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Thinking It Is Too Late to Chase Your Dream? Then You Are the Killer

Thinking It Is Too Late to Chase Your Dream? Then You Are the Killer

We all have dreams, thoughts on things we want to do or have in life. Most of us reflect on them often, imagining and wishing they could become reality. More often than not, people sit in their cubicle or on their couch in their pajamas daydreaming and then formulating reasons to keep those dreams just that: dreams.

Here are some of the thoughts that have run through my head as I contemplated pursuing my dream:

  • People will think I’m crazy
  • My life will be screwed if it doesn’t work out
  • I’ll have to sacrifice too much to make it happen
  • I’m too young
  • I’m too old
  • I’m too busy
  • I don’t have enough money,
  • I’m not smart enough, knowledgeable enough, tough enough…
  • I’m not ready yet.

The list goes on, but you get the idea. I worked to relegate my dream to “someday”.

A lot of us put off our dreams, the things we want to achieve most until that fateful “someday…”

We tell ourselves the time isn’t right to change how I’m living and chase my dream. Five years go by; the voice in your head continues to rattle off the reasons not to start chasing dreams. Those reasons then grow into the belief that “it’s too late to pursue your dream” and then that dream dies. Left to be filed under “what if” buried in regret.

Here’s the thing: it’s never too late to start chasing dreams. You are never too much or too little of anything. Don’t put off starting to work toward your dream; don’t do that to yourself.

Don’t be a killer.

Here are 8 examples of regular people like you and me. These people didn’t let that voice in their heads steal their dream, they made their dreams reality.

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1. Pete and Dalene Heck

Pete and Dalene Heck chase dreams

    The Hecks are a Canadian couple who didn’t let personal tragedy get the better of their dreams. In fact, the tragedy they encountered in their lives gave birth to the extraordinary life they live and love today. In their words “they went from scraping the bottom of life’s deepest hole to blowing the roof clear off.”

    Once corporate ladder climbers living the quintessential Canadian dream; nice house, nice car, lots of nice stuff, promising careers. Pete and Dalene experienced a number of personal tragedies that caused them to re-evaluate life and realize their lives were short and they had to make the most of them.

    A lot of people could have used those personal challenges as reasons not to follow a dream. Not Pete and Dalene, they reduced their 2100 square foot home into combined luggage space of 200 liters and left Canada to travel the world.

    The Hecks have been joyously traveling the globe with little in the way of plans or possessions since 2009. They were awarded Travelers of the Year 2014 by National Geographic because of their blog that shares their inspiring, relateable story.

    2. Laura Dekker

    laura dekker chasing dream
      Photo via Wikimedia commons

      In 2009 a Dutch girl, Laura Dekker then 13, announced she planned to sail around the world on her own. Laura was born on a boat off the coast of New Zealand, living at sea until she was two. She and her family had a deep connection with boats and sailing.

      The Dutch government objected to Laura’s bid to single handedly circumnavigate the globe and blocked her from going. The whole world weighed in to debate how far parents should go to support kids seemingly impossible dreams.

      Faced with the prospect of storms at sea and dangerous pirates, Laura remained confident beyond her years saying “I’m not really afraid, everything is really prepared on my boat”. She fought the government and world opinion and ultimately prevailed beginning her 2 year 27000 mile journey at 14 years of age.

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      Despite her youth, Laura Dekker fought undaunted to achieve her dream and was successful. No possible threat at sea could shake her. She set sail on her dream adventure leaving behind things most girls of her age would find impossible to leave.

      3. Pat Flynn

      Pat flynn chase dreams

        Pat used to have a 9 to 5 job he really enjoyed. As life goes, bad things happened that were outside his control and he was laid off from his great job—an unexpected set back that ended up being the best thing that ever happened to him.

        Pat discovered his 9 to 5 was holding him back, went on to make more money, and create more freedom to be with the people he loved the most: his family. Driven by his dream to do his own thing, Pat builds businesses online and shares his tips and strategies for making money online on his blog: Smart Passive Income.

        An accidental entrepreneur, Pat Flynn didn’t let a bad turn of events keep him down. He could have found another job in his field, but instead he used losing his job as a means to realize his dream, living life on his terms.

        4. Colonel Harland Saunders

        Colonel Saunders chase dreams
          Photo via Flickr

          At 40 years of age, Colonel Harland Saunders started serving chicken and other meals in his roadside service station in 1930 a midst the Great Depression. He worked to perfect his chicken for 10 years finally creating his famous secret recipe and expanding to more locations.

          People loved his chicken but construction of the interstate robbed the Colonels restaurants of much needed road traffic and he was forced to fold up his businesses. Seeing the value in partnership, the Colonel set out to find a candidate to franchise his chicken. He drove around, camping in his car, being turned away time after time until successfully finding a partner.

