10 Lies You Will Hear Before You Pursue Your Dreams

Pursue Your Dreams

Unfortunately, just before you take your first step on the righteous journey to pursue your dreams, people around you, even the ones who deeply care for you, will give you awful advice.  It’s not because they have evil intentions.  It’s because they don’t understand the big picture – what your dreams, passions, and life goals mean to you.  They don’t understand that, to you, the reward is worth the risk.

So they try to protect you by shielding you from the possibility of failure, which, in effect, also shields you from the possibility of making your dreams a reality.

As our friend Steve Jobs says:

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life.  Don’t be trapped by dogma, which is living with the results of other people’s thinking.  Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice, heart and intuition.  They somehow already know what you truly want to become.  Everything else is secondary.”

Here are 10 ill-advised tips (lies) people will likely tell you when you decide to pursue your dreams, and why they are dreadfully mistaken.

  1. You can follow your dreams someday, but right now you need to buckle down and be responsible. – Someday?  When is ‘someday?’  Someday is not a day at all.  It’s a foggy generalization of a time that will likely never come.  Today is the only day guaranteed to you.  Today is the only day you can begin to make a difference in your life.  And pursuing your dreams is what life is all about.  So don’t be irresponsible.  Don’t wait until ‘someday.’  Make today the first day of the rest of your new life.
  2. You’re totally screwed if it doesn’t work out. – Wrong!  This is a giant, lame load of BS.  You’re not even close to being screwed.  In fact, the worst case scenario is that things don’t work out and you have to go back to doing exactly what you are doing right now.
  3. It’s safer to stay at your day job. – Sure, I suppose.  But you know what’s even safer than that?  Going home, locking yourself in your bedroom, and never, ever coming out.  And just like that you will have flushed your entire life and your dreams down the toilet.  Remember, safer doesn’t always mean better.
  4. That’s impossible! – It’s only impossible if you never do anything about it.  The reason certain things seem impossible is simply because nobody has achieved them yet.  But this doesn’t mean that with your help these things won’t become possible in the future.  If you truly dedicate yourself to an end result, almost anything is possible.  You just have to want it bad enough.
  5. Only a lucky few “make it.” – That’s because those lucky few got off their rear ends and did something about it!  They had the drive, determination, and willpower that you have right now.  You can be one of them.  It’s up to you, and only you.
  6. You might fail.  And failing is bad. – Failures are simply stepping stones to success.  No matter how it turns out, it always ends up just the way it should be.  Either you succeed or you learn something.  Win-Win.  The biggest mistake you can make is doing nothing because you’re too scared to make a mistake.  If you can’t handle failure, then you can’t handle success either.
  7. You don’t have access to the right resources. – It’s not about having the right resources; it’s about exploiting the resources you do have access to.  Stevie Wonder couldn’t see, so he exploited his sense of hearing into a passion for music, and he now has 25 Grammy Awards to prove it.  Get it?
  8. You need more money saved before you can take the first step. – You don’t need more money.  You need a plan.  You need a budget.  Eliminate ALL the nonessential costs in your life.  If pursuing your dream requires you to leave your day job, figure out the absolute minimum amount of income that you require to realistically live.  Studying those who have succeeded with similar ventures also helps.  But above all, take baby steps.  Don’t be foolish and assume that you must have a certain amount of money saved right now, or that you must quit your day job today in order to pursue your dreams.  Instead, ask yourself, “What actions can I take right now with the money and resources I have right now that will bring me closer to desired goal?”
  9. You don’t need any help.  It’s smarter to go after it alone. – You are the sum of the people you spend the most time with.  If you hang with the wrong people, they will negatively affect you.  But if you hang with the right people, you will be far more capable and powerful than you ever could have been alone.  Find your tribe and work together to make a difference in all of your lives.
  10. That sounds like a lot of hard work. – You’re darn right it does!  But that doesn’t mean it’s not worth it.  I think success in life hinges on one key point: Finding hard work you love doing.  As long as you remain true to yourself and follow your own interests, values and dreams, you can find success through passion.  Perhaps most importantly, you won’t wake up a few years from now working in a career field you despise, wondering “How the heck am I going to do this for the next 30 years?”  So if you catch yourself working hard and loving every minute of it, don’t stop.  You’re on to something big.  Because hard work ain’t hard when you concentrate on your passions and dreams.

