Congratulations to Kaleb Raymond, one of our finalists at SDL Achievers Scholarship 2018! His ability to set goals and following them is so motivating, that we decided to offer him a prize amounting $50 to help pay for college tuition. Congrats, Justin! Never stop working towards your life goals!
“You can hope it gets better, you can follow your dreams.
But hope is for presidents, and dreams are for people who are sleeping.”
The very idea and essence of a dream sets you up for failure from the get-go. I don’t know about most people, but in my dreams, I am usually visited by aliens or I talk to animals. To ascribe our life aspirations to the same level as absurd fantasies played out in our mind is insulting and exhausting on our spirits.
According to Sleep.org, our dreams last up to a whopping 34 minutes. If your life goals can be resolved in 34 minutes, they must not be very ambitious. Clearly, the first step to actualizing your life goals is to realize that they aren’t going to achieve themselves. Every moment not spent trying to achieve them is one moment less in your lifespan in which you can live out your dream. Being a “dream” seems to imply everything is scripted like a movie, that everything will play out and land in your lap.
“’Well, what are you waiting for?’
‘I don’t know, something amazing I guess.’
‘Me too, kid’”
Of course, going out and working towards your life goals is much easier said than done. The first step is identifying what your dream even is. A lot of people hope for a dream job, or to make art, or to become rich, or to raise a family, or to help humanity in some way. Even with these grand, philanthropic, luxurious, and gratifying ambitions, we rarely act on them if we don’t have a strategy.
Without a path to follow, we are lost. Deciding where to start with achieving a life goal is like coming to a fork in the road with a million branching paths. So much uncertainty is incredibly imposing.
When getting started is the hardest part, and you still have a whole journey ahead of you, sticking with what we already have seemed good enough. It starts to resemble depression: if you envision your life goal as the rest of your life, yet you don’t look forward to working for that goal, then you won’t have much energy living your life in the first place. I believe this is a leading factor behind the rampant depression afflicting the younger generation – so much is expected from them they get overwhelmed.
“There’s only one way to assure consistently good work. That is consistently thorough preparation.”
Everybody’s goal requires a different strategy, and for the most part, we all know what the “general guidelines” are. People striving for a dream job know to get experience in that field, college students know to attend career fairs and search for internships, artists know to hone their art and attract a fan base.
It’s finding the time, the resources, the people with a presence in that path of life that can help get your foot in the door; it’s these smaller, in-between steps that engender the most anxiety, uncertainty, and withdrawal. In essence, our biggest opponent in realizing our dreams isn’t “the man,” it’s ourselves.
This isn’t something we like to admit, however, and often our brain even suppresses the notion. Speaking from the experience of an aspiring illustrator, I have had more long days during which I had been longing to get home so I can draw only to finally get back and browse Reddit for hours than I can count.
Again, the idea of achieving our dreams is lovely until we are met with a blank piece of paper, and the potential is formidable. At that point we are easily tempted by entertainment that requires less of a commitment, chalking up our reluctance to a lack of motivation.
We cannot let motivation rule our lives any longer. More achievements have been suppressed by a lack of motivation than have been achieved due to its presence. It acts like a drug; we grow so dependent on it we cannot function without it. Motivation is the most significant limiting factor in achieving our potential as humans. When we learn to leave it behind, instead willing to develop rewarding habits and striving for a higher purpose than immediate satisfaction, then achieving our dreams will come down to following that strategy, unfettered from our inhibitions.
“Don’t rely on motivation for anything. It is fleeting and unreliable.
Discipline, however, is unyielding. Force yourself to follow through.”