          Colonel Sanders encountered many huge challenges trying to bring his dream to fruition. He never gave up; despite being rejected thousands of times he persevered and ultimately was successful.

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          5. Sean Ogle

          Sean-Boat (640x424)

            After graduating with a degree in finance in 2007, Sean Ogle was left with the feeling that school didn’t teach him tangible life skills to be successful after graduation. This lack of knowledge led him on a career path he quickly found wasn’t for him.

            In 2009 Sean started his website Location 180 as a means to hold himself accountable to do all the things he talked about doing in his life. Publishing his bucket list inspired the dream lifestyle he’s living today. The tagline for his website is “Build a Business, Live Anywhere, Achieve Freedom.” Sean’s life today is an example of just that.

            He didn’t let society’s opinion of success deter him from building his dream. He could have convinced himself to stick it out in the job he hated as many of us do, but instead, when he learned he was on the wrong track, he didn’t doubt himself; he began changing his life’s direction helping others achieve freedom to.

            6. Joanne Rowling

            J.K. Rowling chasing dream
              Photo via Wikimedia commons

              Jo (J.K.) Rowling once viewed herself as a failure. Her marriage had ended, and she was unemployed raising an infant daughter, but she recounts her failure as a sort of release allowing her to focus on her passion: writing.

              After completing the first Harry Potter manuscript while on government aid, she submitted her manually typed copies to 12 publishers, and it was rejected by all. Bloomsbury, a small publishing house in London, eventually gave it the green light and finally the world would get its first introduction to beloved Harry.

              Joanne Rowling never gave up on her dream despite rejection and poverty. She is the author of the best selling book series in history and rich beyond her wildest dreams because of that.

              7. Chris McCandless

              chris mccandless chasing dream
                Photo via Flickr

                Driven to chase his dream, Chris McCandless hiked across Alaska despite the naysayers that thought his minimalist lifestyle was crazy. He believed perceived security and materialism prevented people from pursuing their dreams and discovering their true selves.

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                Chris went on to live his dream, paying the ultimate price to do so, with his life. Incredibly, he explored remote corners of Alaska for 2 years with little more than a backpack and a few odds and ends. Ultimately giving up everything, he lived the life he thought he was destined to live.

                8. Neil Pasricha

                Neil Pasricha chasing dream
                  Photo via Wikimedia Commons

                  In 2008, the 1000 Awesome Things blog was launched. The creator, Neil Pasricha was inspired to share his purposeful positive views with the world because of the doom and gloom that dominated the paper and the evening news. No stranger to life struggles, divorced and grieving a friend’s suicide, Neil was bent on looking for the positive things in life.

                  He went on to win the Webby Award for 1000 Awesome Things and was subsequently commissioned to write a book filled with his awesome views. The Book of Awesome, published in 2010 became a bestseller in its first week on store shelves.

                  All of these amazing people achieved their dreams because they believed in themselves. Others definitely tried to influence them and dissuade them from pursuing their aspirations but they were successful because they kept the dream alive, they continued chasing dreams.

                  What are you capable of? Don’t doubt living the life you dream of is within your control. Start working toward your dream today, don’t be a killer.

                  Featured photo credit: WalkingGeek via flickr.com

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                  Last Updated on October 22, 2020

                  8 Simple Ways to Be a Better Listener

                  8 Simple Ways to Be a Better Listener

                  How would you feel if you were sharing a personal story and noticed that the person to whom you were speaking wasn’t really listening? You probably wouldn’t be too thrilled.

                  Unfortunately, that is the case for many people. Most individuals are not good listeners. They are good pretenders. The thing is, true listening requires work—more work than people are willing to invest. Quality conversation is about “give and take.” Most people, however, want to just give—their words, that is. Being on the receiving end as the listener may seem boring, but it’s essential.

                  When you are attending to someone and paying attention to what they’re saying, it’s a sign of caring and respect. The hitch is that attending requires an act of will, which sometimes goes against what our minds naturally do—roaming around aimlessly and thinking about whatnot, instead of listening—the greatest act of thoughtfulness.

                  Without active listening, people often feel unheard and unacknowledged. That’s why it’s important for everyone to learn how to be a better listener.

                  What Makes People Poor Listeners?

                  Good listening skills can be learned, but first, let’s take a look at some of the things that you might be doing that makes you a poor listener.

                  1. You Want to Talk to Yourself

                  Well, who doesn’t? We all have something to say, right? But when you are looking at someone pretending to be listening while, all along, they’re mentally planning all the amazing things they’re going to say, it is a disservice to the speaker.

                  Yes, maybe what the other person is saying is not the most exciting thing in the world. Still, they deserve to be heard. You always have the ability to steer the conversation in another direction by asking questions.

