We live in an entitled time where all too many people think they are “special” and destined for big things. Whether this entitled attitude comes from parents and teachers who lavish routine praise on children for the most basic of activities or the abundance of self help books on steroids I can only wager a guess. The saying goes that to accomplish big things you have to dream big and I agree with a couple of caveats.
The universe does not owe you anything.
Just because you want something does not mean it is going to magically appear. I see some people that have huge dreams but do nothing to make them a reality. The lucky few can stumble into a huge success but for most people it is accomplished through grit and hard work focused towards the task at hand. Accomplishing a dream isn’t magical it takes sweat equity.
Just because something is possible does not mean it is probable
I’d love for a kid to respond like this when some adult asked him if he was going to be president or a center fielder for the Yankees. Sure it may be a bit of a downer but I know this kid would have a solid future in some type of STEM profession where he will earn a solid living and he already has a more solid head on his shoulder than many adults I see.
The more improbable a dream the more sweat equity it takes to achieve and the lower your margin for error
Very intuitive but under appreciated statements. If your dream is to live a nice middle/upper middle class life, raise a family, and take nice vacations every year you have many paths to get there vs. if you want to be center fielder for the Yankees you have but one path. Better hit the cages hard in middle/high school and put in the 10,000 hours in an attempt to perfect your craft.
Preparation time needs to be front-end loaded if your dream requires early success
People make the mistake that they have plenty of time to figure things out but if your dream requires you to excel in your youth you need to start early. If you are 30 and suddenly decide you want to become a professional baseball player you have to realize that ship has sailed. Same thing is also true for being a singer/actor (insert high demand celebrity profession here). Don’t move to LA if you didn’t do it before you were 30 they have enough waiters.
If you are like most kids you changed ideas of what you wanted to be when you grew up several times because kids have no concept of what a career really is. Parents can help to focus a child at an early age and give them a leg up in this decision making stage by helping their kids frame their life purpose in a constructive way that will match the intersection of their dreams and abilities and target them towards an employable career that will enable them to be self sufficient. It is much easier to spend 10,000 or more hours perfecting your craft if you start early.
Dreams need to change as we mature or we can make ourselves miserable
When was the last time you thought about your life purpose (dreams to some people who are not there yet) and realized it has changed from what it used to be. Dreams are not meant to be static things they have to take into account your life experiences, abilities, and current situation. As we mature our life purpose will too. I know a few associates who are unhappy because the life they are living has not measured up to the high expectations of their dreams. They are choosing to make themselves unhappy because they have not adjusted their dreams to their new life situation and made the proper adjustments. They are still operating under the child like state of thinking the universe owes them something and that their dreams will magically happen.
The greater the incongruence between the dream and reality the more miserable a person will be
We are in a constant state of change and our life purpose sometimes needs to change to new realities. Clinging to old dreams that are no longer realistic no longer serves you well.
We need a return to realism. Good old fashioned sweat equity strategically employed in support of a realistic life plan. Without hard work and a plan a dream is just that a dream.