Have the Courage to Believe in Yourself
Guest Blogger: Alvina Lopez
We live in a society whose message to young people can seem contradictory. On one hand, television shows and commercials promote the idea that if someone puts their mind to a task, they can accomplish anything. The jaded and hermetic high school teen can blossom into a pop star if they just showcase their vocal skills. An ambitious undergraduate can get the job of their dreams if they study rigorously and work hard for what they want. In other words, popular media tells us that success is what we make it.
But daily news headlines tell us something different. News outlets report daily on Americans’ dissatisfaction over the political powers. Bleak anecdotes from educated but unemployed people give the impression that dream jobs may not be as attainable as you would believe. And since drama sells, news outlets tend more and more to focus on the negative in current events. It’s enough to discourage anyone from dreaming big.
Despite the media’s mixed messages, I do believe that people can achieve their dreams, whether it’s graduating from college or founding a successful startup business. The key to success lies in one’s ability to believe in their capacity for success.
Recognize and Embrace your Goals
To realize your dreams, you have to be willing to face them and recognize their significance as a major goal in your life. This advice might sound obvious, but it bears emphasis. Your ambitions won’t materialize if you relegate them to your idle daydreams. You have to look at your dreams as real possibilities and work toward them if you expect any results.
For instance, say you’ve longed to become a painter. You work a typical 9-to-5 office job, and the idea of painting has long existed in the back of your mind as something you’ll try “when you have the time.” Here’s the deal: life will never offer a convenient breather period for you to relax and do the things you want to do. You have to make time for your ambitions in the midst of everyday life. The difference between dreams and goals is a matter of action. Your dreams will seem much more real and attainable if you take the time to flesh out the particulars of what it is you want.
Assess Your Limits
While you should definitely take concrete steps toward your goal, you also have to act within the limits of your life situation. If you have a husband and two kids, your desire to paint professionally may be more limited than if you were single. This isn’t to say that your dreams are dashed by your position; you just have to be realistic about approaching your goals in the light of your circumstances. You can still earn a degree while working a fulltime job; it’ll just take more time to complete your education than if you enrolled in a program as a fulltime student.
Limits will be imposed upon you no matter how you approach your ambitions. You may be limited by where you live or by your income, but your limits don’t matter as much as what you do to accommodate them. If you’re not doing what you want to do in life, it’s critical that you work with all the resources at your disposal to work to that end.
Own your Ambition
Above all, don’t be ashamed to dream big. Once you’ve accepted a goal for yourself, continue to work toward that goal without reservations. It’s a cliché, but sometimes the most powerful thing a person can hear is that they’re in control of their destiny. You can own your dream no matter how limited you think you are to take the steps to realize it. If you want to be a painter, go out and by some paints and a canvas—no matter the price or the quality—just to get yourself started. If you want to start a business, draft the outline of a sample business plan in your free time. Keep your dream alive by acting upon your impulses to live it. When you encounter resistance or ridicule in unexpected places on your journey, remind yourself that you’re living your life as you want it.
About the Author
Alvina Lopez is a freelance writer and blog junkie, who blogs about accredited online colleges. She welcomes readers’ comments at her email: firstname.lastname@example.org.