How to Keep Your Dream Alive

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“Dream and give yourself permission to envision a You that you choose to be.”-Joy Page

When you were 6-years old and a grown-up asked you what you wanted to be when you grew up, what did you say?  A doctor? An astronaut? A ballerina?  We all have dreams that we want to see realized.  But what happens when our dreams take a beating?  Should we abandon them or should we try to do everything possible to keep them alive?On the road to achieving your goals and desires there are always going to be hardships, challenges, and obstacles.  But sometimes those obstacles are so severe that they can cloud all hope of reaching our dreams; the challenges so steep that we can’t even see our dreams anymore.  So how do you keep those dreams alive when everything around you tries to kill your dream? Before you try to keep your dreams alive, you must first determine whether or not the dream is worth saving.When to Hold On and When to Let GoI would love to tell you that all dreams are worth pursing but, honestly, some of them aren’t.  Especially, since we as humans change over time. As a child you may have dreamed of becoming a doctor but then later on in life you realized that you can’t stand the sight of blood. Or, as a 5-year old, you may have dreamed of being a princess but now you may have had to abandon that dream since there is not a high demand for princesses these days.To determine whether or not your dream is worth holding on to, we must ask ourselves some very important questions and we must answer those questions honestly.  Among many others, here are 4 crucial questions to ponder:
  1. Are they my dreams
  2. Are they still important
  3. Will they bring fulfillment
  4. Are they worth the risk


1. Are they YOUR dreams?-Make sure the dream you are chasing is your dream and not the dreams of the people around you.  That includes your friends, family and the society you live in.  If your dreams are not yours, you may find yourself chasing goals that don’t make you happy but, instead, buys contentment from others.

2. Are they Still Important-Many of us had dreams that expired and we didn’t even know it.  That’s not to say that you’ve gotten too old to chase your dreams.  Rather, it means that you have reached a point in your life where the things that used to matter, no longer have the weight of importance they used too.

Similar to when you were 5 and wanted to be a superhero, as a teenager you may no longer want to wear tights and fight crime.  And as an adult, you may no longer want to be a rock star because being rich and famous is no longer a priority.  Evaluate what is important in your life now before you begin to chase an expired dream.


3. Will they bring fulfillment-Will reaching yours dreams satisfy a deep desire in your life? Well, they should.  Whether your dream is to see the Great Wall of China or to become the worlds greatest tennis player, accomplishing that goal should be accompanied by a feeling of fulfillment.4. Are they worth the risk- Ok, so you’ve decided that reaching your dreams may bring a sense of fulfillment, but at what cost?  Like almost everything else in this world, dreams have a price.  You may have to sacrifice time, effort, money, or all three in order to see your dreams realized.  Before you embark on your dream exploration, make sure that you are willing to pay the price. “…if you want to keep your dream alive, you must eventually move from wishing to hoping.”
Wishing Vs HopingWhile researching for this post, I came across a number of articles about reaching your dreams that said a person should “Stop wishing and hoping your dreams will come true and just go for it.”  I thought to myself,“That seems a little harsh.  Should I REALLY stop wishing AND hoping for my dreams?”Are you wishing your dreams come true or are you hoping they will? Believe it or not, there is a difference between wishing something will happen and hoping that it will.  Knowing the difference can make a big difference in the way things turn out.The major difference between wishing and hoping is that wishing is subjective and hoping is objective.  Wishing is based on desires and longings that stem from a person’s mind, moods, and opinion.  Hoping, on the other hand is based on reason and evidence that the desire will be fulfilled.  Here is one of the better definitions of “hope” that I found:nThe feeling that what is wanted can be had or that events will turn out for the best. To look forward to with desire and reasonable confidence.Lets say, for example, that you just finished interviewing for your dream job.  You know the one.  The one that pays you way too much for doing something that you love.“Hoping” you get the job means that you were qualified for the position, answered your interviewers questions well; maybe even made them laugh, and positioned yourself for a callback. “Wishing” you get the job means that you had no business even applying and didn’t show up for the interview.  See the difference?
This is why I suggest that if you want to keep your dream alive, you must eventually move from wishing to hoping.  Wishing is a good start, but in order to keep your dream alive in the belly of your desires, you must throw some fuel on the fire.  Position yourself so that you raise the odds that your dream will become reality.

“Great minds must be ready not only to take opportunities, but to make them.” Charles Caleb Colton

Keeping The Dream Alive


Build Belief

One of the reasons we give up on our dreams is simply because we don’t believe they are possible.  In the “Wishing VS Hoping” section, I mentioned that it is ok to hope your dream will come true as long as there is confidence behind that hope.  In order to gain that confidence you must learn to believe in your dream.

Have you ever put together a 2,000 piece jigsaw puzzle?  They can seem impossible especially if there is a blue sky in the picture.  But, if you have completed one of these puzzles, you know that the more pieces you find, the more you begin to believe that you can finish.  Once you’ve gained momentum, all the pieces begin to fall into place.

Use little successes as pieces to a puzzle that make up your dream. Celebrate the small victories and use them to affirm your belief in your dream.  The more pieces you put together the clearer the picture of your dream will become to you.   Keep adding those little pieces while you are pursuing your dream.


Create and Take Opportunities

Once you’ve built the confidence that your dreams are possible, you’ll start to see opportunities to go forward.  Those opportunities may be accompanied by a few challenges.  Don’t worry, that’s completely natural.  Those challenges are there for a reason.  They are there to test your resolve and commitment to your dream.

When those opportunities present themselves, go forward.  Every day there are new opportunities for advancement in the direction of our dreams.  Life’s big opportunities do not come around every day.  But when they do, be prepared to take them!  Prepare yourself for those big opportunities by learning how to capture the small ones.

While you are waiting for the big opportunities to come, be proactive in creating opportunities of your own.  Step out of your comfort zone and do something above and beyond.  Taking these bold steps will place you in a better position to capture the big opportunities that will inevitably come your way.


Stay Hungry

Staying hungry means that you maintain the desire to reach your dreams. It is having continuous aspirations that fuel your yearning to see your dream realized.  The lack of “hunger” can not only prevent the dream from happening, it can also make the process unbearable and the results of your effort subpar.

When a star athlete loses the desire to win championships or an influential musician loses the desire to create significant music, the world notices the difference.   I recently downloaded the newest album from one of my favorite artist.  I couldn’t wait to sync my iPod so I could listen to the album during my morning run.  It was clear to me that something had changed since the last time this artist released an album.  I was so disappointed by lack of effort in production and the lack of creativity in lyrics.  It was clear to me that they had lost the hunger to be great that they once had.  By the way, the album did terribly on the charts.

Don’t let something like this happen to you.  Find a way to stay emotionally invested in your dream.  Continue to find ways to be innovative and creative.  Also, learn not to settle for anything less than your best.  When you attempt to cheat yourself by not giving your all in pursuit of your dream, it will be clear to those around you.

If you truly believe in your dream then you must fight for it.  The world can be hard on dreams.  It often seeks to destroy hope of those dreams being realized.

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