting your loved ones down. Are you lacking when it comes to trusting that you know what’s best for you?
People following their dreams know what they want, and they stand up to others who try to push expectations onto them.
2. They don’t make excuses.
How often do you find yourself coming up with a rainbow of reasons why you can’t achieve your goals or live the life you’ve been dreaming of? Do you even tell yourself elaborate stories about why things didn’t work out?
Where do you find yourself making excuses in your life?
Does it serve you? If not, let it go and simply vow to try each day to be better.
3. They don’t compromise their values or principles.
Compromising is a huge part of our everyday life – compromise, compromise, compromise.Advertising
You will be asked to make many compromises in many facets of your life, relationships, kids, friends and family, and what you’re willing to compromise can in fact play a huge role in your future – but never compromise your values.
People living a life true to themselves are not riddled with guilt, regret or doubts about their choices, they stand firm and move forward with decisions that align with their intentions, goals and dreams.
4. They don’t believe the glass is half empty.
Negativity will only build walls around you. A positive attitude is everything. The glass is always half full. With this attitude, opportunities and abundance will naturally flow into your life. Put your energy on what you want, rather than what you don’t want.
Your thoughts are single-handedly the most important weapon you have in achieving your dreams. Your thoughts are like energy, driving your life. People living the dream are always positive and this naturally manifests positive energy and positive results.
If you think you are beaten you are; if you think you dare not, you don’t; if you want to win but think you can’t; it’s almost a cinch you won’t.
If you think you’ll lose you’re lost; for out of the world we find success begins with a fellow’s will; it’s all in a state of mind.
Life’s battles don’t always go to the stronger and faster man, but sooner or later the man who wins is the man who thinks he can. ~ Author Unknown
5. They don’t focus on materialism.
If your dream starts with wanting to make a lot of money so that you can be happy, you might want to re-evaluate your priorities. Of course you can achieve great wealth, but chances are you won’t be any happier once this golden paycheck arrives.
People who are living the dream know that money can’t buy happiness, and they also understand that a life of status, wealth, fame and popularity is a very fragile house of cards.
If wealth comes as a result of living your dream – bonus. But people who live their dreams know it’s not the initial driving factor.
6. They don’t believe things are impossible, they don’t lose faith and they don’t quit halfway.
Keep your dreams alive. Understand to achieve anything requires faith and belief in yourself, vision, hard work, determination, and dedication. Remember all things are possible for those who believe. ~ Gail Devers
Our mind is a powerful weapon. It’s normal to have self-doubt or feel like something is out of reach, but those who achieve big things see through this doubt and persevere long after others would have quit. Have a solid faith in your intentions.
Nothing is impossible. You might have to work really hard and sacrifice a lot, but chances are that just by trying, you will open up doors of new opportunities that you never thought possible.
7. They don’t let themselves go.
Follow your dreams, work hard, practice and persevere. Make sure you eat a variety of foods, get plenty of exercise and maintain a healthy lifestyle.~ Sasha Cohen
Staying physically fit and eating a balanced diet is the key to feeling good and without feeling good your dreams may not amount to much. Exercising also produces energy which will help you keep persevering.
8. They don’t get stuck in a safe space.
Throw your dreams into space like a kite, and you do not know what it will bring back, a new life, a new friend, a new love, a new country. ~ Anais Nin
You need to get out of your comfort zone and take some chances. If your dream is to learn to surf, you need to lose the fear holding you back and just do it.
People following their dreams thrive on new experiences. They are living their life, not being a spectator to the lives of others.
9. They don’t procrastinate or believe in shortcuts.
Why wait until January 1st to start making changes? Start today. People who live their dreams don’t just talk about it, they take steps every day to bring their desires into reality.
There is no such thing as a shortcut. If you want to be physically fit, you have to do the work; quick fad diets are not the answer, and this goes for any dream. Put in the work and you will reap great personal rewards.
10. They don’t seek a destination.
People living a life dreams are made of realize that living is about moment to moment experiences; they love the journey and don’t obsess over the destination.Advertising
The Gentle Art of Saying No
It’s a simple fact that you can never be productive if you take on too many commitments — you simply spread yourself too thin and will not be able to get anything done, at least not well or on time.
But requests for your time are coming in all the time — through phone, email, IM or in person. To stay productive, and minimize stress, you have to learn the Gentle Art of Saying No — an art that many people have problems with.
What’s so hard about saying no? Well, to start with, it can hurt, anger or disappoint the person you’re saying “no” to, and that’s not usually a fun task. Second, if you hope to work with that person in the future, you’ll want to continue to have a good relationship with that person, and saying “no” in the wrong way can jeopardize that.
But it doesn’t have to be difficult or hard on your relationship. Here are the Top 10 tips for learning the Gentle Art of Saying No:
- Value your time. Know your commitments, and how valuable your precious time is. Then, when someone asks you to dedicate some of your time to a new commitment, you’ll know that you simply cannot do it. And tell them that: “I just can’t right now … my plate is overloaded as it is.”
- Know your priorities. Even if you do have some extra time (which for many of us is rare), is this new commitment really the way you want to spend that time? For myself, I know that more commitments means less time with my wife and kids, who are more important to me than anything.
- Practice saying no. Practice makes perfect. Saying “no” as often as you can is a great way to get better at it and more comfortable with saying the word. And sometimes, repeating the word is the only way to get a message through to extremely persistent people. When they keep insisting, just keep saying no. Eventually, they’ll get the message.
- Don’t apologize. A common way to start out is “I’m sorry but …” as people think that it sounds more polite. While politeness is important, apologizing just makes it sound weaker. You need to be firm, and unapologetic about guarding your time.
- Stop being nice. Again, it’s important to be polite, but being nice by saying yes all the time only hurts you. When you make it easy for people to grab your time (or money), they will continue to do it. But if you erect a wall, they will look for easier targets. Show them that your time is well guarded by being firm and turning down as many requests (that are not on your top priority list) as possible.
- Say no to your boss. Sometimes we feel that we have to say yes to our boss — they’re our boss, right? And if we say “no” then we look like we can’t handle the work — at least, that’s the common reasoning. But in fact, it’s the opposite — explain to your boss that by taking on too many commitments, you are weakening your productivity and jeopardizing your existing commitments. If your boss insists that you take on the project, go over your project or task list and ask him/her to re-prioritize, explaining that there’s only so much you can take on at one time.
- Pre-empting. It’s often much easier to pre-empt requests than to say “no” to them after the request has been made. If you know that requests are likely to be made, perhaps in a meeting, just say to everyone as soon as you come into the meeting, “Look guys, just to let you know, my week is booked full with some urgent projects and I won’t be able to take on any new requests.”
- Get back to you. Instead of providing an answer then and there, it’s often better to tell the person you’ll give their request some thought and get back to them. This will allow you to give it some consideration, and check your commitments and priorities. Then, if you can’t take on the request, simply tell them: “After giving this some thought, and checking my commitments, I won’t be able to accommodate the request at this time.” At least you gave it some consideration.
- Maybe later. If this is an option that you’d like to keep open, instead of just shutting the door on the person, it’s often better to just say, “This sounds like an interesting opportunity, but I just don’t have the time at the moment. Perhaps you could check back with me in [give a time frame].” Next time, when they check back with you, you might have some free time on your hands.
- It’s not you, it’s me. This classic dating rejection can work in other situations. Don’t be insincere about it, though. Often the person or project is a good one, but it’s just not right for you, at least not at this time. Simply say so — you can compliment the idea, the project, the person, the organization … but say that it’s not the right fit, or it’s not what you’re looking for at this time. Only say this if it’s true — people can sense insincerity.
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