Dream Your Future, Then Do It
The most powerful thing you can do in life is create an image. Everyone from the National Football League to Madison Avenue knows that “Image is everything.” From the logo on Tiger Woods’ hat to the picture of the student in Tiananmen Square, images compel and propel us.
The images in our minds drive us toward our destiny. Dreams are the substance of every great achievement in life. Bill Gates dreamed of being bigger than IBM, which was unthinkable, but he did it.
People’s dreams of achievement are the basis for what they do—or don’t do—in life. Muggsy Bogues dreamed of playing professional basketball. Even though he barely grew past five feet, he refused to let go of his dream, and he achieved it.
Clarence Thomas dreamed of becoming a lawyer. Abandoned by his parents and unable to articulate clearly, his ghetto upbringing didn’t bode well for his success. But he never gave up his dream, and today he sits on the United States Supreme Court.
Fred Smith is part of modern American folklore because he turned in a college project and received a low grade on it. The dream he described in his term paper—Federal Express—the university professor considered “unrealistic.” But Fred didn’t let go of his dream, and he achieved it.
Most people don’t dream big enough. They give others the power to destroy the image in their own minds, and they fail to achieve what they could have achieved. The most powerful thing you can do in life is to create an image. The next most powerful is to destroy an image.
Go to any bar in town and you’ll meet the woulda-coulda-shoulda crowds of Bills and Muggs and Clarences and Freds who allowed others to steal their dreams. When their dreams died, a new dream arose for a mundane, mediocre life, and they accepted it. Dreams can die, vanish or be stolen, but no person can live without a dream.
Write the Vision
A dream doesn’t become a goal until you write it down. Remember, you are only committed to what you confess. Write the vision you have for your future, confess it and commit it to paper; then it will become achievable.
Dreams without goals are like cars without gas. They go nowhere. Fred Smith may have received a poor grade on his project called “Federal Express,” but by writing it down, he was well on his way toward achieving his dream.
You must begin to believe what you’ve written. Seeing it in writing makes it seem real.
Glenn and Bobby were teenage brothers who created a synthetic belt in their garage that they thought would help people lose weight. They had a vision, wrote down their plan and saw it in practical terms. Then they created a box in which to package it and sold a few from their home. But they believed they could do something larger than a home-based business.
Putting together what money they had, they flew to Kmart headquarters and showed their one product to the buyers. Kmart bought it. Overnight, they were in business with production, administration and marketing to handle. Soon inventors came to them to show their products, and Glenn and Bobby ended up with a fitness company that does business today worldwide.
To change your conduct, change your beliefs. If you believe you’re going to be poor, you’ll overspend. If you believe you’re dumb, you’ll under-study. If you believe you’re going to be killed, you’ll avoid going out. If you believe people won’t like you, you’ll stop meeting people. But if you believe you’re going to be thin, you’ll eat right. If you believe you’re going to succeed, you’ll look for opportunities. If you believe you’re going to be rich, you’ll invest. If you believe you can achieve your dreams, you’ll pursue them.
Perceptions create personal realities. What we believe, whether true or false, is real to us. The more our perceptions align with truth, the more prosperous we can become because truth sets us free.
Your Best Friends
As you read this—whether at home with your family, on an airplane, in your office, at the beach—you are sitting with your best friend and worst enemy. It is not the person on your right or left, not an angel or devil on your shoulders. It is you. Your choices, based on what you believe, will make you your own best friend or worst enemy.
Water always seeks its own level. In terms of human life, this means you will always rise to the level of your faith. If you believe you can make thousands per month and move into a business that produces only hundreds, you will find a way to grow that business into thousands. If you have faith for hundreds per month and move into a business that produces thousands—thinking you’ve hit the jackpot—the business will soon level out at hundreds per month.
The hidden dream of your heart and the exercising of your faith will result in the way you live and the level you achieve. Not everyone lives on the same level of faith. Not all share the same vision. To guard your vision, you must guard what you allow into your life.
As you rise from one level of life to another, your intimate friendships must change. Retaining close associations with those who refuse to grow will frustrate your own growth. Your closest friends, when they don’t share your vision, can become your chief critics and worst dream killers.
Good is the enemy of best. The best comes not with perfection but simply when you can do no better. If you know you can do better, then you haven’t done your best. That belief is what drove Phil Jackson with a basketball team and Venus Williams on the tennis court. It’s what motivates Martha Stewart with each new enterprise and Cecilia Bartoli with each new opera.
Why settle for good when you can have the best? As I look back over the years, most people I have known could have had more if they hadn’t settled for less.
Go for greatness. Every good thing in life begins with you, so make it happen. Write your vision, then act in faith on your beliefs, according to your personal philosophy.
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