Chasing Dreams

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I’m a big believer that everyone should spend at least a portion of their life chasing their own dreams. Whether dream chasing is your life focus, or something you do a few hours a month, it has enormous value.

The act of pursuing dreams brings a sense of vitality and aliveness to your life.

It’s fun. It’s exciting. It’s invigorating.

You shift from merely existing, to truly living.

I get a lot of push back from my readers on this topic. People say...

  • Chasing dreams isn’t practical.
  • Dream chasing is for kids, not for adults.
  • If I chase my dreams, who is going to pay the bills?
  • It’s irresponsible.

The people who make these comments often perceive themselves as being wise and practical in deliberately not pursuing their dreams.

Rather than argue the point, let me frame things differently with the following statement:

If you are NOT fulfilling YOUR dreams, then you are probably fulfilling SOMEONE ELSE'S dream (without even realizing it).

If you're at McKinsey and it’s not your dream to be there, then staying at McKinsey means fulfilling your manager’s dream of becoming a McKinsey partner off of your efforts.

If you didn’t want to become a surgeon but you became one anyway, you didn’t fulfill your own dreams. However, you may have fulfilled your parents' dream of being parents to a surgeon.

If it isn’t your dream to get a loan to buy two cars, a big house, and have 1.7 children, but you do so anyways, you’re not fulfilling your dreams but might be fulfilling the dreams of your bank’s shareholders who profit from your decision.

My point isn’t to argue that you should or should not be fulfilling dreams.

My point is that you ALREADY are chasing dreams.

The only question that’s up for debate is WHOSE dreams are you fulfilling?

YOURS or SOMEONE ELSE’S?

 

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58 comments… add one
  • Arsalan Jun 4, 2015, 8:29 am

    Very true !

  • Vish Jun 4, 2015, 8:38 am

    Hi Victor
    Can’t agree more. I’m from India and there by default options and challenges are guided – can say results too with expectation of results on higher side irrespective of effort. With that in mind, I believe (and these are my thoughts) most Indian of my era have lived someone else’s (“Parents”). I can see why there is disagreement on your view as people who believe otherwise decided on money over action, meaning it didn’t matter what education you had as long as you had something significant to earn more than satisfaction (note that financial expectation has always been on higher side). I tried breaking away from that trend. I pursued my MBA and subsequently decided to do what and how I wanted to do (perhaps as a rebel of that trend and chose my preferred direction of travel). What I do next is already planned too only because I enjoy what I do. It does nothing other than give you immense confidence in your ability. If you do what you enjoy doing – money will follow itself. That’s what I believe in and that’s what I have transacted across to my young children too. “Follow your dream”
    Thanks for your regular newsletter and emails.
    Kind regards
    Vish

  • Mark Berlin Jun 4, 2015, 8:40 am

    Victor,

    Great short note on dreams. I performed my undergrad and grad studies at night. I switched my majors 3X, while working 50+ hours/week. I also switched career paths 3X. Still finding time to scuba dive 12X per year, squeezing in racquetball 3X/week. Why? In pursuit of dreams! The sports were my therapy, and opportunity to focus.

    The experiences in my three different jobs have been rewarding. Always a stepping stone for the next. I am still looking for more to learn and try, never afraid of failure. Our daughters are 19 and 16, and laugh, telling me I have more energy then all of their friends combined. I tell them, never be afraid to ask a question, never stop learning, have fun (yes, occasionally we all trip), and dream big. But when dreaming focus on the process to the end game.

    Also, I’m over 50, and looking for the next adventure.

    Keep up the great work!

    • Victor Cheng Jun 4, 2015, 11:56 am

      Mark,

      Wow, you’re over 50 and doing all of that? I can’t even imagine. You’re. Good role model of your kids. Best wishes.

      Victor

  • José Maria Jun 4, 2015, 8:43 am

    It´s a really important subject at this e-mail, like all others. However, greatness is only made when more than one people share the same dream. I think this is really important to be sad connected to what is sad in this e-mail, otherwise, people would think that someone’s dream couldn’t be his dream.

  • John Fillmon Jun 4, 2015, 8:47 am

    Victor,

    Excellent missive – being passionate about dreams, along with planning and execution goal setting is a recipe for successful life outcomes!

