Let’s face it; the majority of us are not currently living the life we dreamed of. Most of us are working a 9 to 5 mundane job and spend most of the day muttering to ourselves, “I wish I didn’t have to be here.” We spend time trying to escape in our thoughts and daydreams and think, “If only.” So why are we not living your dream life?
This isn’t a blog post where I have just done some online research and am going to regurgitate what the thousands of blog post out there all say. In fact I have had many conversations with others, not only sailors, but people from all walks of life. We discussed our dream life and why we have convinced ourselves why we can’t get there.
What I discovered when I broke it all down is, there are 5 reasons we fail to live your dream life. That said, I’m not going to say that you haven’t gotten over a hurdle or two, and maybe some of this don’t apply to you currently. Then again maybe all of them do. It could be you only need to overcome one to be able to actually pursue the dream life. But as I said, these are the things I have found that everyone I talk to, including myself, has struggles with.
1. You Don’t Know What You Want
The first and biggest reason we fail to live your our dream lives is, we haven’t figured out what we actually want in life. I have sat and asked others, “What does your dream life look like?” Few can actually tell me, and of those who can, they can only provide a vague description. Truthfully, I have had to put some thought into this myself. For me, my dream life isn’t just about sailing around the world and visiting all these beautiful places. When I really thought about it and broke it down, there was so much more. The first part is the vague description.
Let me put it simply, so it is easy to understand because we all have done it. You decide to watch a move, but don’t know what you’re in the mood for. So you start looking through you movies, and you keep looking, and nothing really catches your eye. You finally pick one, usually because you’re sick of looking and trying to decide. If you only know you want to watch a movie, you will have a hard time finding it, and will end up just picking anything.
For me, I had to take good long look at my dream after I meet someone I really wanted in my life, but her life was on a whole different course. I tore it down, put it back together, and figured out exactly how I wanted my dream life to look. When I did, I discovered something that surprised even me. As much as sailing around the world is part of my dreams, it is only a means to an end. There is a much bigger part of my dream. It is in the why I want to sail around the world and the what I am looking for on my journey.
By knowing exactly what we want and what it looks like, we can finally develop a plan to make it happen. Even if your dream is to retire and live your dream life on your pension, if you don’t know exactly what that looks like, you will never live it; you’ll just continue to pursue it, endlessly.
Break it down and know what you want, exactly what you want.
2. Thinking It’s Not Possible
I can’t explain why so many of us think we can’t do things that we are completely capable of doing. When I talk to people about my Journey from Seattle, Washington, to Sitka, Alaska, I always hear it. Nearly everyone say, “I never could have done that.” Why not? I did. I’m not special, didn’t have training, didn’t know what I was doing, but I did it. Why couldn’t you?
I’ll admit, it is hard to overcome this one. If you think it isn’t possible, it is really hard to find a way to make it possible. Once you figure out exactly what you want your goal to look like, look at all the ways you can get there. I found that it is best if you do a little brain storming on this. With brain storming, you write down EVERY idea, no matter how off the wall.
I use brainstorming a lot when it comes to this. How am I going to make the money? How am I going to pay off my debts? How am I going to do this alone? You would be surprised on what you can come up with if you just allow yourself to write down the idea without shutting it down before it hits the paper. It can even become an entertaining evening if you have a couple friends help; some ideas will keep you laughing long after they have been crossed off the list.
Once you have a list of ideas of how to get there, you can start planning. Every time you find an obstacle in your path, repeat the process. Figure out a way around it and if you can’t brainstorm. Eventually you will learn there is nothing impossible, maybe improbable, but that is a whole different subject.
Believe it is possible, because it is.
3. You are Unwilling To Do The Work
Alright, first off, I’m not saying people are lazy and not willing to work. I actually really struggle with this one a lot. Let’s face it, the majority of people out there who want to pursue their dreams have usually become established on a path in life that allowed them to survive. By the time they were able to get to here, they are working full time, have bills and other commitments.
It is extremely hard for anyone to push through the idea of adding another 30-40 hours a week into working on developing an alternate source of income. What makes it even more daunting is that, depending on what you are doing, it can take six months to two years to see actual results on all that time you’ve invested. So it’s like working full time in the for free, hoping it pays you in the future.
This will be my fourth week blogging and I have already cut a perfect weekend of sailing to a quick overnight, and skipped another weekend of good weather all together. All that to work on all the different aspects it takes to get on a successful path, I hope. It it’s not that I’m lazy and don’t want to work, but I would definitely rather be sailing.
