Having dared to dream, some action is required. Clear intention is important but not sufficient.
If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them. – Henry David Thoreau
Taking action is often the hardest step. It can be so frightening and confusing that many people never risk it. Their dreams are suppressed or forgotten or something that they try to pursue only when death is imminent, but by then it is often too late. There is nothing sadder than a life unlived.
Don’t put pressure on yourself. Pick one dream and take the first small step towards making it happen. Congratulate yourself. Then, take the next step.
Whatever you can do, or dream you can do, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it. – Anonymous
Almost by definition, big dreams don’t come easily. Otherwise they wouldn’t be big dreams. We often start out with the best of intentions, but are inevitably met by challenges. The road is neither clear nor straight. Sometimes we don’t even know where to start. Life gets in the way. Faced with an obstacle, it is often easier to retreat, but what lays behind is only shadows. A pale reflection of what my life could be. It takes courage to continue to press forward (Live Boldly). Great things can and do happen if I find the courage to pursue them.
All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them. – Walt Disney
Some common barriers on the road are a lack of money or shortage of time for which there will always be hundreds of competing interests. There will be people who don’t support me or who undermine me (consciously or otherwise). I will certainly meet my insecurities along the way, the belief that I’m too old, too young, not smart enough, not strong enough, under qualified, over qualified, etc. This list is almost endless. It’s important to know that all of these are mental barriers or things that can be overcome.
We create barriers for ourselves. We have our own mental barriers. And that keeps us from becoming all we can be, because we say “Well, I can’t do that”. But in the end… you can’t do it unless you can imagine it. And you can’t do it unless you can imagine yourself succeeding at it. – George Lucas
Any life endeavor worth pursuing involves some risk. We take risks every day when we drive a car, go to work, take a vacation, and fall in love. The correct response to life’s risks is not to run away from living, but to feel the fear and do it anyway. In the face of all the risks, I choose to live my life with courage (Live Boldly). Living a life of fear is no life at all.
A lot of people do not muster the courage to live their dreams because they are afraid to die. – Les Brown
The key is to always keep moving forward. I hold the vision of the dream and deal with whatever is ahead of me. It helps me to focus on where I want to go, not where I’m frightened to go. We all face challenges. What defines us is how we respond to them. I find it useful to believe that things will work out in the end. In my experience, they generally do, and it helps me to get out of bed in the morning when things aren’t going well.
It’s very important that I always remember to enjoy the journey. What’s better than pursuing my dreams? I can’t wait until I have fulfilled my dreams to be happy. That day may never happen, but I can be happy right here, right now.
Note — If you haven’t seen it (or haven’t seen it recently), I highly recommend watching Randy Pausch’s Last Lecture. Randy was a brilliant professor at Carnegie Mellon University who touched the lives of many, even when his own was ending.