“I love the idea” said the man whom I thought had lived the dream life. “However, I’m 70 years old, and I still don’t know what I want to do with my life.”
I found these words quite enlightening since they came from a guy who had done so many things. It also made me wonder if other people felt the same way.
Living Your Dreams: Where Do I Begin?
This conversation was the catalyst that started me asking this one simple question, “What do you want to do with your life?”
I have asked this question to people around the world – from Indonesia to South Africa, and Hawaii to Austria. I am always excited when I meet a natural goal-setter, because they always have a list handy. However these people are few and far between.
If you are wondering what the most common answer is, you might be a little surprised. The most common answer is not expressed by words, but by a blank facial expression. However, after a few minutes of prodding most pretty much said, “I really don’t have any goals right now.”
Every time I hear this, I think of the quote from Benjamin Mays, “The tragedy of life doesn’t lie in not reaching your goal. The tragedy lies in having no goal to reach.”
After asking this question to hundreds of people there was an underlying theme. It seems many have allowed their current situations to quench the desire to do anything other than survive.
I work as a professor in Korea, in which standardized testing and grading on a curve is involved in every phase of education. It would be bad teaching practice if no standards were set during the educational process. It’s like standing up and saying “We are going to have a final exam, but I’m not sure what will be on the test, there is no right or wrong answer, and there is nothing you can really do to prepare. So good luck and turn in your test papers when your done.”
Now this is absurd, and no self-respecting teacher would do such a thing. Yet many seem to go through life without establishing guidelines for living, or setting any goals to achieve. This is basically the difference of living a productive and fruitful life, and just living in survival mode hoping that we endure through each day.
If we have no dreams, no goals and no purpose, we may survive the day, but are we really living?
Living Your Dreams: Where Do We Begin? The Key Steps
- The key to living your dreams lies in knowing what you want to do in the first place. It’s hard to reach a goal if you have nothing specific to aim at. It’s very important to define the things you dream of doing into simple precise words.
- Instead of just saying I want to be rich, set a specific monetary goal (say one million dollars) and the exact date you want to achieve it. Instead of saying – I want to travel, list the specific countries you want to begin with. If you dream of being a famous artist, define what you mean by success and what medium you want to be famous for.
- This sounds rather obvious but if you want to live your dreams, you must know exactly what the dream translates into. It must be clearly defined and reachable within a certain time frame. Then you can begin to take the steps necessary to start living your dreams, and change course along the way if necessary.
- It would be a shame to reach the end of your life still wondering what it is you are supposed to do. So maybe it’s time we start finding our purpose and setting specific goals to find its fulfillment.
For more information on “Living Your Dreams: Where Do We Begin?”, check out the links below.