We all have dreams and aspirations; it is one of the things that defines us as humans. Yet there is a difference between dreaming and doing. Do you have dreams without truly believing they will one day become a reality? Or do you go after your dreams, attempting to make them a reality every single day?
Dreams can be huge like creating a multi-million dollar business empire. They can also be small like having a home where you raise your family and create an oasis of peace in the world. The size and the focus of the dream don’t matter, what matters is your commitment to realizing your dreams. If you commit to making your dreams a reality you might be surprised at what you can accomplish.
Consider this now famous dreamer
At one point there was an actor so down and out that he had to sell his beloved dog, a bull mastiff named Butkus, to a complete stranger for just $50. Waiting outside a liquor store he offered the dog up for sale, until finally a stranger agreed to buy him. He needed money to buy food for his family. He was 29 years old with little prospects of being a featured actor and yet he had a dream of being a star.
Soon after he saw a boxing match that gave him an idea for a screenplay. The Ali-Wepner fight was expected to be a quick affair. Ali was the world champ and a sure winner. But, Chuck Wepner kept fighting and his indomitable spirit kept him in the ring for 10 rounds. He eventually lost on points, but the underdog fighter gave this underdog actor an idea for a screenplay. He wrote that screenplay in just 20 hours over the course of 3 days.
He put the screenplay out for sale and was offered $125,000 for it, but ended up turning the offer down because he had one caveat – he was going to be the star in the movie. The buyers wanted a real star though and declined. Over time they came back with larger offers, up to $325,000 but each time they were rejected. He dreamt of being a star and would not accept an offer that did not include him in the lead role. Eventually the buyers agreed and bought the screenplay for $35,000 with the agreement that this dreaming writer/actor would have the starring role. That movie was Rocky and that dreamer was Sylvester Stallone.
Holding on to Your Dreams
At any point Sly Stallone could have given up. In prior years he accepted questionable roles. At one point he lived in the New York City Port Authority bus station for three weeks after being evicted from his apartment. Surely that was the time to give up on his dreams. Or when he was offered $125,000 for the Rocky screenplay, surely that was the time to cash in and give up on his dream of acting. This was 1976 and $125,000 was a considerable amount of cash. The final offer of $325,000 would put him in a situation where money no longer would have been a worry. He obviously had a talent for writing and could have easily made a living off the back of that. But he had a dream and was determined to make that dream a reality. How many of you would give up an offer of $325,000 to continue pursuing your dream?
Other Famous Dreamers
There are other famous dreamers who pursued their dreams with persistence and dedication, even though they were constantly discouraged and were seemingly not meant for success.
Twyla Tharp graduated from college in 1963 with a degree in Art History and a dream of becoming a dancer. Though she was often criticized about her body type and dance style she struck out in 1965 and created her own dance troupe. For the next 5 years she and her troupe practiced relentlessly every day. They danced for free. 5 years Twyla maintained her dream through criticism and with no pay. Today she is an internationally known dancer and choreographer. She has worked on Broadway, in film and television and has won numerous awards including 3 Emmy’s, a Director’s Guild of America Award, a Tony award and a National Medal of Arts, presented by President George W. Bush in a ceremony at the White House. Could you maintain your dream for 5 years while facing constant criticism and no pay?
Amy Tan, author of The Joy Luck Club, started her career selling business writing and managing. When she looked to her partner to get more writing experience she was told to concentrate on management and selling because her writing was “horrible stuff”. When she decided to strike out on her own she was told “You’ll never make a dime writing”. And yet, this dreaming writer went on to first create a successful freelance technical writing business and later to become a best selling author. Have you ever given up on a dream because someone else told you it was impossible?
While I haven’t become famous (yet) I too had a dream that I pursued for over 5 years and finally made a reality last year. Was it always easy, heck no. Did I face periods of self doubt and depression that I would succeed? Yes, many times. And yet I continued to dream my little dream and pushed on in small steps until one day there it was, the culmination of my dream. You see, a dream is only something that you haven’t yet made real.
My dream was two fold. Create a portable income and move to Thailand. When I was working 70-80 hours a week people told me I was crazy. They told me to give up because it wasn’t possible to make money online. And yet I didn’t give up. I kept pursuing my dream. Small step after small step until finally I arrived at freedom and later in Thailand.
I can’t guarantee that even with consistent effort and persistence that you will ever make your dream a reality. But I can guarantee that if you take no action at all your dream will always remain just a dream living in your own mind. Walt Disney, perhaps one of the most famous dreamers once said “If you can dream it, you can do it…All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them”. It is telling to note that even Walt went through periods of failures and setbacks, but he continued moving forward. In 1971, even 5 years after his death Walt’s greatest dream and legacy became reality when Walt Disney World was officially opened.
Now let me ask you this – What is your dream and what are you doing to make it a reality?