Disregard these misguided bits of nonsense and you’ll be well on your way to fulfilling your dreams.

Now get out there and make a splash!

Photo by: Gigi 62

What Perfect Is

What Perfect Is

Do perfect men have big muscles?  Do perfect women have big breasts?  Do perfect couples have lots of children?  Do perfect husbands earn upwards of $100K a year?  Do perfect wives cook delicious meals?

Do perfect people have lots of friends?  Do perfect people have loads of life experience?  Do perfect people ever fail?

Yeah!  You bet they do!  All of this and soooooo much more…

Perfect men are scrawny.  Perfect men struggle with obesity.  Perfect men can barely do one pull-up.  Perfect men have bad backs that prevent them from lifting heavy objects.  Perfect men were only born with one arm.

Perfect women have tiny breasts.  Perfect women have fake breasts.  Perfect women have breast reductions.  Perfect women haven’t finished growing their breasts yet.  Perfect women have lost both breasts to cancer.

Perfect couples have one child.  Perfect couples have ten children.  Perfect couples adopt because, medically, they can’t have their own children.  Perfect couples adopt even when they can have their own.  Perfect couples never have children because they don’t want them.

Perfect husbands are stay-at-home dads.  Perfect husbands own multi-million dollar businesses.  Perfect husbands are migrant farmers.  Perfect husbands switch careers in their mid-50’s.  Perfect husbands have no idea what they want to do for a living.

Perfect wives don’t cook because they’re too tired when they get home from work.  Perfect wives only know how to cook Italian food.  Perfect wives hate cooking even though they’re good at it.  Perfect wives are chefs at fancy restaurants.  Perfect wives make Ramen Noodles.

Perfect people are introverts with two close friends.  Perfect people are extroverts with five hundred Facebook friends they communicate with regularly.  Perfect people hangout with their marching band friends.  Perfect people have famous friends.  Perfect people have a best friend with four legs.

Perfect people have traveled and lived all over the world.  Perfect people have yet to explore beyond their hometown in rural Montana.  Perfect people still live at home with their parents.  Perfect people are happy where they are.  Perfect people haven’t figured out how to get to where they want to go.

Perfect people fail a hundred times and lose hope.  Perfect people succeed on their very first attempt.  Perfect people don’t like to admit when they fail.  Perfect people see failure as an opportunity for growth.  Perfect people never fail because they never stretch themselves beyond their comfort zones.

Perfect people have scars on their faces and perfect complexions.  Perfect people have long brown hair at 60 and short grey hair at 35.  Perfect people wear wigs.  Perfect people have sex with men, women, both or none at all.  Perfect people can barely see over the grocery store counter and sometimes bump their heads at the top of doorways.  Perfect people have waistlines that are infinite in size and geometry.  Perfect people have skin tones as light as vanilla ice-cream and as rich dark chocolate.

Perfect people come from every corner of this beautiful planet and can be seen everywhere – even in the mirror.

Yeah!  That’s right!

Perfect is the way we are born.  Perfect is the way we are now.  Perfect is exclusively unique.

We are what perfect is.

Photo by: Movimente

How To Build Your Tribe – Finding ‘Your People’

Build Your Tribe

This is a guest post by Marelisa of Abundance Blog at Marelisa Online.

One of the most fundamental human needs is the need to belong.  Noted psychologist, Abraham Maslow, identified it as one of the five basic needs.  We want to be part of a group and to feel loved and accepted by others.  That is, we want to be a member of a tribe.  A tribe-or a pack, clan, elected family, posse, crew, network, or true friends–is a group of people who share common interests and values and show genuine appreciation and care for each other.

