A Little Ambition
Whenever I want something, and I mean want it so badly that I can see myself achieving it, I go into a whole different train of thought. There's a way to get from there to here. The first and most important of which is the realization that nothing comes to you without a lot of hard work. Success doesn't drive up to your house and honk the horn for you; you have to go out and earn it.
When I set my sights on a new goal I want to accomplish, the first thing that must be done is to keep the old ego in check. You cannot embark on any new journey with the attitude that you've already got what it takes to get to your destination. In reality, the only thing you have at the very beginning is the drive to get where you want to go. In most cases there is a lot of learning to be done first. And this is the most important facet to making any dream come true.
Education is something that I espouse in the most fervent manner. Without a foundation of knowledge on which to stand, no one can hope to take ownership of something that requires it. The older I get the more I become acutely aware that learning is an ongoing process which we will not complete until we take our last breath in this life. I don't care what it is, you must know how to do something in order to master it. Luck will only get you so far. Luck tends to run out when you don't spend the required amount of time learning how to make something work.
Undertaking something new is always a very exciting step to me. I have to want something to get myself in the mode I need to be in to begin a new journey. I spend a lot of time on research into a goal before I set it for myself. Sometimes in this phase I find that the outcome isn't what I want at all. Then I bail. More often than not, I find myself even more emboldened to continue the process. Discovery is an enlightening thing for me. I view it as a light that suddenly comes on in an otherwise darkened room. No more will you have to grope around, searching for what you're seeking, if you take the time to research the idea you've nurtured to this point.
People aren't built to accept the status quo. This much I've ascertained in my travel through life up to this stage. The saddest people to me are the ones who let life corral them into a frame of mind where they accept what they have without wanting more. I see a lot of folks who let their dreams fall by the wayside because they allow the business of just living to become the all and only in their lives. Life isn't easy; anyone who thinks it is is either disillusioned or just plain dim. You have to be in control of your faculties to make it in life. You've also got to realize that just living isn't the fulfillment of your destiny.
Spending time learning every possible angle of a new goal is vital to achieving it. After all, you wouldn't expect to pilot a plane unless you learned to fly first, would you? There is a lot to be done before you take the controls of anything new; before you can call it a skill. Sitting around and dreaming about getting to the next level will only give you so much satisfaction as well. If this is all you are willing to do, bitterness and regret will not be far behind.
Once I've spent the appropriate amount of time gaining the knowledge I need to set off in pursuit of a goal, the next thing I do is decide who or what I need to take that next step. This can be the most time consuming aspect of the trip. It isn't easy to get all your ducks in a row, so to speak. You must be willing to do whatever is necessary to reach the next phase in your plan. One should never compromise his or her values, ideals, or life in order to make things happen, but sometimes you've got to be willing to sacrifice a little security to do it. People in your life don't always want you to succeed when you take off on a new quest. In fact, and I found this out the hard way, oftentimes the people who are closest to you are the ones who will be the first to point out any shortcomings in your character which might prevent you from achieving your dreams. This is sad but oh so true. You've got to chalk it up to their inability to believe in your capabilities and then set them on the sidelines or you risk letting their doubts hold you back.
Getting your facts in order, the tools you need in place, and the judgments of others aside, you're ready to take off on the pursuit of your dreams. It won't be easy to get there but if you can master the processes of learning, organization, and deciding whose ideas are important and whose are not, then you've got all the resources you need to make your dreams become realities. To be completely frank, by this point you are more than halfway there.
Courage is the main ingredient you must possess to get to this point. If you don't believe in yourself you won't stand much of a chance at all. I find that courage comes through mastering your knowledge of something. Courage is a learned behavior. You either have it or you don't, and if you don't then may as well stay in the learning stage until you develop it. Like the Cowardly Lion in The Wizard of Oz, you will realize as you grow through the experience that you have all you need inside you to triumph.
Arriving at your destination is not always easy to recognize when it happens. I remember when I first decided to try and become a professional writer. I was operating a very successful web magazine called Web Digest Weekly. I was interviewing some very successful and popular people, but I didn't see what I was doing as anything more than indulging a hobby. When WDW was pulling in over one hundred thousand hits per month, and I had a waiting list for the Spotlight page, I still didn't see it as a big success. I saw myself as trying like hell to juggle a weekly e-zine with a full time job. I knew that I was lucky but I didn't see my success until the time came when I had to decide who needed the most priority, a bestselling author like Anne Rice or a Survivor winner like Ethan Zohn. That last step was the hardest for me to recognize because I was too close to the task to see it.
A little ambition, a lot of hard work, a touch of luck, and the belief that dreams can come true are the recipe for making your goals become realities. Getting things right, in the proper order, and learning from your mistakes must be sacrifices you're willing to make if you want to taste the fruits of your efforts. And making one dream come true is usually just a step toward becoming the person you want to be.
Don't sit around wishing, hoping, or praying to your god to get you on the right track. Get out and do what you must to start on your journey. Find your own path and ask for the guidance you'll need to make it to the culmination of your dreams. Believe in yourself and abilities. Know that you have it in you to see your dreams come true.
Know and believe.
If you don't do these two simple things, you won't get out of the starting gate.