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Dreams Are Not Enough

Gail Collins, in an recent column in the New York Times, wrote: “As a nation we seem to be overstocked on dreams involving fame and fortune, particularly the ones that come untethered to any plans for actual achievement.

I can’t stand to watch television anymore. It seems to be wall-to-wall talent contests, whether it be singing, dancing, decorating, cooking, or whatever is the trendy “Idol” of the moment. Even the “pitch” shows such as CBC’s “Dragons Den” or ABC’s “Shark Tank” reinforce the notion that all you need to do is to stroke a venture capitalist the right way and you’re a winner.

Now of course, no one would watch a TV program that shows the true experience of the vision-driven entrepreneur: the exhausting pace of investing twelve, fourteen, eighteen hours a day on the project, moving from energy-sapping disappointment to confidence-destroying setback, living with the constant, corrosive fear of being within seven to ten days of functional insolvency, all while keeping positive, energized and enthusiastic. This kind of reality show doesn’t sell candy bars and toilet paper.

Powering your dream from idea to reality takes everything you have to give, and more. You cannot keep anything in reserve, nor hold anything back. Your commitment to action must be absolute and binding. For the result of your dream to be of any value whatsoever, the effort must bankrupt you, physically, emotionally, financially. And if it doesn’t, your dream is not big enough. Because it is only when you have burned all the links to your past that you can focus on building the bridge to the future.

That’s the true secret to turning your dream into reality: total commitment to massive action, using every last atom of your resources, physical and virtual, so you can reinvent yourself in alignment with the promise of your dream.

As a society, we are addicted to the lottery mentality, the illusion that if we want something bad enough, someone will give it to us, whether it is the bank, the government, an investor or a reality show. The true reality is that no one will hand you what you want, desire or need on a silver platter, and even if they did, the moment you accept it, its value is negated.

To succeed takes discipline and resolve, two elements in woefully short supply in our North American society. You need to be the sole champion of your dream and its primary promoter. The size of the reward is proportional to the effort that you invest.

Dreams are not enough. Dreams plus all-out effort is what it takes.

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