Your tribe members are those people who accept you just as you are, and who want the very best for you.  They make you feel understood, and they encourage you to go after your goals and pursue your dreams.  Also, the members of your tribe help you to get through difficult times, and they provide you with a sense of community and support.

To paraphrase Sam Adams–from the Onion A.V. Club–, your tribe are those people you love to cruise the streets with while listening to the Ramones and playing air guitar, and who, at the same time, will come and slap you when you’re acting out of line.  Your tribe is made up of ‘your people.’  Think of the six main characters in the hit series “Friends,” and how they were always there for each other.

Sir Ken Robinson–author of “The Element,” a book on how to find work that you’re passionate about–argues that your tribe is essential in helping you to find your element.  Members of a tribe kick ideas around with each other and validate each other.  Also, tribe members drive each other to explore the real extent of their talents.  In addition, Robinson argues that when a group of people with common interests come together, a synergy is created which allows them to create something much greater than any of them could have created individually.

If you feel tribe-less, rest assured in the knowledge that your tribe is out there.  In addition, if you’re already surrounded by a supportive tribe, remember that there are probably many members of your tribe that you have not met yet.  Below you’ll find twelve valuable tips and insights to help you find your tribe-if you haven’t found it already–, or to help you expand your tribe-if you already have one.

Twelve Tips for Finding or Expanding Your Tribe

American journalist and writer Jane Howard is credited with the following quote: “Call it a clan, call it a network, call it a tribe, call it a family.  Whatever you call it, whoever you are, you need one.”  Here are twelve tips for finding or expanding your tribe:

  1. Think of the qualities you want your tribe members to have.  As an illustration, you may want each of your tribe members to have the following qualities: treats people with respect; listens but doesn’t judge; has a quirky sense of humor; is an artist; lives with passion; doesn’t sweat the small stuff; is loyal and trustworthy.
  2. Decide if there’s a particular type of activity that you want to engage in with your tribe, such as starting a book club, taking hiking trips, going to happy hour, or visiting museums and gallery openings.
  3. Listen to your inner voice and trust your instincts.  When was the last time you had a gut feeling about someone?  Sometimes you’ll meet someone new and you’ll feel drawn to them right away, almost as if you were old friends.  Other times you’ll come across people who immediately make you want to put up your guard.  Pay attention to your gut reaction to others.
  4. One way to find your tribe is to use Social Media to create a virtual tribe; you can then look for ways to meet in the offline world.  For example, Twitter allows you to search for people who share your interests and who actively talk about these interests.  Use the topics and activities that you’re interested in as key terms.  You can also enter the city where you live as a key term in order to find others who share your interests and live in your area.
  5. Start a blog on a subject that interests you–such as breeding bull terriers, chasing UFOs, Russian 19th century novelists, and so on–and create your own community.  If you can get together a group of bloggers who are like -minded and live in the same city, you can host a blog meet-up so you can all meet in person.
  6. Look for upcoming community events in your city that are centered around activities you enjoy.
  7. Search for Yahoo groups and forums which cater to a particular topic that you’re passionate about.
  8. If there are one or two people you already know who you would like to strengthen your friendship with, try to find a way to work together.  You could plant a communal garden together, or meet once a week to complete unfinished projects–such as crafts, sewing, knitting, or woodworking– as a group.  Working with others can help you strengthen your bonds with them.
  9. Marketing guru Seth Godin advices that you create your tribe by helping others to achieve their goals.  Connect people in your social network who have common interests; give them access to information and resources that they need; and let them know that you’re available if they need help.
  10. Andy Paige–a stylist on TLC– explains that you need to look for your 1/3.  To summarize: Andy argues that 1/3 of the people you come across will dislike you; 1/3 of the people you meet will be indifferent toward you; and 1/3 of the people you come into contact with will love you.  You’re looking for that that last 1/3.  Those are your people.  Don’t worry about the other 2/3.
  11. Create rituals that you can share with your tribe, such as having regular meals together.  You can also have in-jokes and slang or jargon that’s unique to your tribe.  Look for ways to make your group cohere and know that it’s a group.
  12. Keep in mind that the people you hang out with will have a huge impact on every aspect of your life, from your level of income—several financial authors argue that your income is equal to the income of your five best friends–, to your level of happiness—studies show that happiness is contagious.  In addition, we have a subconscious tendency to model the behavior of those around us.  Choose your tribe wisely.


