I know something very important about you.
You have a dream.
I don’t know what your dream is, but here’s what I do know–your dream is very real, and it is the most important thing that you own. In fact, you will never own anything in your life that is more important than your dream. You didn’t yesterday, you don’t today, you won’t tomorrow, and you never will any day that you’re above ground and breathing.
That’s why what you’re about to read is the most important thing that you’ve read on this blog to date. Even though I really do believe this, there is no doubt that some of you will ignore what you’re about to read.
I can promise you that doing so would be the biggest mistake of your life.
Too many people have made this mistake of ignoring their dream, and they will continue to do so everyday until the day that they die. If you are one of these people, today is your wake-up call.
My hope is that after reading this, you will fight for your dreams with a ferocity that you didn’t know existed. Because without your dreams, it is safe to say that you are nothing.
The Importance of the Dream
So, what’s the big deal about your dreams? It’s simple, really.
Your dream is the difference between living an ordinary life and living an extraordinary life.
That is a huge deal, unless living an ordinary life is good enough for you. And if it is, then I need to ask you something: what in the hell is wrong with you?
You get one shot at this life, and I can tell you that you are not here to live an ordinary, ho-hum, average life of barely surviving until you die.
You are here for more. You are here to experience your dreams.
You are here to happily perform meaningful work for an amazing company, with an inspiring boss, and fantastic coworkers.
You are here to be in a healthy relationship where you love your partner as much as your partner loves you.
You are here to be the first person in your family to get your college degree.
You are here to live a house with a big backyard for your kids to play in, instead of your cramped 2-bedroom apartment.
You are here to have a healthy body that is 100% pain-free.
You are here to never have to worry about money ever again for as long as you live.
Maybe some of the above are your dreams, maybe you have different ones to add to the list. Either way, let me ask you this:
Are your dreams worth fighting for?
If you answered “no” or “I don’t know,” then this is where we need to begin. Much more important than your dreams is your belief that you can (or cannot) make these dreams a reality.
You should know that you’re capable of anything that you put your mind to. No, that is not some cheesy, played-out motivational cliché–that statement is real as the oxygen you are breathing right now. The fact that the dream is in your mind should be all of the proof that you will ever need to know that your dream can be yours.
But it can be yours only if you’re willing to fight for it.
So, are you?
This is where we have a very real problem. When it comes to our dreams, something happened to us along the way. We lost our fight, we lost our drive, we lost our fire–and I think I know why.
We started to believe in the wrong things, and even worse, we started to believe in the wrong people.
You actually know some of these wrong people. In fact, you might even love them or be in love with them. Either way, it doesn’t matter.
Your dream is your most prized possession and no one has any right to it, but you. Unfortunately, many of us allow the wrong people to visit the private place in our minds where our dream resides. Worse, we allow the wrong people to tarnish our dreams with their faulty beliefs as they try to mold our beliefs to match theirs.
This is insanity.
Your dream needs to be under constant protection–seriously, put up razor-wire and a huge KEEP OUT sign at the door of your mind, if that works for you. But you must do something to protect yourself and your dreams from the beliefs of others. Like I said, this is the difference between an ordinary life and an extraordinary one, so saying that it’s a “huge deal” would be the understatement of the decade.
Everything shifted in my life when I stopped allowing anyone else besides me to say what was possible for me. I felt a strange sense of empowerment at the moment where I chose to stop automatically accepting the beliefs of others. I am a proud non-believer, and I now always think twice before choosing to accept the following three beliefs as unquestioned fact.
For the most part, I’m sure that many of us would say that our loved ones are well-meaning.
They tell us to get a “real job” when we try to start the business of our dreams. They tell us that losing weight isn’t possible for us because bad genes run in the family. They tell us to settle for a person that we’re “not that into” because we’re getting older and we need to settle down and get married before it’s too late. They tell us to stay in a soul-destroying job because there’s nothing better for us out there in the job market.
Seriously, why do we call this type of behavior “well-meaning”? Advice from anyone (especially our loved ones) that would drive us in the opposite direction of our dreams isn’t well-meaning, it’s dangerous.
