Have you ever noticed how when you go to a party and mingle or talk with friends or coworkers there is always the person, who with glowing eyes tells you about all the things they plan on doing. They are so enthusiastic about the project they will start or the awesome experience they will have that you can’t do anything else but get wrapped up in their excitement. When you meet them the next time around, you can’t wait to ask them how their project is coming along or how they are doing in carrying out the experience they wanted to have.
But when you ask them, they don’t seem glowing at all anymore. They tell you that “things happened” and that “it’s still their dream, it just isn’t happening just yet”. Sometimes this is followed by an explanation of all the things that have held them back so far. Or they simply change the subject on you.
You are perplexed, if a person with this much enthusiasm couldn’t make it, how is anybody ever going to carry through with their dreams.
The only difference between the enthusiastic person, who lives their dream, and the one you met whose vision was not carried out, are that the successful person committed to their dream and took action. That’s it.
When I was a kid, I had the desire to master jumping from a 6-feet tall structure over some thorn bushes into a grass patch behind it (don’t ask me why, I was a bit of a wild child). I visualized what my success would look like and how I would perform a victory dance at the end. I practiced jumping from lower structures first and without the added difficulty of the thorn bushes. Every day my parents would send me outside to get out of the house, and every day I would practice jumping of things to refine the art. When I finally felt ready to take on the big task, I climbed on the structure, smiled in anticipation of my upcoming success, and jumped…
Right into the thorn bushes. How could that happen, I had practiced so relentlessly? I felt absolutely deflated. With my head held low, I went back home and had to ask my dad to help me pull out the thorns that had gotten stuck in my precious behind. I didn’t tell my parents how exactly the thorns had gotten there.
For several days, I doubted my plan to conquer the thorns and felt that it was just not meant to be. I mean, I had mastered all the other object, maybe this task was just too hard. But the beauty of being a kid is that they don’t let their doubts overtake their desires. And so, before I knew it, I was back out there practicing. And a practice it was. After a while, my parents became convinced that the whole neighborhood must be full of thorn bushes and that I had become close friends with them. A hot needle became a steady part of my life.
But as a kid you don’t give up on your dream, because it seems impossible. Kids are the most innovative and creative beings that walk this planet. If they can envision it, then they believe it is possible.
And successful at last I was. I will never forget the surprised look on my face and the feeling of pride that showered me from head to toe, when I took the jump and found myself in the middle of the grass patch. The first moment of disbelief, as I turned around and saw the thorn bushes behind me in their full beauty, quickly gave way to excitement. I fist pumped the air around me and performed my most charismatic happy dance.
At that moment, I was convinced that I would be able to conquer the world.
And who was there to bathe in my success story with me? Not a single person. Because this dream had been about proving to myself what I could do. It wasn’t done to show off for others or to be admired for my braveness. My first initial vision had been all about instilling confidence in myself.
Of course, I couldn’t keep my success to myself and once I mastered the jump and was able to repeat it on a regular basis, I shared it with my friends and showed off (of course I did).
Not knowing the work I had put in to get to this point, the other kids were quick to exclaim that they too were going to make this jump. For weeks this was the chat of the neighborhood kids. But when they got to the top they either stood there and decided that it wasn’t what they wanted to do anyway or they took one jump and let the thorns convince them that this wasn’t something they should ever try again.
And so I continued to be the only kid in the neighborhood who had mastered the jump, not because I was braver or more skilled than the other kids, but because this was my dream and I committed to it and took the action necessary to accomplish it.
As we get into adulthood, we lose the fearlessness that so often surrounds the adventures of kids. As an adult, I would probably have looked at the thorn bushes and calculated that the chances of me falling into them was quite high. As we grow older, we often see failure as something that needs to be avoided at all costs. And so we don’t engage in things that seem too risky and which seem to have a high chance of us not succeeding on the first try.
That leads to us talking ourselves out of our dreams, after we were all excited about the enrichment they could bring to our lives. We let outer circumstances distract us and use them as a reason why we weren’t able to move forward in putting our dreams into action.
I am not asking you to jump over thorn bushes, but I am asking you to approach your dreams with the same motivation and determination a child has, when they decide they want to learn something new (or want you to buy them the candy at the checkout line).
What is the dream that you are committed to tackle next?
Leave a comment below to hold yourself accountable to get started.