    Kindly,

    John

  • Ashley Jun 4, 2015, 8:59 am

    I truly appreciate your most recent article on fulfilling dreams. For a long time I have been chasing my father’s dream of retiring one day. What does that mean, you ask? My father, with the help of some inheritance money from my mom’s late aunt, started his own business through a large commercial cleaning company. He worked so hard every single day to make our family financially stable and happy. What I inherited from his endeavors was an absurd work ethic and the desire to be the very best. And I was. I was the most successful of my friends academically. I may not have been the smartest, even though I was very smart, but I did receive a full ride to my local university. I didn’t apply many places really just a safe, a distance, and a reach. Once it came time to pick a major, I went for business because I thought if I could just give back to my dad some of what he has given me, I would feel like my purpose in life was fulfilled. So I graduated and came to work for the now master franchise owner and ran one of his cities. While I feel I have been successful, I realized way too late that it was not my passion to run a city, manage franchise owners and my employees, sell business, make numbers, and learn all of the tasks I am asked to do when I am 23 years old. I’m a workaholic because I cannot stand to let him down. My goal is to make the city profitable and then return to my home town and pursue a less anxious and less stressful, busy work life. The only problem is that because I have focused so long on this path, I’m quite afraid I don’t know what I will do. I have thought about so many different things but never committed to them. My friends from American Express – mentor really- told me I was an indentured employee. Which brings me to the point why I wanted to leave you a note. If I am so emotionally tied to someone else’s dream, how can I ever let go and figure out my own? My dreams have varied widely. From becoming a professor to a psychologist to a researcher, to working for the CDC, to becoming an ICP, to even consulting. It’s a tough decision and they all look promising an interesting, but how do I chose? That had been what I am working on right now. Anyway, I have been looking for a way to thank you for your webinar. It opened a lot of thoughts for me in terms of finding ways to connect with people when I am shy and not being so interrogative- I’ve had those awkward conversations. When mine start going that way, especially when talking to high achievers, I sometimes pick up on the route we are going down, trying so hard to find common ground, and then I will pick up the leading role in the conversation and switch gears to focus on one topic at a time, making the transitions and applying real, personal life scenarios, and then going with it. The art of conversation has since been found for me because of those that actually gave it to me once. I still struggle sometimes trying to find common ground too, but I think I’m getting better. I hope my story brings another perspective and puts another clog in your thinking wheels. I just wanted to share another perspective with you to write on.

    • Victor Cheng Jun 4, 2015, 12:05 pm

      Ashley,

      Thank you for sharing your story. I have found that when someone has been so accustomed to pursuing someone else’s dream for so long, many times they have no idea what they want for themselves.

      This isn’t that unusual.

      Sometimes it helps to just stop pursuing someone else’s dream, and allow yourself to have the space… a dreamless void for a while… to give yourself the space to fill that void.

      Another strategy that I’ve suggested to others is to deliberately not make a choice about which dream to pursue. Instead making experimenting and discovery the focus. Go try 5 different things you’ve always wanted to try – just do it on a small scale. See what you like.

      I’ve found the people who know what they wanted to do in life were often given the opportunities and encouragement in their childhoods to explore and try many different things. By the time they were adults, they had come to know themselves well and they end up choosing their life direction from a place of being quite well informed.

      If you didn’t have such an opportunity, along with many other people, take the opportunity in the present to explore. It’s a useful part of the process. You don’t always have to be pursuing a specific dream at all times. It’s perfectly fine to have an interim dream of figuring out what you want for a long term dream; or just to explore for a while.

      Best wishes,
      Victor

  • Vinay Khosla Jun 4, 2015, 9:04 am

    Sometimes we have to live someone else’s dream to achieve our own. The trick is to know when it’s time to wake up and live your own dream.

    • Victor Cheng Jun 4, 2015, 12:08 pm

      Vinay,

      I like the world alignment. Two people can have a shared dream, or an interlocking dream and as long as both choose that freely it can be a good thing.

      For example, I think spouses should have aligned dreams or at least compatible dreams.

      Victor

  • Peter Jackson Jun 4, 2015, 9:07 am

    Victor,
    Great insight. It is impossible to achieve a dream/ goal without
    trying. If you fail then you have the satisfaction of I did my best effort and you can move on to something else

  • Marta Jun 4, 2015, 9:25 am

    Pursuing a dream is not a problem. The problem is to find out what is your next dream after you have realized that the previous one was not such a great idea. In other words, you can do what you want only if you know what is that you really want.

    • Victor Cheng Jun 4, 2015, 12:09 pm

      Marta,

      Very true,

      Victor

  • Shefali Korke Jun 4, 2015, 9:33 am

    That was a great article, Victor. One thing I have noticed(in my case) is that once you have decided to chase your dreams, things do have a way of working themselves out…

  • Tarun Thakur Jun 4, 2015, 9:34 am

    Awesome , you drive the point home!
    Hit the nail on the head ‘

  • Woody Wu Jun 4, 2015, 9:47 am

    This is very true! It’s either contribute yourself or to others.