Remember, our dreams belong to us. They don’t belong to our spouse, our parents, our kids, or our friends–you don’t have to justify your dream to anyone. If your loved one doesn’t get your dream and isn’t fully on-board with it for any reason, put up the KEEP OUT sign at the door of your dreams and get to work anyway.
They might keep chirping in your ear that you’re wasting your time and that you should quit. They may say that you’re not being realistic. They may say that you can’t do it.
One of my buddies who is in upper-30′s has decided that he wants to enroll into college and finally pursue his Bachelor’s degree, but his wife tried to talk him out of it.
She says that he’s too old. She says that it will be too hard for him to compete with 20 year olds when he has been out of school for so long. She says that he already has a good job and doesn’t need a degree. The ship has already sailed according to her. He missed his shot at being a college graduate, and he needs to accept it.
Just when he was about to become a believer in her message, I pleaded with him to honor his dream and live with me as a non-believer.
So, I got in his face a little bit.
“You think that you’re too old? Think about it–four years from now, you’re going to be 41 years old anyway. Why not be 41 years old with a degree? If you do nothing, 4 years from now, you’ll wish that you started today. Make it happen, dammit!”
After my brief pep-talk, he gave it a lot of thought, talked to his wife, and they decided that he should start school this January–and he’s going to do exactly that.
Did you notice in the previous sentence it said “they decided”? Once his wife saw his passion and his dedication to be the first college graduate in his family, she became inspired by how seriously he was taking his education and she didn’t stand in the way of him enrolling, like she had in the past.
According to my friend, his wife still thinks that he’ll eventually drop out, but it doesn’t matter. He made a point from now on to protect his dream of being his family’s first college graduate at all costs, regardless of any naysaying that he’ll likely hear come January.
The dream is too big. For him, the realization of this dream is the difference between an ordinary life and an exceptional one.
The beliefs of his loved ones do not define him.
He is a non-believer, and if you choose to honor your dream always, you can be too.
I have experienced quite a bit of failure in my life. There was a time that my failures messed with me a lot.
I tried to start a business with a friend where we would rent a bus and drive people from Los Angeles to Las Vegas to gamble all day, then drive back. Isn’t that an amazing idea? Who wouldn’t want to ride in an old beaten-down school bus with no air conditioning for 4 hours in triple-digit heat to gamble for 3 hours in Vegas before they all had to get back into that same shitty school bus and ride all the way back to LA for 4 more hours in the same triple-digit heat? Wouldn’t you pay $100 for that amazing experience? Here’s what I, and every other sane human being, thought of my brilliant bus idea: FAIL.
I tried to start a news website that only had positive news stories from all over the world. Even though the idea was infinitely better than the bus idea, the result was still sadly the same: FAIL.
I tried to be the next big thing in Hollywood as a model, actor, and TV host. And since I was competing with flawless and talented dudes who were 10 years younger than me, the result was fairly predictable. Do want to take a guess? Here’s a hint: FAIL.
Then it was time to start Cubepiphany.
This time it was different. I was starting this for all of the right reasons. It wasn’t about being the cool kid or turning a profit, I sincerely wanted to change the world by making it a happier place for millions of people.
But every time that I thought about starting, all I could think of was that annoying four-letter word from my past.
Worse than that? I had quite a few people in my life who were willing to remind me of my past failures in case I ever forgot about them.
I was a believer in my failures.
Then I read this post on one of my favorite blogs, Get Busy Living, and I learned to become a non-believer in the past.
If JK Rowling believed in the past, she would have given up when 12 publishers rejected her Harry Potter manuscript.
If Walt Disney believed in the past, he would have given up on building Disney World after he was rejected for financing 302 times.
If Michael Jordan believed in the past, he would have quit after he was cut from his high school basketball team.
They changed the world based on their non-belief in the past. It was then that I realized that maybe I have the power to do the exact same thing.
So, I kept the dream of launching Cubepiphany safe and only shared it with my tightest inner circle, and then I got to work.
The fact that you’re reading this is proof that my dream is alive and well.
My failures cannot define me.
I am a non-believer in the past.
I had a teacher in elementary school tell me and my parents that because I had a slight speech impediment as a kid, that I had a “learning disability” and that schoolwork would always be a struggle for me.
I had a college professor give me a “D” on a presentation that I spent weeks practicing and rehearsing. His feedback was that I didn’t possess the fundamental skills to ever become an effective presenter.