The members of your tribe are your allies on your life journey.  When you’re creating or expanding your tribe, look for people who will lift you up, help you grow, recharge you, inspire you, and celebrate with you, and who are willing to lend a hand when you need it.  In addition, always remember that as a tribe member you have responsibilities toward your tribe.  You need to give back to the tribe and offer other tribe members your support, just as they support you.  Now get out there and start creating or expanding your tribe.

Marelisa Fábrega blogs about creativity, productivity, and simply getting the most out of life over at Abundance Blog at Marelisa Online.  Marelisa is the author of the eBooks How to Be More Creative – A Handbook for Alchemists,  and How To Live Your Best Life – The Essential Guide for Creating and Achieving Your Life List.

Photo by: Frabuleuse

18 Great Reads That Changed My Life

Great Reads

It’s fairly easy to find a well written book or online article.  But it’s not always easy to find one with genuine value that you connect with.

That’s because, these days, books and online articles are a dime a dozen.  There are literally thousands of them written on the same topic every year.  So deciphering the ‘good’ from the ‘great’ can prove to be quite a challenge.

But if you look hard enough, in the right places, you’ll find a few gems containing life-altering advice that can be immediately implemented and used as an instrument for self-improvement.

For this reason, I’ve compiled the following list of books and online articles containing value so profound that each of them literally changed my life.

I therefore extend my gratitude to the authors and pass them along to you with the simple hope that they will provide value to you as well.

