All men dream: but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dream with open eyes, to make it possible. T.E Lawrence
When I was younger, I had big dreams for myself. I wanted to be in the symphony. In elementary school and high school, I made sure to take as many music classes as possible. I would have friends sign out their instruments for me, this way I could teach myself to play them at home. I taught myself how to play the flute, piano, and clarinet. I was going to travel the world, play in world-class cities, and stay at the finest hotels.
It never happened.
Some would argue that I didn’t have a drive to reach my goal. Others would say that I lost sight. I attribute my not reaching that goal to not having a plan. How could it possibly materialize if I didn’t put in the effort of putting together a plan of what was needed achieve it? I never took formal training besides band practice, I didn’t own any instruments, didn’t have anything. As a result, my dream just disappeared like that – poof.
Fast forward a few years. I became better at planning. My new lifetime goal was to help people. I had narrowed this down to people who required assistance becoming physically active but have special needs due to major surgeries or illnesses. I took courses at a local college, attending night school for four years. I haven’t finished yet, I only have placement left. I will not say that I didn’t reach this goal, but rather that I had to place this one on hold due to certain circumstances.
I have a new goal as well, I want to publish my work, I want to give talks, I want to inspire people, help THEM achieve their goals. I’m in the beginning stages, the pre-planning stages. I’m trying to figure out how to do this, and then will put together my road map. This one is tough, and will require a lot of work. But it will get done. I have formed a support group to help.
I find that a big chunk of the process of achieving your goal is setting realistic ones. It’s also the hardest part in achieving your goals because you don’t always know exactly where you’re going. I think that this is also one of the most beautiful things about it too. You shouldn’t know where you’re going. The journey is in the discovery – the discovery of your path, your capabilities, yourself. I’ve heard somewhere once that sometimes the road you travel on isn’t as important as the direction you are headed. You know that you are capable of many things, and imagine the thrill of finding out what you are capable of and of how much. Never stop trying to exceed your limits.
I have also observed that many bright, intelligent people have never been able to achieve any of the goals they have set out for themselves. They just fizzle out. Yet, the ‘underdogs’ the people who are deemed incapable have far exceeded anyone else. Either they didn’t know of the limits which were placed on them, or they just harnessed everything they had, and focused on their target. Either way, it shows that just anyone can achieve what they want as long as they are willing to put the effort into their plan.
Some might say that I have failed at my previous goals. I had an interesting discussion with a friend today about goals and failures. I believe that no one is a failure, as long as they are enjoying life. I don’t believe in that negative self talk we speak to ourselves. I don’t like the phrase ‘I failed’. I think it should be rephrased to “I found what doesn’t work for me”. It sends such a stronger message to our ego and subconscious saying I’m good, I’m smart, I’m capable. It allows you to take charge and accountability for your own life and to set standards and boundaries.
Our goals will change with our life circumstances, so we have to flexible. In a lifetime we will have a lifetime worth of goals set out for ourselves. But only those who map out their future will achieve their dreams. “Map out your future, but do it in pencil.” – Jon Bon Jovi