Dream Chasers: 5 Things Done By People Who Achieve Their Dreams

by | Aug 25, 2022 | Blog, For Educators, For Young Heroes

I’ve always loved a good story.

Growing up in Colorado, I always dreamed of becoming a writer. To live in a mountain cabin, writing books. I dreamed up stories and poems, sometimes to avoid doing homework, sometimes just for the fun of messing around with words. My first real story, written when I was seven or eight, was called—wait for it—Autobiography of a Big Tree. But this was just the beginning!

In fifth grade, I launched my very first magazine. Very few believed in the dream at that time, but when I wrote a secret exposé on what really went on inside the teachers’ lounge at my school (all made up, of course), I got into a heap of trouble! But that didn’t matter, because I’d discovered how much fun it is to write a story and share it with others.

My own story is one with an especially bizarre plot: lots of drama, excitement, struggle, surprise, and comedy. Like many others, there are twists and turns and tangents that, at times, took me in a direction that seemed to lead away from the happy ending.

In fact, my first book was rejected no less than 32 times!

That is a lot of no’s before I finally heard a yes.

That was many years and many books ago! One of the biggest questions I get asked to this day is about how I persevered in the face of what felt like overwhelming defeat.

I’m sure I’ll never know what truly propelled me to stay the course, other than my unyielding desire to share my stories with others, but here are some things I think helped.

Dream Chasers: 5 Things Done By People Who Achieve Their Dreams

They know their dreams.

 

Often people are vague about their dreams – they want to “be rich” or “be successful” – but the important thing is to know what that truly looks like to you.

How much money do you need to “be rich”? What do you need to accomplish to “be successful”? And don’t base that on what others think it means. You have to look inside yourself and determine what your dreams coming true looks like to you.

Remember: Dreams come from inside, not outside. They must be owned at the level of your soul. When you are clear about your dream, then set yourself on that path and start walking.

They practice perseverance.

 

Setting aside my dream of being a writer, I went into business—and wound up as the president of a private equity firm in New York City. But even as busy as I was, I found myself waking up at 4 a.m. to write or scribble story ideas before going to work. Sure, I was aware that doing this on top of my day job, even after all those rejections, meant this urge to write must really be important to me. But it took me a while to work up the courage to pursue my passion full time.

What helped the most was to visualize myself at the very end of my life—when the hourglass of time had almost run out—and to ask, “Did I have any big dreams that I never pursued? Any great passions that I didn’t have the courage to go after with all my heart?” What could be worse than coming to the end of your life and knowing that you could have done more to make your dreams come true?

They prioritize their dreams.

 

I always say that all we have in life is our time and our souls. So why not make the most of both?

This is your life, your soul, your dreams – the most precious things you have. It’s worth fighting to keep them wholly alive! If you stay true to them, with a bit of luck, you will succeed. And if you don’t succeed, you will have the satisfaction of knowing that at least you really tried. Whatever happens, you’ll have a marvelous journey along the way.

They live life as a story.

 

Stories have a beginning and an end, but they also have so much going on in the middle. They’re happy and sad, they’re full of surprises and intrigue and adventure. They have so many twists and turns and stops and starts that at times they can overwhelm you with emotion. But, what they’re not is predictable.

When you live your life as a story you give it the power to lead you towards what the ending should be. I think of it kind of like one of those choose your own adventure books we all loved as kids. You don’t give up in the middle because you already know how it’s going to end, you keep going, fully knowing that your choices could mean that there’s a surprise ending right around the corner waiting to, well, surprise you!

Living your life as a story means that you are invested in every arc, that you are excited about the development, and committed to seeing it through to the end. So, when things get challenging and you feel like you’re not going to succeed in some way, you just keep reading, because something magical could happen that changes your course.

They believe in their power to make a difference.

 

This is the most important thing of all because it is what keeps us committed to doing great things. Each of us is a force – a package of positive energy that could help the world in some way. You may not believe that. You may think it’s the craziest idea ever. But it’s deeply true.

When you believe in this possibility, it’s hard for small setbacks to throw you off course. When you know that your choices, your ideas, and moments can impact the world around you in important ways, it’s easy to push forward in the face of adversity, because you know on the other side something amazing could be waiting!

The experience of working hard to achieve a sometimes-elusive goal, more than anything else, has made a difference in my life. I am certain that the same will be true for you. For if you can imagine your goals, your future, and your path to making a better world — all that remains is to work hard to achieve your dreams. And you will succeed! Just stay true to yourself, and true to your dreams, and nothing can stand in your way.

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