Now that I’ve moved away from my hometown, I use Facebook to keep my friends and family up to date on what I’m doing. Whenever I travel somewhere or do something exciting (like skydiving or rock climbing) I post pictures of my adventures on my profile. Almost every time I post a new photo album, someone leaves a comment about how they wish they could do the things that I do, claiming they don’t have the time, the money or that their responsibilities as a parent or employee hold them back.
They’re wrong! And if you think you don’t have the time or money, or that your obligations are limiting your opportunities, you’re wrong, too! The only thing preventing anyone, including you, from doing anything is the willingness to make it happen; to Just DO It! The doors are open and opportunity awaits anyone willing to reach out and grab it. There are no gatekeepers preventing you from living the life of your dreams. You don’t have to ask anyone for permission. The world is your oyster!
How!? How can you begin living the life of your dreams…RIGHT NOW?
Make a Choice: What do you want out of life? Do you dream of hiking the Appalachian Trail or living in a foreign country? Whatever your desires, if you ever hope to see them through to fruition you must make them your priority. If you want to travel, choose to make it a priority. Want to become a writer? Choose to make it a priority. Inside each of us there is an “on” switch that we must flip. Make a choice, flip that switch, commit to your goal and pursue it ruthlessly, without hesitation or apologies.
Stop Dreaming: Dreams bring inspiration but dreams and inspiration will only get you so far. If you ever want to accomplish anything, you must move beyond the visions in your head. Dreaming, hoping and wishing don’t produce results. Burgess Meredith in Grumpier Old Men said it best:
You can wish in one hand and crap in the other and see which gets filled first.
Stop Making Excuses: There’s an excuse for everything and guess what, all of those excuses suck. An excuse is just a way of justifying inaction due to fear. It’s easy to say “I can’t” if you can blame it on some externality that you “aren’t able” to control. It’s not easy to admit that you’re afraid of stepping outside of your comfort zone. It’s so much easier to blame your situation on money, time or the kids. And since those excuses are so universally accepted in our culture, no one is going to call you out on any of them. No one, that is, except me. All of your excuses are bullshit. You know it and I know it. Stop making excuses, you won’t live forever. These guys aren’t making excuses.
Prepare: Want to quit your job? Sit down, take an honest assessment of your financial situation and create a plan to shore up any weaknesses you find. Create a budget, eliminate all extraneous expenses, get out of debt, build your savings. Prepare yourself in real ways that will help you to succeed. No matter how much you hate your job, hate alone isn’t going to set you up for success. Do something positive each day with that emotional energy, then smile as you walk through the door because you know that you are one day closer to walking away for good.
Take Action: Preparation leads you in the right direction but, like dreams, can only take you so far. Once you reach a point where all the preparations have been made, it is time to take action. Action creates change. Change brings about opportunity. Don’t count on luck to bring you the life of your dreams. “Luck” is just opportunity presenting itself to those people who are prepared to act upon it. You can create your own luck by taking action towards accomplishing your goals. Want to become an artist? Paint. Want to learn a foreign language? Take a class. Want to travel the world? Buy a plane ticket. Action is the only thing that separates dreaming from reality.
Creating the life of your dreams isn’t difficult, it just requires dedication, determination and a willingness to step outside of your comfort zone to take calculated risks. Success isn’t guaranteed, but failure only comes to those who quit. Turn your dreams into reality, make the choice to make it happen. Give up the excuses and prepare for success. Create a new reality; the reality of your dreams.
Thanks for your latest installment . I am the living proof (if I do say so myself) of the message inside your story . I’ll save you the gory details but when you are down and out and the wolves are howling behind the door and it is just you and them you just have to decide what you want to do for the rest of your life. Take the easy and safe road and assume the role of the victim so you will always have a great excuse to hide behind.
Or you can make up your mind and decide not to be buried alive . I my case I wasn’t going to celebrate the slaying of the dragons by hiding in a so called safe and and secure (but demoralising) situation. You are never going to know how long that situation is going to be safe for anyway so you might as well give it your best shot with all the insecurity that goes with it . I didn’t want to look myself in the eye on the first day of my “retirement” and say Congratulations , you made it ! You managed to hide from life long enough and lost it at the same time . Rather I would like to say I tried (and I failed ) I tried again (and failed again) and one more time ..and then succeed ! . Or not but at least I tried !
I am now in the the situation of which I could only dream of a couple of years ago and/or even didn’t know existed. But you won’t get there sitting behind the television thinking what if .. and using every excuse in the book to hide behind .. Just do it !
Well enough of my ramblings.. one thing I did come across in my “journey” is the debilitating fight against age discrimination . Maybe you can write about that some time ?
I get the same response from my friends. They don’t have the money, the time, the energy, the courage or they can’t because of the kids-they find every excuse. I tell them I’m not superwoman or rich by any means, I just know that life is short and that if we don’t make the decision to take advantage of all it has to offer, what’s the point? I do fear that perhaps having children will slow me down, at least in terms of some of my more adventurous decisions or travel, but I know that if I make a conscious effort to still make time for it, I will.
Hi Steve – Lots of good thoughts here. I just read your post this morning (Monday), but, coincidentally (?) wrote the following note to myself at work on Saturday “Every day at work is one day closer to Canandaigua” (dream home, dream life), as a reminder that my current job and salary are a part of the reason that have more options right now, and that every day I’m preparing for that dream. Also, now that our Internet has recovered, I’m continuing the daily task of entering our financial information in Quicken so that we can ultimately, realistically, assess our budget and our finances. Until Comcast crashed on us, just that simple task of entering our financial information was lifting my spirits. There is hope!
Thanks man. Yesterday I spent an hour lying in bed trying to decide if I was going to give up on myself.
Of course I eventually got up and came to work, received your comments in my email. I read your post and it lifted me up and has been swirling around in my head ever since.
I have been whining and crapping in one hand for too long while guys without legs are climbing mountains ! Holy smokes !! Did that ever put things in perspective !!