Happy reading…

  1. The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle – Tolle’s message is clear: living in the now is the truest path to happiness and enlightenment.  This book is carefully, thoughtfully and beautifully written.  Not only does it illuminate the fundamental, slippery, destructive patterns of the mind or ego which confound one’s spiritual and even physical well-being, but it also provides a variety of simple and practical techniques for breaking down and dissolving these various forms of mental pollution.  I use Tolle’s calming, contemplative techniques almost every day and they work wonderfully for me.
  2. The Road Less Traveled by M. Scott Peck– Pretty much the granddaddy of all self-improvement books, it’s easily one of the best nonfiction works I’ve ever read.  By melding love, science, and spirituality into a primer for personal growth, Peck guides the reader through lessons on delaying gratification, accepting responsibility for decisions, dedicating oneself to truth and reality, and creating a balanced lifestyle.
  3. “Find what you love.” – 2005 Stanford Commencement Address by Steve Jobs – In his 2005 Stanford University commencement address Steve Jobs discussed three personal stories from his life.  The advice he delivered was clear: find what you love, trust in your instincts, and follow your heart.  Before reading Jobs’ speech back in 2005, I was struggling with a job I didn’t love because it was really the only thing I had ever tried.  It was all I knew. Jobs says, “You’ve got to find what you love.” And his article helped me do just that.  I finally realized that I was wasting my life living someone else’s dream.  If I settled for someone else’s dream, I’d grow old and die without ever seeking my own.
  4. Getting Things Done by David Allen – The ultimate ‘organize your life’ book.  Allen’s ideas and processes are for all those people who are overwhelmed with too many things to do, too little time to do them, and a general sense of unease that something important is being missed.  The primary goal of this book is to teach you how to effectively get your ‘to-do inbox’ to empty.
  5. Advice, Like Youth, Probably Just Wasted on the Young by Mary Schmich – While the advice here is a bit more inspirational than it is practical, I have always enjoyed this short piece of literature.  In the late 1990’s when I was in high school it became an international phenomenon when it was turned into a slow rock song by Baz Luhrmann (director of the 1996 movie Romeo and Juliet) that jumped to #1 on the U.S. and U.K. pop charts.  The song was played at my high school’s class of 1999 graduation commencement ceremony.  It eventually became famously known as “Wear Sunscreen.”  Details aside, I still re-read it in it’s entirety from time to time when I need a quick dose of inspiration.
  6. Don’t Die With Your Music Still In You by Steve Pavlina– Above all, this short read taught me that “to abandon a comfortable lifestyle that isn’t deeply fulfilling is to abandon nothing at all.”  It helped me understand that I was defending a comfortable, unfulfilling career without good reason.  At the start of each workday, I was reluctant to get out of bed.  At the end of each workday, the amount of satisfaction I received from the work I was doing was insignificant.  Which in turn caused me to ask myself: Why should I stay loyal to such a meaningless job?  So I switched it up and never looked back.
  7. Switch: How To Change Things When Change Is Hard by Chip and Dan Heath – A super great psychology book about real, concrete ways to make lasting change in both your personal and professional life.  So many powerful insights, based on fact not theory.  Inspiring counter-intuitive stories of huge organizational change against all odds.  As they explain in the first chapter, “All successful changes share a common pattern.”  I highly recommended this read for everyone.
  8. The Richest Man in Babylon by George S. Clason – The best book on money management ever written.  Although only 145 pages, this book is packed to the brim with powerful, life changing information.  I’ve read it three times and I still pull new pearls of wisdom out of it.  Babylon should be mandatory reading beginning at the grade school level, then again in college, and should be given as a gift right along with a college diploma.
  9. How To Become A Millionaire In Three Years by Jason L. Baptiste – Every once in a while I come across an online article I wish I had read ten years ago.  This is one of them.  It contains timeless advice on making money by building something of your own.  Every wannabe entrepreneur should print this out, hang it on their refrigerator, and read it every morning.  That’s what I did with it.
  10. How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie – Easily one of the best and most popular books on people-skills ever written. Carnegie uses his adept storytelling skills to illustrate how to be successful by making the most of human relations.
  11. How to Find What You Love to Do by Brian Kim – For me, this short read was a wake-up call.  It’s basically a how-to guide based on the ideas Steve Jobs presented in his 2005 commencement address.  Kim emphasizes the importance of self-assessment and made me take a long hard look at myself to figure out what it is that makes me happy.  What’s more, his article discusses how uncertainty and fear are the most common obstacles preventing people from doing what they love to do.  His solution involves self-analysis: identify your skills and interests, then use your strengths to live your passion.  In Kim’s words, “conquer indecision and ACT, and you will most definitely conquer all fear.”
  12. The Magic of Thinking Big by David Schwartz – This is another classic self-improvement book.  Schwartz gives the reader useful, proactive steps for achieving success.  He presents a clear-cut program for getting the most out of your job, marriage, family life, and other relationships.  In doing so, he proves that you don’t need to be an intellectual or have innate talent to attain great success and satisfaction in life.
  13. Everything You Wanted to Know About Simplifying Your Life by Leo Babauta – This compilation of online articles has truly helped me simplify my life.  Together, they cover everything from appreciating simple pleasures to decluttering your work space.  These articles are about creating a simple life for yourself, which means getting rid of many of the things you do so you can spend time with people you love and do the things you love and value.  If you’re looking to simplify your life, look no further.
  14. Never Eat Alone by Keith Ferrazzi – Ferrazzi explains the guiding principles he has mastered over a lifetime of personal and professional networking and describes what it takes to build the kind of lasting, mutually beneficial relationships that lead to professional and personal success.  Most of this book is fantastic – you learn how to relate to people, how to establish contacts and maintain connections, and how to create a social network.  If you interact with a lot of people on a regular basis, it’s a great read.
  15. The Most Important Blog Post You’ll Probably Never Read by Glen AllSopp – If you’re even slightly interested in making money online as a blogger, website owner, etc., then this article is for you.  It provides a short, insightful, bullsh**t free look at how to do just that.  It really opened my eyes to perspectives on success that I wasn’t seeing clearly beforehand.
  16. Linchpin: Are You Indispensable? by Seth Godin – A linchpin, as Seth describes it, is somebody in an organization who is indispensable, who cannot be replaced—her role is just far too unique and valuable.  And then he goes on to say, well, seriously folks, you need to be one of these people, you really do.  To not be one is economic and career suicide.  It is a book that reveals the truth about working for a boss, fitting in and following the rules.  The only way to create a good life for yourself is to become indispensable and stand out.
  17. The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho – More parable than novel, “The Alchemist” uses the story of young shepherd Santiago’s search for his personal legend as an allegory for everyman’s struggle to break from the comfortable confines of conformity and pursue his life dreams.  Along the way, of course, our young everyman is beset by numerous setbacks, testing his resolve and forcing him to become attuned to the Soul of the World in order to survive.  By paying attention to the details in the world around him, which serve as omens guiding him towards his goal, young Santiago becomes an alchemist in his own right, spinning unfavorable circumstances into riches.  I’ve read this tale a few times now, and it always provides priceless inspiration.
  18. 18 Things I Wish I Knew When I Was 18 by me – I know what you’re thinking.  How did an article I personally wrote change my life?  Well, it’s all about the soul searching that went into writing it.  I had to dig deep within myself and seriously contemplate all the important lessons I’ve learned over the last ten years.  In doing so, I noticed a few things that were out of place in my life, and I adjusted them.  I can already directly attribute a few of my recent successes to the actions I took after I wrote this article.

