You and I both know just how difficult it is to pursue our dreams. Plus it often seems like it’s a never ending struggle. One day you wake up feeling very motivated and pumped to make progress. Another day, you wish you didn’t have to get out of bed at all. Eventually, many of us quit. This is unacceptable. It’s time to put more effort into adopting strategies that prevent us from quitting on what matters most.
First let’s briefly figure out WHY we quit on pursing our dreams in the first place.
We quit on our grand goals because we have no idea of what it truly takes to accomplish them.
This is demotivating. Because it can seem like you are running a marathon with no idea whether you are on the right path, and no idea how far you have left to cross the finish line.
This is all fear. The major reason why we don’t achieve a lot in our lives is because we are held back by our fears.
We are afraid that our efforts will be wasted with no positive results after months of struggle.
We are afraid that what we are pursuing won’t be profitable in the end. So how will we keep up with bills and just basic survival?
We are afraid that we aren’t fully equipped with the right skill or education to venture into what we are most passionate about.
Don’t worry, we are only human. It is human to experience fear.
But make no mistake, it is also human to rise above that fear.
So if you are ready to prevent your fears from holding you back, let’s look at ways to prevent ourselves from quitting on our dreams.
1. Read, Read, Read
This is the most important strategy of all. If you don’t do this, you might as well continue feeling defeated every time you hit an obstacle when pursuing your dream.
Why reading? Because books contain the solution to any challenge you will come across at any point of your struggle.
In fact I recommend finding and reading books based on a challenge you are currently facing. So if you are trying to figure out how to start a business, I suggest you look for a book with a similar title or about that general topic.
If you are wondering why you are frustrated with your boss, spouse or friends… guess what, there are countless books written by both professionals and well experienced people that give you step-by-step strategies on how to deal with them.
Stop figuring out things yourself. Stop jumping to conclusions. Stop feeling that your problems are unique and unsolvable.
Stop taking advice from unexperienced or unqualified people. Because those people may or may not be right. This is your dream, don’t you want to be as sure as possible?
The beauty of a book is that someone who is accomplished in a particular field, put his or her best thinking in that book. So you are getting high quality, proven strategies. Your chances of succeeding will be a lot higher after consuming a book on the topic, rather than from a conversation with a random guy.
Also Daren Hardy had something interesting to say about that from his book The Compound Effect ~ “Never ask advice of someone with whom you wouldn’t want to trade places”.
Let me also recommend that if you find reading paperback books straining, then consume audiobooks. That’s what I do. I listen to someone reading the book (usually when I’m stuck in traffic or bike riding). It sounds weird but I promise you, you will get used to it. It’s helped me consume about 40 books this past year.
Read books, read blog articles, listen to podcasts… read read read.
2. Focus more on progress and less on success
You know what? It’s hard to really tell when someone has succeeded. Just because they have accomplished a lot, does not mean that they themselves feel like they have succeeded.
But progress can be measured. You can definitely tell whether or not progress has been made.
And the beauty about progress is that you don’t have to take massive action to begin measuring it.
Progress represents movement made. If you moved 1 centimeter from where you initially started, guess what… you have progressed. And as long as you keep making progress, you are bound to get to a destination. You will certainly never be at the same place where you started.
Success is usually a sudden realization that much progress has been made. Without progress, there’s no success.
Start like this:
- Day 1. I will do a couple google searches on the topic of making video games
- Day 2. I will research sites and YouTube videos that have easy tutorials on how to get started.
- Day 3. I will figure out a really simple game to put together.
- Day 189. I will look for ways to create a slow-motion matrix effect when the player does nine back flips.
If you just sum up the first 3 days… you have made more progress than someone who hasn’t moved at all. That should make you feel great. Progress is rewarding.
Don’t worry about how far you have to go. Focus on how much positive movement you are making. Focus on how many milestones you are crossing. So instead of focusing on becoming the best blogger in the industry, focus on completing a well written blog post.
3. Change your habits
Did you know that habits play a critical role in determining whether or not you succeed in life?
Maybe you do, but a lot of people forget.
Habits will make you or break you.
Give two people the same corporate job they need to report to every morning. Give both of them a house located 10 kilometers from their work place. Give them both a demanding family and a list of problems.
One of them will become very successful in life, the other… will continue to wonder why his life sucks.
This is how the world of successful men and women work.
Some of the world’s most respected entrepreneurs and success stories are a result of an almost unbearable upbringing.
Well, unbearable to people who don’t know true hardship and suffering.
But if you don’t believe me, do your research. You might be shocked to find out that a lot of the people you and the world have come to respect as achievers today, were survivors of hardship that would defeat the average person.
So how did they overcome life’s challenges to achieve greatness?
Habits that they practice till today actually.
Did you know that doing exercise on a regular basis will increase your overall effectiveness at work? Or that eating healthier foods during lunch will ensure that you feel more energized to tackle the rest of the afternoon?
What about the fact that taking time to reflect or mediate will help reduce stress and help you focus more?
How about this – consuming (reading or watching) negative information every day will make you more pessimistic.
This you probably know – always hanging around people who have abandoned their dreams will eventually make you feel like you should quit on yours too if you have a weak resolve.
I can go on and on.
But if you sum up a life of positive habits versus a life of negative habits… which life do you think will bring you closer to achieving your goals?
Is your dream important to you? Then shape your life to enable yourself to achieve it.
Before you can be a pro-football player, you must not only play football, but you must live the pro-footballer lifestyle. I’m not talking about their spending. I’m talking about making healthier food choices. Regularly exercising. Never missing practice. Consistently working on improving your game.
Many forget that it’s these qualities that get footballers recruited into major clubs. Not the size of their bank accounts.
Also remember that no one is perfect so we can’t kick away all our bad habits and replace them with good ones all at once. But we can begin to change.
You will be surprised but many of the reasons why people stop pursuing their dreams is more related to the habits they have developed than anything else.
You can always tell a focused person from one who isn’t, just by paying attention to their habits.
If you tell me that you are focused on building a business but spend 6 hours a day watching TV shows, I’m going to believe the habit and not what you tell me.
Habits will make or break you. It’s as simple as that.
I truly understand the frustration of trying to accomplishing our dreams. But what I can’t understand is our lack of interest in constantly looking for ways to not stay defeated. We should change that about ourselves.
And just as side-note: always remember that when we get to a point we feel stuck, there is a reason. When we find out what that reason is and deal with it, we no longer have an excuse to remain stuck.
Yes it’s hard, but we must become harder. Don’t wish life were easier, wish you were stronger.