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We all have dreams. For some, a dream is a specific vision that they aspire to. For others, it’s more of a vague feeling or sense of what they want to become.

Our dreams are a part of our identity. This means that when a person achieves their dreams, their identity is validated. With this validation comes a sense of security and self-esteem. Yet, many of us do not invest in our dreams and don’t get to enjoy the privileges that would follow. In addition to the practical obstacles that many of us face, there are often significant emotional barriers as well. So how do we confront and overcome the obstacles that keep us from reaching our goals?

Lack Of Self Awareness

Dreams rarely begin as a clear goal with a clear path. Instead, they usually begin as a feeling we have of the person we hope to be. Many of us stray from our idealistic visions of ourselves. Over time, we find ourselves taking practical solutions to our problems that have nothing to do with the person we want to become.

Maybe we take on jobs we don’t like because the bills need to be paid. Maybe we don’t have time to work on ourselves, because we need to take care of our family first. Eventually, this feeling grows dull as we direct our attention away from it and towards more practical things.

Some people are insecure or feel the need to fulfill some kind of role that doesn’t reflect their true personality. These are the people who come to pursue false dreams that don’t reflect who they truly are. But with a little bit of introspection, a person’s sense of their ideal self can be rediscovered. Once rediscovered, it can be explored; your new curiosity may guide you towards certain interests, or it may push you to educate yourself on new topics.

This exploration allows your dreams, which began as a sense of what you want to become, to escape your mind and take shape in the world. This is how dreams become specific goals with a clear path forward. There is no need to have a midlife crisis to begin the search for it; all it takes is a little bit of willpower and confidence. But what if we don’t have the confidence we need to explore it?

Lack Of Self-Esteem

It takes a lot of nerve to explore and pursue a dream. The most important (and most difficult) part is believing in your dream before it has come true. This is because your dream comes from within you. It has no external support because it doesn’t exist outside you yet. You have to create that support on your own by making it a reality.

We need to respect our dreams before we’ll be willing to invest our time and energy into them. But our dreams are an extension of ourselves. This means that to respect our dreams, we must respect ourselves first. If our self-esteem is weak, we won’t have any esteem for our dreams, either. We need to be strong enough to support our dreams.

Instead, many people come to think our dreams are useless, unrealistic, or impossible. Maybe they’ve been told so by others. They settle into the comfort of their daily lives. But there is value in our dreams because there is value in us. If there weren’t, we wouldn’t be here. We are our dreams, so our dreams must be justified. That’s all it takes.

Fear Of Risk

Many of us are afraid to “throw it all away” or “risk it all” for their dream. This is a natural way to feel for people who have worked hard for what they have, or those who are responsible for others. For those people, pursuing a dream doesn’t have to involve sudden, dramatic changes in their lifestyle. They shouldn’t go out and quit their day job.

Pursuing a dream can be slow, incremental, and even risk-free. In fact, for people who have a clear understanding of who they are, what they want, and how to get it, there is no risk. These self-actualized people know exactly what they want to happen every step of the way, and they will make it happen.

Sometimes, people who talk about risk actually just don’t respect their dreams. This is why self-development is the best first step to fulfilling your dreams.

Failure

So if there is no risk, why do some people seem to fail in accomplishing their dreams? Some might think it’s because they don’t have talent. But in people who are fully self-actualized, talents and dreams always match up. Some might think their dreams fail because they don’t have money, time, or opportunity. But self-actualized people are stubborn, and their dreams cannot be confined. The dream may be delayed or adapted, but it will always emerge.

The number one reason why dreams fail is a lack of commitment. Realizing a dream takes a lot of investment over the long term. If a person invests in their dream unconditionally, the dream is unstoppable. If a person goes halfway and invests a little, but isn’t willing to make any real sacrifices, the dream will fail. That person will have wasted their time, energy, and resources, and things can fall apart.

This raises the question of why someone might not fully commit to their dream. Again, it has to do with whether they fully believe in it. Whether they fully believe in it depends on whether they are self-actualized.

Self-Actualization

It all comes back to the simple question of whether you are the truest, highest version of yourself. If you are:

  • You will know your dream (and if you don’t know it, you will find it).
  • You will take pride in your dream, and nobody will be able to discourage you from it.
  • You will overcome material obstacles and constraints in time.
  • You will commit to your dream, and it will be easy to make sacrifices and take decisive action.
  • Risks will pay off, and the dream will come true.
  • Once you are self-actualized, all other problems fade away.
  • So if you want to accomplish your dreams, focus on knowing, developing, and taking pride in yourself. Everything else will follow.

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