Ultimately you have to be willing to give up a lot of your time, skip out on friends, and continuously plug away at your dream in order to be successful. You have to prioritize your dream over all the other aspects of what you do when you are not at work. Then you have to do the work and keep working and sacrificing until you get there.
I know it sound hards, and it is. As I said, I struggle with this all the time. That is why my social media accounts become sporadic, my website sat for a year untouched, and my YouTube videos stopped. It’s hard to give up the fun stuff, but we have to be willing to do the work.
Do the work, you will get there!
4. Lack of Commitment
As mentioned above, this all takes time; sometimes even years to see the progress. Today we live in a “now” society. We want to see results now, we want the reward now, and we don’t want to plant a seed and watch it grow for two years to get our reward. We want it now.
Unfortunately, that is not going to be the case, unless you luck into it. This game of going after our dreams requires commitment, and a lot of it. It is going to try to test your patience like nothing else ever will. There are going to be times you are ready to give up. There will even be times you don’t even know why you ever wanted to do this. But you have to have the commitment to see it through.
A perfect example is my Youtube Channel. I started putting out content and was really excited to see the first few videos quickly hit the 100+ view mark. Then it seemed to go all downhill from there. One video I release had only 9 views, and according to analytics, only 1 of those views came from my family and friends. I was mortified. After I wrapped up the season and prepared to start filming new content, I watched in dismay as my number of subscribers peaked at 20 and my views stalled where they were.
I gave up. I didn’t have the commitment and (as noted above) didn’t want to do that much work for so little return. In hind sight, I should have not worried about the numbers and stayed the course. I should have committed to doing the work regardless of return. I am not doing this to be famous anyway and just think how much further ahead I’d be.
When things get tough, stay committed.
5. Not Haveing The Proper Support
“You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” ― Jim Rohn
I start this off with a controversial quote for a reason. It is so true. Unless you are not a human being, or have some super resistance to peer pressure, your ability to accomplish your dream life will depend on them. When I first announced that I was following through with my plan to buy a boat, quit my job, and sail around the world, I was actually mocked by those around me. I was told it wasn’t a good idea. I was told it was a waste of time. In fact I only had very few supporters and even most those were only half-heartedly encouraging me.
The first boat I bought, a fixer upper, never even saw the water. I ended up just buying into the whole, it’ll never happen mentality and quit trying. It is hard to see ever being successful when there is nobody helping you get through the hard times. I made my own excuses to justify my giving up and just kept telling myself, next year. But, if you don’t have people around you who believe in what you are doing and want to see you get there, it’s like navigating the woods, in the dark, on a cloudy night, with a new moon, without a light. The end of the story, I never got there.
I know it might sound excessively hard, but you have to let people go if they don’t support you. I doesn’t even matter how close they are to you. At the very least, don’t let them into your journey; shut them out of the conversation. They will bring you down, even if they don’t mean to. They will tell you to quit, that it can’t be done, or just make fun of you for trying. Let them go!
Instead surround yourself with people who want to see you succeed. The world is a huge place and it is amazing how many people you can meet online that, even if they don’t have a clue who you are, will be your best ally in hard times. Seek out those people, the ones with similar goals and dreams, and invite them into your life. Only allow people who support you into the conversation. Don’t accept anything less than support.
Sometimes your best friends are your worst enemies, so find the proper support.
Wrapping it up
As you can see from the list of reasons we fail to live your dream life, each one is its own obstacle. I placed them in the list, not as a step by step, but more by importance. The reality is each one of these obstacles can come up at any time and at any stage of your journey toward your dream.
Case in point, even knowing what you want can change. What if your life circumstances change? This happened to me. I meet an amazing girl, and even though things didn’t work out as I would have liked, it made me reevaluate what I really want my dream life to look like and lead me to a more focused dream. You may have to deal with the struggle of each of these steps several times over your journey, but keep pushing forward. You will get there.
Everything ebbs and flows. It is much like the tides, here in Alaska anyway. We have 12-16 feet of tide change every day. Sometimes you leave the boat and walk straight up the ramp from the harbor and sometimes, you literally have to walk straight up the ramp, like climbing a mountain. When it comes to pursuing a dream or even a goal it is the same way.
Whenever you are struggling, come back and reread this. I promise you, the reason you want to quit falls under one of these categories and once you identify the problem, you are well on your way to fixing it.
If this helps you in any way, go ahead and share it with your friends. If there is someone you know who needs to read this, copy the link and send it to them. And if you think I’ve just been hit in the head with by the boom too many times, let me know why in the comments below.