Far too often people find reasons to put limits on their dreams. Studies show this happens particularly often after we have encountered a failure (or two, or three, or more…). Yet what history and psychology also tell us is that this really is the silliest thing we can do for ourselves.
First, let’s clarify that there are some big differences between the kind of dreaming done by people like Michael Jordan and the dreaming done by characters in Disney movies.
Now don’t get me wrong – I love Disney movies, and I also think they can be a great source of inspiration from time to time. However, when it comes to us achieving our dreams, wishing upon a star won’t do anything (at least in my experience – I have tried!), fairy god-mothers do not exist, and it’s going to take much longer than two hours to reach your happily-ever-after ending.
That being said, there is something Disney movies teach us that far too many people lack, and that is the concept of hope and belief.
Going back to my past article on optimism (link), I’ve never met a single person who craved mediocrity. We always want the newest smartphone, the biggest t.v., and the closest tickets for the concert or football game.
Yet when it comes to achieving our dreams, we hesitate to take the steps necessary to turn our dreams into reality. We are sometimes more eager to upgrade our possessions than we are to upgrade our selves! Fortunately, this something all of us can improve on. Here are three common factors between the outstanding musicians, athletes, scientists, etc. we all admire that allowed them to achieve their greatness.
1. Believe that your dream is possible.
This can be the biggest and scariest step. However, there are some key points that we can keep in mind to make it seem less daunting.
Imagine you had to drive your car from LA all the way to New York, in the dark, on unlit backroads. Could you do that? The answer is yes – YOU CAN! It would take you a while, and you may make some wrong turns and get off track here and there, but eventually, anyone could find their way to New York as long as they were persistent.
We travel a very similar path as we pursue our dreams. There is a very long way to go, and we can only see what is immediately in front of us. We get off track. We get lost and wonder if we are ever going to actually reach our destination.
But rest assured – though you may not see it at the moment, the road to the promised land exists and persistence will get you there!
2. Take advice from people who have been where you’re going.
Quite simply – ask for help. If you want to make all-county or all-state, ask some of the better players in your area/state how they did it. Take private lessons with a good instructor if you can. If you’re auditioning for a particular college, get in touch with some players and teachers there for advice. With all the technology and social media available to us today, this can be done pretty easily, even if you don't have a large network right now.
3. Don’t get discouraged.
Last but certainly not least, you have to realize that “failure” is not the opposite of long-term success but an essential part of it. If you are challenging yourself, you are often going to come out of a competition or audition short-handed, and that’s completely OK. But it’s not OK to sulk over it for too long. If I feel slighted by an audition result, I give myself the remainder of that day to be a little upset about it, but the next day it’s right back to business. This mindset is in the very foundation of sports psychology and used by all of the best athletes in the world (did you see how the Chicago Cubs and Cleveland Cavaliers came back to win world championships?!?).
And if you ever do think about quitting because you feel frequent failure has rendered you incapable of becoming successful…please remember that you are in good company.
Michael Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team
Walt Disney was fired from a newspaper because he “lacked imagination”
Oprah was told she was not fit for television
The Beatles were told their sound was going out of style
Usain Bolt, the fastest Olympic sprinter ever, was eliminated in the first round of his first Olympic event
Albert Einstein’s parents and teachers thought he was mentally handicapped
Winston Churchill lost every political election prior to becoming Prime Minister at age 62
Abraham Lincoln started numerous businesses that failed
Harrison Ford was told he didn’t have what it took to be a Hollywood star
Dr. Seuss had 27 different publishers reject his first book
Igor Stravinsky was run out of town by a riot after the premier of “Rite of Spring”
Now get off the web and make some magic happen today!