One thing common to all of us is our hope for a better future.
The aspiration towards a goal, a dream, or an ideal, is what gives life its color. Without a goal to aspire towards, life becomes meaningless.
But the hard truth, however, is that despite our capacity to dream and visualize an ideal future for ourselves, most of our dreams don’t come true.
Studies show that up to 80% of new year’s resolutions don’t follow through. That’s almost all resolutions, and it’s no wonder why.
When we are making plans for the future, we usually decide based on feelings, not reason, and once those feelings wear off and reality sets in, we get tired sooner or later.
So, can your dreams come true? Here are 5 ways to tell if you have a high chance of pulling off those dreams of yours.
1. You value work over recognition
Of course, we all want to be recognized, and to say that you’re in the wrong seeking recognition for your work will be inappropriate.
However, placing the need for recognition over the work itself can reduce your chances of making your goals a reality.
How? Well, firstly, when you work solely for recognition, your creative energy will suffer whenever you don’t get your hit of dopamine from the validation of others.
Secondly, when you place recognition over work, you’ll make the mistake of evaluating your work based on how much applause you get from others. And this of course will make you have the wrong idea about the true value of what you are creating.
Understand that those who place work over recognition are much more focused.
Since they are not distracted by the validation or opinions of others, they can focus on doing the work, which is what brings results in the long run.
Remember that neither the foundations nor the roots are seen, yet, they are still the most vital parts of buildings and plants.
Those who focus on building a strong foundation may not quickly make a splash, they’ll be the ones to survive in the long run.
2. You live with a sense of urgency
“Stop being patient and start asking yourself, how do I accomplish my 10 years plan in 6 months? You will probably fail but you will be a lot further ahead of the person who simply accepted it was going to take 10 years.”—Elon Musk
Most success stories usually start from rock bottom for one reason: Rock bottom leaves you with no choice.
When things get so bad and it feels like the best time to succeed was yesterday, you approach life differently.
Those who make their dreams a reality usually feel uncomfortable when they are doing anything that is not in alignment with their purpose. They feel an internal compulsion to use every time they have to hone their craft.
In fact, they might, on some occasions, have to force themselves or use a schedule to keep away from working on their craft to have time for other things.
Commit yourself to your work. Most of the greatest minds in history even had to disappear for a while to focus deeply on goals. This sense of urgency made them achieve remarkable things at a much faster rate than normal.
As Robert Greene put it in Mastery, “The time that leads to mastery is dependent on the intensity of your focus.”
3. You are adaptive
As we grow older, dreams change. But not everyone can recognize and embrace this change
Most people struggle in life because they spend most of their adult life trying to prove their childhood self right.
The result? Misery.
If you want your dreams to come true, you need to let go of goals that no longer serve you. Look at your life with an honest eye. Pay attention to what your intuition is telling you about that goal that you’ve lost connection with.
If it doesn’t feel right for you anymore, it’s because it isn’t.
Mark Manson, who is now one of the most successful self-improvement authors in the world, wanted to be a pop star for a long time. But at some point, it became obvious to him that the dream was more of a fantasy.
It was after this realization that he began to make a full commitment to writing, which became a massive success.
Understand that you’ll have to let go of the wrong dreams to create space for the right ones.
With self-awareness and mindfulness, evaluate yourself. Understand what works for the person you’ve become today.
Are you stuck in the past out of fear of change? You might be struggling with your goals not because you are lazy, but because they are wrong for the person you’ve become.
4. You can endure drudgery and boredom
Those who cannot bear being bored cannot achieve anything worthwhile in life.
The hard truth about achieving your goals or mastering a skill is that things are not going to feel exciting all the time.
Usually, in the beginning, everything is exciting. But as with learning any skill, it gets to a threshold where the basic things become too boring, and the complex things appear too complicated.
This is perhaps why Robert Greene specifically pointed out in Mastery that “The pain and boredom we experience in the initial stage of learning a skill toughens our minds, much like physical exercise.”
If you cannot endure those moments of drudgery and discomfort, you are going to keep giving up your dreams and goals for new and exciting ones.
Learn to fight this natural decay that set’s in as a consequence of the passage of time.
When things become tough, that is precisely when you should brace yourself and train yourself to be more competent.
5. You find pleasure in the process
When the process of achieving your dreams feels like a reward in itself, it becomes impossible for you to fail.
Now, this doesn’t mean you have to be bubbling with joy or “happiness” whenever you work on your dreams. Some days are just going to be bad.
But it sure means that you should have a strong connection to your craft so that minor improvements and discoveries matter more than anything else. This is the attitude of those who rise to the top in any field.
Robert Greene put it accurately in Mastery,
“To rise to the level of mastery requires many hours of dedicated focus and practice. You cannot get there if your work brings you no joy…”
Perhaps a strong indication that you might be on the wrong path is that the process makes you miserable.
The process is the most important part of mastery or success. If the only thing that gives you joy is the result, you are going to give up before you have any chance of making your dreams a reality.
Bear in mind
A large part of making your dreams come true is choosing the right one. And if you were not taking electronic gadgets apart or solving complex math equations at age 5, it might take a bit of time for you to discover yours. But that’s okay.
The most important thing is to be adaptive enough to make the right changes when the time comes.
Why? Your dreams have to match your current predilections and values for you to enjoy the process of achieving them.