I recently tried to submit a guest post to a few of the A-list blogging folks, and I got my post rejected each time. On a very positive note, most everyone was very nice and polite about it, and it was a great learning experience. But on a less positive note, I’d be lying if I didn’t start to second guess my writing chops a little bit.
Each time these things happened, I initially believed the experts when it came to my worth as a person.
Thank goodness my dream spoke to me louder than those so-called experts did. I decided to fight for my dream and reject the ordinary life that I was waiting for me if I chose to believe them all.
Here’s what I did instead.
The experts used my childhood speech impediment as a convenient excuse to label me as learning disabled. Instead, I went to speech therapy 5 days a week, and worked my ass off each day until I came home crying and wanting to quit. But my dream was stronger than my pain. I now speak flawlessly and I graduated from an excellent private college, and it’s all because I didn’t believe in the expert who said that neither of these things would ever happen for me.
The experts said that I lacked the fundamental skills to present effectively, so instead of accepting it, I asked my professor to specifically tell me what were the presentation skills that I was lacking. I listened, I practiced, and weeks later when it was time for the final presentation, I crushed it. He gave me an “A” and an huge apology for saying that I would never be an effective presenter. Ironically, had I believed in him, there’s no way that I would have found my dream profession as a corporate trainer.
The experts at the A-List blogging sites let me know that my writing style wouldn’t vibe with their audience. Instead of believing that I couldn’t write worth a damn, I decided to stop shopping the guest post to other blogs and I decided to share the consistently rejected guest post here on Cubepiphany, and it was very well received.
Here’s my big takeaway: just because they were experts didn’t mean that they were right.
Probably the best example that I have seen in recent memory of the so-called experts getting it wrong, comes from a man named Arthur.
In order to know what I’m talking about, please take 5 minutes right now and watch this video.
Please trust that I wouldn’t put it on this page if it wasn’t absolutely amazing. In fact, this video has the power to change your life. It will be the best 5 minutes that you spend all week, trust me on this. I saw this video for the first time two days ago, and it caused me to cry like a baby in the middle of an airport within seconds of watching it. If you are not moved by this video, then you’re probably not a human being.
Seeing Arthur fight for his dream like a boss and reject the so-called experts was an incredibly inspirational moment for me. He is a true non-believer, and if I wasn’t a non-believer before watching that video, I sure as hell am one now.
The “wisdom” of experts cannot define me.
I am a non-believer of experts.
The Worst Mistake of All
I said earlier that failing to heed to words in this post would be the worst mistake of your life. Here’s why.
Doing so will lead you to a life of regret. Unlike the Pain of Never Again, there’s no positive spin here–the Pain of Regret is the worst type of pain imaginable.
Everyone dies, but not everyone truly lives.” –Sachs William Wallace
The Pain of Regret is devastating and it can destroy your life from the inside out.
What if you could have left your dysfunctional and abusive marriage, but you believed your friends who told you that there is no one else out there who would be willing to love a divorced mom with two kids?
What if you could have started your lifestyle change to get yourself back in shape, but you believed so deeply in your past failures at weight loss that you decided to quit before you even started?
What if you could have gotten your Bachelor’s degree, but you believed your wife that you’re too old to do it?
What if you could have left your horrendous job that is causing you numerous sleepless nights, but you believed the experts who told you that you will never find another job in this economy?
What if you dismissed your true desires and dreams, and you didn’t realize it until you’ve already lost decades off of your life that you will never get back?
Those are the wrong questions to ask. You should ask this one instead.
What if you have believed in the wrong things and the wrong people all along?
Your dream is sacred, and it should be protected like you’ve never protected anything before in your life. Failing to do this will only reward you with a life of complacency and a life of just being ordinary. You know that you deserve more than that.
Here are the only two choices you have:
Give up on your dream/Fight for your dream.
Make no mistake, this is your toughest fight yet, and I hope that you’re up for it.
You’re on the slash, and it’s time to decide.
Are you going to choose a path where you allow the beliefs of other people to control your shot at having the life of your dreams?
Or as a non-believer, will you choose to believe the only person who you should have believed in from the very beginning?
Who am I talking about, you ask?
I think that you know.