Can you think of a book or online article that changed your life?  Please share it with us in the comments.

This article was co-written by Marc and Angel and Shaun Boyd, and inspired by Shaun’s post, 10 Articles that Changed My Life.

Photo by: Éole

What Life Is All About

What Life Is All About

Once upon a time, there was a girl who could do anything in the world she wanted.  All she had to do was choose something and focus.  So one day she sat down in front of a blank canvas and began to paint.  Every stroke was more perfect than the next, slowly and gracefully converging to build a flawless masterpiece.  And when she eventually finished painting, she stared proudly at her work and smiled.

It was obvious to the clouds and the stars, who were always watching over her, that she had a gift.  She was an artist.  And she knew it too.  She felt it in every fiber of her being.  But a few moments after she finished painting, she got anxious and quickly stood up.  Because she realized that while she had the ability to do anything in the world she wanted to do, she was simply spending her time moving paint around on a piece of canvas.

She felt like there was so much more in the world to see and do – so many options.  And if she ultimately decided to do something else with her life, then all the time she spent painting would be a waste.  So she glanced at her masterpiece one last time, and walked out the door into the moonlight.  And as she walked, she thought, and then she walked some more.

While she was walking, she didn’t notice the clouds and the stars in the sky who were trying to signal her, because she was preoccupied with an important decision she had to make.  She had to choose one thing to do out of all the possibilities in the world.  Should she practice medicine?  Or design buildings?  Or teach children?  She was utterly stumped.

Twenty-five years later, the girl began to cry.  Because she realized she had been walking for so long, and that over the years she had become so enamored by everything that she could do – the endless array of possibilities – that she hadn’t done anything meaningful at all.  And she learned, at last, that life isn’t about possibility – anything is possible.  Life is about making a decision – deciding to do something that moves you.

So the girl, who was no longer a girl, purchased some canvas and paint from a local craft store, drove to a nearby park, and began to paint.  One stroke gracefully led into the next just as it had so many moons ago.  And as she smiled, she continued painting through the day and into the night.  Because she had finally made a decision.  And there was still some time left to revel in the magic that life is all about.

Photo by: James Jordan