The One Reason You Aren’t Achieving Your Dreams

We all have something deep inside us.

A desire. A calling. A dream.

You can call it what you want, but the point is, it’s there.

Maybe it’s always been there. Maybe it’s new. But it’s there.

Maybe you’re in love with someone. Maybe you want to write a book. Maybe you want to start a business, reconcile with a loved one, or go on that trip you’ve always dreamed of taking.

Make the first move. Take the first step. Now is your time.

Unfortunately for many people, that desire—that dream—never passes beyond a dull longing deep in the heart.

Why? There are two ancient stories that illustrate perfectly why most people fail to achieve their dreams.

Hercules and the Wagoner

“A wagoner in ancient Greece was driving his team along a muddy lane with a full load behind them, when the wheels of his wagon sank so deep in the mire that no efforts of his horses could move them. In despair the man collapsed in the mud and for hours called out to the gods for help. Finally Hercules himself appeared to the man and challenged him: ‘Put your shoulder to the wheel, man! Goad your horses! Then you can call on heaven to help you. But if you won’t lift a finger to help yourself, you can’t expect Hercules or anyone else to come to your aid!’”

Make the first move. Take the first step. Now is your time.

If we want to achieve our dreams in this life, we have to throw ourselves passionately toward our dreams every day. We have to be willing to put in the work.

The Farmer and His Sons

“A farmer was on his deathbed and called his sons around him to tell them a great secret. ‘My sons, I will soon die,’ he said. ‘Before I leave, I would have you know that in my vineyard there lies a hidden treasure. Dig, and you will find it.’ As soon as their father died, the sons took spade and fork and turned the soil of the vineyard over and over again in their search for the treasure. After much toil, however, no treasure was to be found. Despite this, because the sons had tilled the ground so thoroughly, the vines produced a harvest more abundant than anyone had ever seen before and earned the sons tremendous wealth.”

You cannot expect your dreams to chase you down; you have to chase them down.

The toil and the treasure are linked. We can’t sit around and expect our dreams just to happen. We have to work hard. It is also important to recognize that the treasure is not always financial, and that the satisfaction of doing something worthy with your life is worth more than a mountain of gold.

The lesson is this:

You cannot expect your dreams to chase you down; you have to chase them down.

So start today.

The best way to start is by writing your dreams down. Be as specific as possible. Write them out in intimate detail. Do not say, “I want to be in good shape”; say, “I want to lose thirty pounds.” Do not say, “I want to travel”; say, “I want to take a two-week backpacking trip through Croatia and Greece.”

Try to write a list of one hundred dreams. Maybe purchase a journal and list them off one per page. Then come back and write a date underneath each dream—the date by which you want to achieve that dream.

No one will help you if you do not help yourself.

Then pick which dreams to focus on first. I would recommend no more than one or two to start off with. Break the dreams down into manageable parts:

What steps do you have to take this year to achieve the goal?

What about this month?

This week?

What’s one small way you can start today?

If your goal is to lose thirty pounds, pick a realistic date to achieve it by—maybe fifteen weeks from now. That would mean losing two pounds a week. That would mean exercising and consuming a certain number of calories today.

That is how dreams are realized.

If you fail to plan, then you can plan to fail. But if you specifically define your goal, if you pick a realistic and attainable date, and if you divide your goal up into simple and actionable steps—you will realize your dreams!

No one will help you if you do not help yourself, but the whole world gets out of the way for someone who knows what they want and who is willing to work for it. So put your shoulder to the wheel, man! And who knows? In all the sweat and toil you may discover even more treasure than you were expecting.

Related Posts