                  It’s okay to want to talk. It’s normal, even. Keep in mind, however, that when your turn does come around, you’ll want someone to listen to you.

                  2. You Disagree With What Is Being Said

                  This is another thing that makes you an inadequate listener—hearing something with which you disagree with and immediately tuning out. Then, you lie in wait so you can tell the speaker how wrong they are. You’re eager to make your point and prove the speaker wrong. You think that once you speak your “truth,” others will know how mistaken the speaker is, thank you for setting them straight, and encourage you to elaborate on what you have to say. Dream on.

                  Disagreeing with your speaker, however frustrating that might be, is no reason to tune them out and ready yourself to spew your staggering rebuttal. By listening, you might actually glean an interesting nugget of information that you were previously unaware of.

                  3. You Are Doing Five Other Things While You’re “Listening”

                  It is impossible to listen to someone while you’re texting, reading, playing Sudoku, etc. But people do it all the time—I know I have.

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                  I’ve actually tried to balance my checkbook while pretending to listen to the person on the other line. It didn’t work. I had to keep asking, “what did you say?” I can only admit this now because I rarely do it anymore. With work, I’ve succeeded in becoming a better listener. It takes a great deal of concentration, but it’s certainly worth it.

                  If you’re truly going to listen, then you must: listen! M. Scott Peck, M.D., in his book The Road Less Travel, says, “you cannot truly listen to anyone and do anything else at the same time.” If you are too busy to actually listen, let the speaker know, and arrange for another time to talk. It’s simple as that!

                  4. You Appoint Yourself as Judge

                  While you’re “listening,” you decide that the speaker doesn’t know what they’re talking about. As the “expert,” you know more. So, what’s the point of even listening?

                  To you, the only sound you hear once you decide they’re wrong is, “Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah!” But before you bang that gavel, just know you may not have all the necessary information. To do that, you’d have to really listen, wouldn’t you? Also, make sure you don’t judge someone by their accent, the way they sound, or the structure of their sentences.

                  My dad is nearly 91. His English is sometimes a little broken and hard to understand. People wrongly assume that he doesn’t know what he’s talking about—they’re quite mistaken. My dad is a highly intelligent man who has English as his second language. He knows what he’s saying and understands the language perfectly.

                  Keep that in mind when listening to a foreigner, or someone who perhaps has a difficult time putting their thoughts into words.

                  Now, you know some of the things that make for an inferior listener. If none of the items above resonate with you, great! You’re a better listener than most.

                  How To Be a Better Listener

                  For conversation’s sake, though, let’s just say that maybe you need some work in the listening department, and after reading this article, you make the decision to improve. What, then, are some of the things you need to do to make that happen? How can you be a better listener?

                  1. Pay Attention

                  A good listener is attentive. They’re not looking at their watch, phone, or thinking about their dinner plans. They’re focused and paying attention to what the other person is saying. This is called active listening.

                  According to Skills You Need, “active listening involves listening with all senses. As well as giving full attention to the speaker, it is important that the ‘active listener’ is also ‘seen’ to be listening—otherwise, the speaker may conclude that what they are talking about is uninteresting to the listener.”[1]

                  As I mentioned, it’s normal for the mind to wander. We’re human, after all. But a good listener will rein those thoughts back in as soon as they notice their attention waning.

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                  I want to note here that you can also “listen” to bodily cues. You can assume that if someone keeps looking at their watch or over their shoulder, their focus isn’t on the conversation. The key is to just pay attention.

                  2. Use Positive Body Language

                  You can infer a lot from a person’s body language. Are they interested, bored, or anxious?

                  A good listener’s body language is open. They lean forward and express curiosity in what is being said. Their facial expression is either smiling, showing concern, conveying empathy, etc. They’re letting the speaker know that they’re being heard.

                  People say things for a reason—they want some type of feedback. For example, you tell your spouse, “I had a really rough day!” and your husband continues to check his newsfeed while nodding his head. Not a good response.

                  But what if your husband were to look up with questioning eyes, put his phone down, and say, “Oh, no. What happened?” How would feel, then? The answer is obvious.

                  According to Alan Gurney,[2]

                  “An active listener pays full attention to the speaker and ensures they understand the information being delivered. You can’t be distracted by an incoming call or a Facebook status update. You have to be present and in the moment.

                  Body language is an important tool to ensure you do this. The correct body language makes you a better active listener and therefore more ‘open’ and receptive to what the speaker is saying. At the same time, it indicates that you are listening to them.”

                  3. Avoid Interrupting the Speaker

                  I am certain you wouldn’t want to be in the middle of a sentence only to see the other person holding up a finger or their mouth open, ready to step into your unfinished verbiage. It’s rude and causes anxiety. You would, more than likely, feel a need to rush what you’re saying just to finish your sentence.

