Before we get into the “meat” of this question, let’s consider the reason it is even necessary to ask the question in the first place.
The problem is that everyone has their dreams, and usually the younger the person is, the bigger their dreams. This suggests that, as a general rule, our dreams get watered down as we age. Now, I am not speaking of aging as in getting really old, but just noting that as age progresses, regardless of the stage of our lives, for most people, their dreams diminish slowly as they age. Why does this happen?
Could it be because of influences that affect us?
The late, great motivational speaker, Zig Ziglar, used to say “You were born to win…and conditioned to lose.” Think about that for a minute; let it sink in.
When you were born, you were just like I was when I was born. We were squalling, ignorant, toothless and naked. However our potential was unlimited.
The degree to which we realize our potential from the point of birth on is determined by the influences of others upon us, and how deeply we believe those influences.
Since we live in a world of humans who are dominated by human nature, most of them choose to take the easy route, which comes naturally, and is usually negative. In other words, we prefer comfort, familiarity and safety, so we prefer the influences that keep us comfortable. In a very real sense of the word, those influences make us slaves to existing systems of thought and action. As a result, we are conditioned to lose, in spite of the fact that we were born to win.
Briefly, in most cases, we were conditioned to lose by our well meaning parents who taught us to “fit in” to the same system that they had (unwittingly?) fit in to; by the public schools which were invented early in the industrial revolution for the purpose of “educating” the young to be capable of fitting in, to serve the needs of the industries that were springing to life.
We were taught to take the easy road and help someone else realize their dreams. We were conditioned by our friends and associates, starting from our earliest years, being influenced by those friends and associates that we found most interesting; those whom we admired.
I have not even touched on the media and entertainment industries which are continuously, from our childhood on, striving to teach us what to think and how we should act in order to be “good citizens”; how to fit in. Being the social creatures that we are, most of us have complied. Most people dutifully finish high school, go on to college and then seek their dream job and a salary sufficient to pay their student loans, marry, buy a home and live the life of their dreams. Then, when we can’t get the salary our dreams require, we settle for what we can get. We’re not truly happy. But “necessity dictates.”
Those who are the most astute catch on that they are in a trap and find a way out. They are the few, those whom we call “exceptional.” Most stay mired in the slavery trap for life and end up old, discouraged, broke and dependent upon others for survival, even though they were honest, hard working good citizens. The good news is that it is never too late to break out of that system, set yourself free and begin to attain the greatness that you were born to achieve (we were all born for a reason).
That being the case, then, the way we start to realize our dreams is to take a careful look at who and what we allow to influence our thinking.
All advancement, all progress begins in the mind with thinking; imagination. The influences that have shaped us have told us to “just fit in,” “be careful,” “you might fail and embarrass yourself,” “you should leave that to people who know what they’re doing” and hundreds of other negative ideas that lead us to mediocrity.
How you can make your dreams come true
The how to make our dreams come true begins with changing the influences that we accept as reality and possibility.
America put a man on the moon because one man, John F. Kennedy, rejected the negative influences that said it was impossible. He imagined that it could be done. He believed it and used the power of his office as president to insist that it would be done…and it was done.
To paraphrase and summarize his announcement, made in a speech in Houston, Texas, at Rice University on a hot, sweltering Texas day, Mr. Kennedy said that we would put a man on the moon within the decade (1960’s) by building a rocket 300 feet tall, creating propulsion and guidance systems as necessary. He said the rocket would be built of materials that had not yet been invented. Continuing, he declared that we would land a man on the moon, then return him safely to earth, re-entering the earth’s atmosphere while creating temperatures half as hot as the sun, and he flatly stated that we would do it first. Obviously, Mr. Kennedy did not allow himself to be constricted by the influences that governed the rest of the world’s leaders.
We must carefully consider who and what we allow to influence us. We must guard our minds against nay-sayers and the mediocrity which they wish to see control us. Consider this; people who are living the easy life, mostly devoid of thinking, don’t want to see you achieve great things because you will make them “look bad.”
In order for us to retake the high ground and win our dreams, as was intended for us at the time of our birth, we need to follow JFK’s example and reject the negative influences that are guaranteed to condition us to lose.
We need to think BIG thoughts, influence others to help us when we don’t personally have all the skills and information that are necessary for the attainment of our dream. We need to develop a plan, act on the plan and keep acting on it, correcting our course when necessary. As Winston Churchill so eloquently admonished, “Never, never, never give in.”
That is an over view of the “How.” That’s the biggie and that is, in large part, what this site is about. Future posts here will delve much deeper into the various facets of how. Getting a grip on the how will build your confidence exponentially. That skill moves you up the ladder to the position of being a successful accomplisher and leader.
Where and When?
The where and the when are next. By comparison to the how, they are easy.
The where is right where you are right now in your life. It is your physical location, it is the present time. You decide that right now, right where you are, you will, without question begin to make your dreams come true.
There is one other aspect to the where question, though. The only relocation that is required is to move outside your comfort zone. When you do, you will have to face down your fears, you will have to overcome obstacles, but YOU CAN DO IT! If you want an abundance of the worthwhile things life has to offer, you have to fight for them. Very, very seldom does anything worthwhile come quickly, easily or cheaply.
I have already touched on the when. Now I will tell you straight out when you need to begin to make your dreams come true. NOW! Get started; just get started. Take a small step every day, and you will get there. If you don’t take at least one small step every day, it is a sure thing that you will never get there.
On the influences that have conditioned you to lose, just remember that just because an influencer says something, that doesn’t make it true. Do some fact checking. Is it true that if you touch a hot stove you will always get burned? Yes, absolutely. Is it true that if you set out to do something bigger than you’ve ever done before that you will get burned? No. You probably will get burned slightly at times, but, if you’re not reckless, the burns won’t be severe enough to stop your advance. These small burns are just signals that you are due for some sort of course correction.
Are you moving towards your dream, or someone else’s?
For your comment:
- How have negative influences conditioned you to lose?
- What small step can you take, starting today to overcome and plan your own course to realize your own dreams?