When you woke up this morning did you ever stop to ask yourself why are you doing what you are doing?
Did you ever take a second to ask yourself “What is your purpose?”
Did you even take a moment to ask yourself for how long have you been following the same morning and daily routine?
Has it been one year, two years or maybe it’s been the last ten years?
How would you feel if your daily routine remained the same for the next ten years?
Would you be happy with that?
Did you ever wonder to yourself if there is something in your life you should be doing that you are not?
In others words, are you passionate about how you are living your life and what you are doing with your life whether that be in your career, your personal life, your social life etc.
We can both create an exhaustive lists of questions to which we may never find the answers, however, there is one question I believe everyone should ask themselves:
“What is the number one reason why people fail to achieve their dreams and or goals?”
Why is it important to ask yourself this question?
Well, it’s important because finding the answer to this question may explain why so many of us wake up everyday wanting more out of life but not knowing what that is and how to find it. It’s this desire for wanting more out of our lives but not knowing where to begin that keeps us going back to the same routine every day, for weeks, months, years, decades and sadly, for many of us, our entire lives.
I am sure you have read and heard many experts and people in general share their thoughts on what they think are the reason(s) why so many people fail to achieve their dreams and goals.
In fact, if you Google that question there are no shortage of lists giving numerous reasons why people fail to achieve their dreams and goals. Although many of us can identify with some, if not all of the reasons given, they still come in second to what is truly the number one reason why people fail to achieve their dreams and goals.
Before I share with you what this reason is, let me share with you what lead me to even think of such a question.
I believe you can learn something from anyone and it doesn’t matter whether they have a post-doctorate degree or if they are a high school drop-out; whether they are rich or poor; with home or homeless and so on. Learning can come from anywhere and anyone.
I remember one day walking into my home and being surprised that there were no lights in my apartment building. This was a strange occurrence to me given that I was living in a major North American city and could not recall a time when I came home to no electricity. It was probably the reason why I was so unprepared. I had no flashlight or even candles, not that I was going to light any candles.
It was in that moment I asked myself the question: how did we end up having light in our homes?
I really wanted to know!
I guess as the saying goes, you never know what you have until it goes missing.
The next week I spent time researching light. I learned that a man called Thomas Edison was credited for inventing the first practical long lasting light bulb. I was pleasantly surprised when, not too long after, a friend gave me as a gift the biography of Thomas Edison (The Wizard of Menlo Park).
I felt like this was a sign that I had to do more reading on this very interesting man and his inventions that changed the world.
Did you know that Thomas Edison never went to high school?
In fact, he never even finished junior high school.
Yet the impetus behind his success could be traced back to his school teacher who never thought he was smart enough. His teacher called him addled or mentally confused because of his hyper activeness and constant questioning.
Thomas Edison was seven years at the time.
Imagine what you would do and how you would feel if your kid was seen as a failure at the very young age of seven.
Once his mom found out she removed him from school and home schooled him herself. The rest is history.
In addition to the light bulb he went on to invent the phonograph, a device used to capture sound and is the reason why you can listen to recorded music today. He also invented a motion picture camera; this plus the invention of the phonograph is where cinema’s sight and sound was born.
Not bad for a kid who was considered destined to be a failure by the expert of that time – his teacher.
Another person who had every reason to give up on life was the great American woman Wilma Rudolph. Her parents were told by the doctors, after she was infected with polio at the age of four, that she would never be able to walk again.
On her left leg, which had become twisted, she wore a brace; she wore this until she was nine. Despite the prognosis, she and her family traveled regularly from Clarksville to a hospital in Nashville Tennessee for treatments. This was probably around a two hour trip one way; this was in the 1940s and her treatments lasted until 1953.
Despite the doctors saying she would never walk, Wilma went on to play basketball for her high school team.
It gets even better.
Around that time, she was spotted by Edward Stanley Temple, the Track and Field coach at Nashville State University and Head Coach of the U.S. Olympic Women’s Track and Field team.
The rest is history.
Wilma Rudolph went on to win a bronze Olympic medal at the 1956 Melbourne Games in the 4 x 100 relay. This was only the beginning because from that achievement she went on to win the 100, 200 and 4 x 100m relay at the 1960 Summer Olympic Games in Rome.
In 1960 she was considered the fastest woman in the world.
She retired from track competition at the age of 22.
As great as her Olympic victories were, her greatest accomplishment was how she re-wrote a future – a future which the great medical experts at the time said would not include walking far less running. Instead, she when on to create the future she wanted: one that included walking, running, winning Olympic medals and one that culminated with her being called the fastest woman in the world during her time.
