“A dream doesn’t become reality through magic; it takes sweat, determination, and hard work”
– Colin Powell
Oddly one of the more difficult topics to consider, we all (hopefully) interact with reality on a daily basis. While we may exist in the same world, however, each of us perceives our surroundings and circumstances differently. It’s rather remarkable, really, that there are so many different ways to interpret the world and the lives we live. If life were purely an objective experience, this wouldn’t be the case. Indeed, reality is a very subjective experience.
I’ve written a great deal about pursuing your dreams and reaching for the sky. I honestly believe that many of us sell ourselves short in life. With that said, it’s also possible to lose touch with reality when setting goals and become grossly unrealistic.
Allow me an example: James is a good kid, a hard worker, and an “A’ student in school. He’s focused his attention and electives on anything related to acting and theater. While he’s heard the odds, there’s no doubt in his mind that he’s the next Hollywood superstar. Eventually, graduation comes, and James hits the real world. He spends years sending head shots and glitter (my apologies for the Arrested Development reference, it slipped out!) to every Producer/Writer/Director he can find an address for. Ultimately, nothing comes of his efforts except a request to cease and desist. In time, James becomes disenchanted and resentful. For a while, he can convince himself that the world doesn’t know what it’s missing. As time goes on, however, he comes to see himself as a failure of little value.
The story, of course, is generic. James isn’t anyone I know – and yet, he’s many people I’ve known over the years. James fancies himself the next Brad Pitt or George Clooney, but he doesn’t realize Mr. Pitt started out doing un-credited roles in small movies and, later, brief stints on daytime soap operas. Similarly, Mr. Clooney found his first role as an extra in a TV mini-series long before reaching fame and fortune. Given his unmistakable talent, however, James assumes he can simply skip over all of that busywork and jump to the part where he’s famous. For better or worse, life doesn’t work that way.
The point of my post is this: whatever you strive for, you need to root your goals in reality. When you make a decision to become someone of note, make sure you’re pursuing something for which there is an actual demand. In the case of poor James, the world is full of Hollywood hopefuls unwilling to do the hard work and pay their dues. If James were to find a role that actually needs to be filled, he wouldn’t end up disillusioned and full of self-hate.
We’re one month into a new year already. The days ahead hold so much potential for us all. I truly hope that this is the year you find your dreams within reach. So long as your goals are grounded in reality, I believe that’s a very real possibility.
Thank you for your time.