                  Interrupting is a sign of disrespect. It is essentially saying, “what I have to say is much more important than what you’re saying.” When you interrupt the speaker, they feel frustrated, hurried, and unimportant.

                  Interrupting a speaker to agree, disagree, argue, etc., causes the speaker to lose track of what they are saying. It’s extremely frustrating. Whatever you have to say can wait until the other person is done.

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                  Be polite and wait your turn!

                  4. Ask Questions

                  Asking questions is one of the best ways to show you’re interested. If someone is telling you about their ski trip to Mammoth, don’t respond with, “that’s nice.” That would show a lack of interest and disrespect. Instead, you can ask, “how long have you been skiing?” “Did you find it difficult to learn?” “What was your favorite part of the trip?” etc. The person will think highly of you and consider you a great conversationalist just by you asking a few questions.

                  5. Just Listen

                  This may seem counterintuitive. When you’re conversing with someone, it’s usually back and forth. On occasion, all that is required of you is to listen, smile, or nod your head, and your speaker will feel like they’re really being heard and understood.

                  I once sat with a client for 45 minutes without saying a word. She came into my office in distress. I had her sit down, and then she started crying softly. I sat with her—that’s all I did. At the end of the session, she stood, told me she felt much better, and then left.

                  I have to admit that 45 minutes without saying a word was tough. But she didn’t need me to say anything. She needed a safe space in which she could emote without interruption, judgment, or me trying to “fix” something.

                  6. Remember and Follow Up

                  Part of being a great listener is remembering what the speaker has said to you, then following up with them.

                  For example, in a recent conversation you had with your co-worker Jacob, he told you that his wife had gotten a promotion and that they were contemplating moving to New York. The next time you run into Jacob, you may want to say, “Hey, Jacob! Whatever happened with your wife’s promotion?” At this point, Jacob will know you really heard what he said and that you’re interested to see how things turned out. What a gift!

                  According to new research, “people who ask questions, particularly follow-up questions, may become better managers, land better jobs, and even win second dates.”[3]

                  It’s so simple to show you care. Just remember a few facts and follow up on them. If you do this regularly, you will make more friends.

                  7. Keep Confidential Information Confidential

                  If you really want to be a better listener, listen with care. If what you’re hearing is confidential, keep it that way, no matter how tempting it might be to tell someone else, especially if you have friends in common. Being a good listener means being trustworthy and sensitive with shared information.

                  Whatever is told to you in confidence is not to be revealed. Assure your speaker that their information is safe with you. They will feel relieved that they have someone with whom they can share their burden without fear of it getting out.

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                  Keeping someone’s confidence helps to deepen your relationship. Also, “one of the most important elements of confidentiality is that it helps to build and develop trust. It potentially allows for the free flow of information between the client and worker and acknowledges that a client’s personal life and all the issues and problems that they have belong to them.”[4]

                  Be like a therapist: listen and withhold judgment.

                  NOTE: I must add here that while therapists keep everything in a session confidential, there are exceptions:

                  1. If the client may be an immediate danger to himself or others.
                  2. If the client is endangering a population that cannot protect itself, such as in the case of a child or elder abuse.

                  8. Maintain Eye Contact

                  When someone is talking, they are usually saying something they consider meaningful. They don’t want their listener reading a text, looking at their fingernails, or bending down to pet a pooch on the street. A speaker wants all eyes on them. It lets them know that what they’re saying has value.

                  Eye contact is very powerful. It can relay many things without anything being said. Currently, it’s more important than ever with the Covid-19 Pandemic. People can’t see your whole face, but they can definitely read your eyes.

                  By eye contact, I don’t mean a hard, creepy stare—just a gaze in the speaker’s direction will do. Make it a point the next time you’re in a conversation to maintain eye contact with your speaker. Avoid the temptation to look anywhere but at their face. I know it’s not easy, especially if you’re not interested in what they’re talking about. But as I said, you can redirect the conversation in a different direction or just let the person know you’ve got to get going.

                  Final Thoughts

                  Listening attentively will add to your connection with anyone in your life. Now, more than ever, when people are so disconnected due to smartphones and social media, listening skills are critical.

                  You can build better, more honest, and deeper relationships by simply being there, paying attention, and asking questions that make the speaker feel like what they have to say matters.

                  And isn’t that a great goal? To make people feel as if they matter? So, go out and start honing those listening skills. You’ve got two great ears. Now use them!

                  More Tips on How to Be a Better Listener

                  Featured photo credit: Joshua Rodriguez via unsplash.com

                  Reference

                  [1] Skills You Need: Active Listening
                  [2] Filtered: Body language for active listening
                  [3] Forbes: People Will Like You More If You Start Asking Follow-up Questions
                  [4] TAFE NSW Sydney eLearning Moodle: Confidentiality

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