Not bad for a little girl who wasn’t supposed to ever walk.
After reading about these two incredible people and their stories there was only one question I could ask myself: What is my excuse for not accomplishing any of my dreams or goals?
I also ask you too: what excuse(s) are you using to explain why you have not achieved your dreams or goals?
I am not saying that some excuses aren’t legitimate, but stop and ask yourself these two questions:
- Would you rather be in the position of Thomas Edison with little education, rejected from school and almost deaf in both ears while pursuing your dreams and goals or would you prefer to deal with your current challenges instead, while pursuing your dreams and goals?
- Would you rather be in the position of Wilma Rudolph being confined for many years to wearing a brace and being told you would never walk while pursuing your dreams and goals or would you prefer to deal with your current challenges instead, while pursuing your dreams and goals?
Thomas Edison didn’t use his lack of primary school education or his deafness and Wilma Rudolph didn’t use her polio infection and inability to walk at a young age as reasons why they could not achieve their dreams. Therefore, if these two individuals didn’t use their challenges as excuses for why they shouldn’t take action towards achieving their dreams then why should you?
That’s right, why should you?
Let’s go back to that Google search I told you I did regarding the top reasons why people fail to achieve their dreams and goals. Here is what I found:
- Fear of failure
- Fear of success
- Lack of self belief and or self doubt
- Lack of will power
- Lack of focus or vision
- Not setting goals
- Lack of commitment
- Analysis paralysis
- Failing to plan
- Having too many goals
Like is said earlier on, I am sure most of us can identify with at least one or even all of these reasons. That being said, despite all of these being some very good reasons they do not include the number one reason!
After speaking to countless of people about their own dreams and goals as well as researching what many successful people, like Thomas Edison and Wilma Rudolph, there is no doubt in my mind as to what is the number one reason why people fail to achieve their dreams and goals.
The number one reason why we all fail to achieve our dreams and goals is because we fail to PURSUE them!
This may sound simple but I can assure you that it isn’t!
Webster dictionary defines the verb “to pursue” as to follow or chase, to continue with or to try to get someone or something. Therefore, the pursuit of any dream or goal is never easy, quick nor effortless.
Instead, it is a process that requires patience, tenacity, perseverance and a determination to keep going when everything and everyone around you tells you to stop.
Too many times many of us tell ourselves that we will only pursue our dreams and goals if we can see a realistic path to it.
When did that ever happen?
Think back to any dream or goal you achieved and ask yourself if you knew exactly every step you needed to take, every decision you needed to make and every person you needed to meet in order to achieve that dream before you even started?
If you are honest, your answer would be no.
I heard someone say one time that it’s easy to connect the dots on how you achieved a dream or goal after you have accomplished it but it’s never quite as easy when you are trying to connect the dots before you even start.
So, don’t base your decision on whether you will pursue your dream or goal on if you can see a clear path towards it – you never will.
Instead, take that first step towards your dream/goal and remember that ancient Chinese quote:
“The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step”.
This single step is called action – one action after the next.
Ask yourself what is the one thing you can do today that can bring you a little closer to achieving your dream(s) or goal(s)? Whatever that action is, regardless of how big or small it seems to be, do it without delay.
Just do it!
Don’t ask anyone for their permission or what they think!
It’s not their dream; it’s yours!
Can you imagine if Thomas Edison said that he would only pursue his dream if his teacher believed in him or that his dream was possible?
What would have happened if Wilma Rudolph had ask her doctors what they thought about her dreams?
Here is what would have happened:
Thomas Edison’s teacher would have just laughed at him and tell him that he didn’t even have a formal high school diploma and that he was dumb!
Wilma’s doctors would have said don’t set yourself up for failure; for you to run you have to walk and you will never walk!
History and recent events have shown us that it is those people who have the courage to pursue their dreams and goals who have the greatest chance of achieving them. All the other list of reasons why people fail to achieve their dreams and goals are inconsequential if you fail to take that first step towards achieving your dreams and goals – and that first step is the step of PURSUIT – taking action.
Today, if you are in a position where you have a dream or goal that you have always wanted to achieve I encourage you to pursue it. The first thing I usually do when I have a goal is to declare it; not to everyone but to a few people I trust. This very act will create urgency and a sense of personal commitment towards achieving your dream or goal.
I will leave you with what I tell myself every day and that is possibilities are endless but only if you choose to act and not react!