Your Dreams Better Scare You
We all have dreams, but what is a worthwhile dream? One you know you can do someday. That’s right, someday. However, it is also one you can start working on right now. It is one that fits with your personality, your natural abilities, and a mix of things that downright scare you. Your dream will make you work for it. You will mess things up learning how to do it. People will tell you how crazy you are and criticize you.
Are you ready to get out of your comfort zone and realize your dream knowing all that? Are you scared? You better be.
So what goes into realizing a dream?
- A strong desire to accomplish the dream
- The willingness to get training and have mentors
- The ability to take criticism and failure in stride
- Enjoying the journey on the way to completion
A Strong Desire
Every dream needs enough desire within you to reach the final goal. If the desire is not strong enough, your dream will flounder when you hit any hard point.
The desire needs to be defined. Write out what your dream is. It may be even a few paragraphs long on the first draft as you let your mind go with it. Now, take that and refine it until you can state in a sentence or two what exactly it is you want to accomplish. There is no need for how or why or when or where at this point. You just want WHAT the dream is, its ultimate goal.
Once it is in fine detail, you know where to aim everything you do and figure out how to fit it into your life.
For example, I love writing. One of my goals is to write and publish a book. I actually do have book length stories already written, but nothing anywhere near ready for publishing. Just like a book, your dream is going to need an outline of what will be accomplished along the way. The difference is the dream outline will be a list of things you need to do or acquire to reach the final desire.
This list will look daunting. It will scare you. It will test whether your desire is strong enough.
Training and Mentors
Do not expect to reach your dream without help. You will need honest people not only to teach you skills you need, but also to hone other skills. Your mentors should also tell you when you messed up. You better learn how to have thick skin from the start, because a good mentor will make sure you are not expecting an easy dream. You will need to be able to bend and flex to make your dream possible, otherwise what a good mentor is telling you could wind up breaking you.
In the process of becoming a writer, I took English classes I thoroughly hated in order to improve my writing. Taking a grammar class was worth it, but it wasn’t a class I’d write home about. Watching a teacher rip apart my writing at a creative writing club meeting because he just did not understand what I wrote was not fun. I learned that what I wrote and what the reader took from it could be very different. You’ll have to work hard to master the hard lessons. Learn from the attempts that don’t make the cut.
The good things about training and mentors is you will find the ones that will tear your work apart, but then they will explain in detail why they did. This will lead you on the journey of fine tuning your skills. Not long ago, I put up a very rough, not so great, three-paragraph start of a novel as an example of character and conflict in an inspirational writing class. Several students noted it could use some cleaning up, but did not go into detail about it. However, the creator of the class took my junky writing and so thoroughly dissected it that it became three sentences. He explained where I had the writer invading, too much repetition and useless fluff. I took this editing overhaul and ran with it. I had just gotten my money’s worth already out of the course by having Jerry Jenkins give me a free edit, much like the first page edits he does in his “thick skin” seminars.
I could have chosen to get upset with the teachers telling me where I had messed up. I could have let it be a negative thing. If I had done that, however, it would have deflated the tires in my dream mobile. I would have wound up going nowhere.
I’ve been writing for years, but if it was not for continued training, truthful criticism, and worthwhile editors, I’d have great stories without the needed polish. You have to be willing to strive for your goals and complete plenty of rework as you learn. If your dream is worth it, you will keep on buffing until it shines.
Criticism and Failure
I touched on this with the trainers and mentors. They will be your biggest critics. However, there are plenty of other critics out there.
The ones that can deflate a dream in a heartbeat are usually our closest family and friends. They will think you are crazy. They will bring up every other failure you had. Most of them probably do this to save you from another failure. However, fear of failure will get you nowhere. We learn from our mistakes. Do not let well-meaning people you really love hold you back.
Now, the critic to utterly avoid is the one that would rather not see you succeed at anything. That person doesn’t have the guts to go for their dream, so they don’t feel anyone else should, either. Misery loves company, so run when it comes around. Go find the critics that push you to do better and figure out your dream.
What would have happened if Thomas Edison had given up on try 999 of making a light bulb? Someone else may have invented it, and Edison would be unknown to most. I’m not sure how many tries it took, but it was a lot. When asked, “Isn't it a shame that with the tremendous amount of work you have done you haven't been able to get any results?” His response held a positive note. “Results! Why, man, I have gotten lots of results! I know several thousand things that won't work!” (see http://edison.rutgers.edu/newsletter9.html#4)
Your dream has to be bigger than all this scary criticism and failure. Let your dream scare you into accomplishing it and showing the naysayers what real dreamers can do.
Enjoy the Journey
The journey to the dream will have many bumps and even some detours on the way. It will also be fun when it truly clicks with your personality and natural abilities. Those will tie in with all the talents and tools you will have to learn how to use.
I can spin a great story, but can I write it so it sucks you into the story? Do I know how to make you forget a writer had to spend hours or longer to produce what you are reading? Can I skillfully use the tool of the written language to portray what I want you to see?
It’s been a long journey, but a worthwhile one. The end has not been reached, but many goals to get me to the end have occurred. Every one of them has brought inspiring people into my life to help with the season I was in. All of them have taught me something about myself, how strong my desire really is, and how to gain and hone skills I needed.
Many times I’ve wanted to give up due to various life obstacles. In the end, I keep writing. It happens in journals, blogs, social media, expanding ideas out of study notes, in stories, and articles, like this one. The more I write, the more I want to keep going, and the more I want to reach the final dream of publishing a book. I bet when I hit that dream, it will grow into, “Let’s write another one!” I am sure your dreams will do the same.
Hold On To Your Dream
Never let go of the big, scary dream, even if some days you feel like it is dragging you through the mud of life. Let it inspire you when you aren’t feeling so great on the inside and people are commenting about the outside being lackluster. Let all the hard times really count. Let them make the dream be all the more worthwhile to achieve.
Never give up. Never surrender. It is your dream and it is very much a part of who you are. Go for it!
About the Author
Althea "Briseadh" Damgaard
Althea joined Gaiscioch back in October of 2009 and has been here ever since with only a few month hiatus between Warhammer and Rift. As soon as she knew they were in Rift, she jumped ship to Faeblight and has followed them onward through every chapter since with a few side games thrown in for spice.
She has been an avid player of RPG style games since 1980 when she first played Dungeons and Dragons. Since then she has created her own tabletop gaming world used with various rule sets as D&D progressed. Once she could get online she played MUDs. Her MMO days started with Everquest and have moved through over a dozen games with some lasting only a month's time in her life and others going for years. She has tested several games from the perspective of a disabled gamer with hand issues due to her multiple sclerosis.
When not writing about or playing games, she can be found writing novels, reading and doing various art projects. She also writes items based on her faith and is working on publishing a novel. She also does editing for a gaming developer.