No fluff. No frills. No filler.
Here are 12 fundamental steps for turning the dreams and ideas in your mind into realities in your life.
We all have our own life to pursue,
our own kind of dream to be weaving.
And we all have some power to make wishes come true,
as long as we keep believing.
– Louisa May Alcott
Step #1 – Lose the negative attitude. Think positively.
Negative thinking creates negative results. Positive thinking creates positive results. Period.
Every one of the other suggestions below are irrelevant if your mind is stuck in the gutter. Positive thinking is at the forefront of every great success story. The mind must believe it can do something before it is capable of actually doing it. For some practical positive thinking guidance I recommend reading The Power of Positive Thinking.
Step #2 – Figure out what you really want out of life.
You’ll be running on a hamster wheel forever if you never decide where you want to go. Figure out what’s meaningful to you so you can be who you were born to be.
Some of us were born to be musicians – to communicate intricate thoughts and rousing feelings with the strings of a guitar. Some of us were born to be poets – to touch people’s hearts with exquisite prose. Some of us were born to be entrepreneurs – to create growth and opportunity where others saw rubbish. And still, some of us were born to be or do whatever it is, specifically, that moves you.
Don’t waste your life fulfilling someone else’s dreams and desires. You must follow your intuition and make a decision.
Step #3 – Surround yourself with great people.
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. Tribes by Seth Godin is a great read on this topic.
Step #4 – Work on it for real.
The harder you work the luckier you will become. Stop waiting around for things to work out. If you keep doing what you’re doing, you’ll keep getting what you’re getting.
While many of us decide at some point during the course of our lives that we want to answer our calling, only an astute few of us actually work on it. By “working on it,” I mean truly devoting oneself to the end result. The rest of us never act on our decision. Or, at best, we pretend to act on it by putting forth an uninspired, half-assed effort.
Remember, life is not easy, especially when you plan on achieving something worthwhile. Achieving your dreams can be a lot of work. Be ready for it.
Step #5 – Don’t make life harder than it needs to be.
Life is challenging enough without you senselessly complicating the simple.
As Oscar Wilde once said, “Life is not complex. We are complex. Life is simple, and the simple thing is the right thing.”
Read our article 60 Ways To Make Life Simple Again for good a reminder.
Step #6 – Exploit the resources you do have access to.
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.
Step #7 – Focus on things you can change.
Some forces are out of your control. The best thing you can do is do the best with what’s in front of you with the resources you do have access to.
Wasting your time, talent and emotional energy on things that are beyond your control is a recipe for frustration, misery and stagnation. Invest your energy in the things you can change.
Step #8 – Don’t avoid things you don’t understand.
Right now there’s a lot you don’t know. No matter how smart you are or how much you learn there will always be more to learn. Hiding from what you don’t know will bury you right beside your dreams.
So embrace the things you don’t understand and study them. Achieving this understanding is what living your life is all about.
Step #9 – Ignore negative naysayers.
When you receive negative feedback, remember, it doesn’t matter how many people don’t get it, it matters how many do.
Still, no matter how much progress you make there will always be the people who insist that whatever you’re trying to do is impossible. Or they may incessantly suggest that the idea or dream as a whole is utterly ridiculous because nobody really cares.
When you come across these people, don’t try to reason with them. Instead, forget that they exist. They will only waste your time and energy.
Step #10 – Take good care of your body and your brain.
Your body is the greatest tool you’ll ever own. It impacts every step you take and every move you make. You won’t get anything done without it.
And don’t forget that your brain is part of your body too. The human brain only accounts for roughly 2% of the total mass of the human body, yet it consumes over 20% of the oxygen and nutrients the human body intakes.
So nourish your body, exercise it and rest it appropriately. Read The 4-Hour Body.
Step #11 – Work on your dreams when you first awake.
The mornings are a fresh start, peaceful and free of random mid-day distractions. If you get the things done that are the most important to you first thing in the morning, it puts you in a better place, emotionally and creatively, for the remainder of the day.
So put your dreams first. Even if you only have time to work on them for 30 minutes each morning, do it. It truly makes all the difference in the world. Each day, no matter what else happens, you will have done something to make your dreams come true.
Step #12 – Enjoy the pain of your greatest challenge.
Lots of people have achieved their dreams or conquered formerly impossible feats and continue to enjoy the possibilities of new challenges. These people will all tell you there’s nothing more gratifying than the thrill of your greatest challenge – making your dreams a reality. The inherent bruises and pains along the way are simply mile markers on your trip to the finish line.
And when you finally do finish, you may actually find yourself missing the daily grind. Ultimately, you’ll realize that pleasure and pain can be one and the same.
As I’ve said before, if there was ever a moment to follow your heart and do something that matters to you, that moment is now. Nothing ever gets done by reading an article about doing it. You’ve got to put in the effort and take action.
So go for it! Now! Make yourself proud.
Photo by: Per Ola Wiberg