    With a full time job, I am supporting my wife with her full time study at an MBA school, and we have a new born to be taken care of. But my dreaming of going to MBB never ends. I get up at 5:30am everyday and study GMAT for 2 hours before I go to work. In addition, I participated lots of volunteer activities to strengthen my resume.

    I believe with what I am doing, even if I didn’t get an offer from Ivy school, I might still find a way to get into MBB. Given time and efforts, any dream can come true. It’s a matter of protecting the dream and fight for it.

    PS: Vic, I am very interested in having a conversation with you regarding my situation. Really wish I can have a chat with you.

    Woody

    • Victor Cheng Jun 4, 2015, 12:19 pm

      Woody,

      Keep in mind the pursuit of any dream often causes you to grow and develop as a person — to develop new skills, have new experience, and meet new people. Enjoy the process as much as the destination.

      Good luck!

      Victor

  • Nyambura Jun 4, 2015, 9:48 am

    Dear Victor,
    Though I am a lawyer and not a consultant, I have subscribed to your daily emails and I find them refreshing. In response to your message about following ones dreams, I think I have always followed the unbeaten path, but it has given me sleepless nights.
    Anxiety about whether I’m behaving responsibly or whether I am wasting my time and money as other people do more “responsible” and “normal” things.
    I’m hoping once I am out of my twenties and things start making more sense and there is a certain type of stability that I will be ok and less anxious. But like everything else that is worth doing in your life, following your dreams can be nerve racking. It is a risk that I don’t mind taking anyway.

    Thanks for your insight.
    Nyambura

    • Victor Cheng Jun 4, 2015, 12:14 pm

      Nyambura,

      I can relate. Anxiety is a whole separate issue which I might write about one day. Some people are born this way, others were (inadvertently) trained this way. Rigorous physical exercise helps, as does meditation, and mindfulness.

      It also helps to develop contingency plans for when things go wrong. I’ve written about this previously.

      http://www.caseinterview.com/eliminate-stress

      In general someone who is anxious, such as myself, is cognitively biased to over consider what can go wrong and tends to under consider what can go right.

      Victor

  • Jason WANG Jun 4, 2015, 10:44 am

    All the so-called philosophy is ruled by those successful man, what ever those successful man said can always finally become so-called philosophy, it is nothing to do chasing dreams, and people will not spend a single minute on you if you are chasing your dreams but you failed, the truth is that- you become succssful, you establish the philosophy!

  • Vikram Jun 4, 2015, 11:06 am

    My weakness is I was dreaming at least one idea daily and my key issue is I could not focus on any one. I always want to do everything. I would greatly appreciate if you could share your insight addressing this issue through your future writings.

    • Victor Cheng Jun 4, 2015, 12:17 pm

      Vikram,

      I will give this some more thought. My current hypothesis is that someone who has too many dreams may live in great fear. It is easier to have hundreds of dreams an be unable to pursue any of them, than it is to have one. Because if you only have one and you attempt it you will find out if you succeed or fail. Sometimes people don’t want to really find out.

      I don’t know if this is the case for you, but I’d be curious if my hypothesis resonates with you or not.

      Victor

      • Vikram Jun 6, 2015, 12:22 am

        Agreed – Thank you. “one dream at a time”. Pursuing every single dream until it succed or fail and move on. I think that is life and make onself keep happy.

  • David Jun 4, 2015, 11:34 am

    Hi Victor,

    There is a perceived dichotomy between on the one hand pursuing your dreams, and on the other, doing something practical. Many people imagine there’s an either-or choice to be made because of the issue of time. “How will I have time to do all of this”? Well, you don’t need to pursue your dream full-time!

    Sometimes spending even one hour a day doing something you truly love is enough. That hour might give you the peace of mind you need to face the daily grind.

    I’ve also seen people (including myself!) struggle with determining what their dream really is. Dreams were so vivid as a kid, and then we enter adulthood, and life becomes complicated. I’m a fan of paring down your life so that you can really search for your dream, or purpose, or mission (or whatever you like to call it). It’s tough, but necessary.

    Thanks for the thoughts.

    • Victor Cheng Jun 4, 2015, 12:09 pm

      David,

      Yes exactly!

      It doesn’t have to be an either / or proposition. Heck, even a hour a month in pursuit of a dream makes life much more interesting.

      Victor

  • Sagnik Jun 4, 2015, 12:12 pm

    This is really a very interesting topic that I have been mulling over, over the last maybe 5 years, much more actively in the recent past might I add.
    One of my dreams was to become an engineer, and working as one, and I fulfilling this dream at the moment. Luckily for me, this was also in alignment with my parents’ dreams, so not much conflict there.
    Apart from lining out a prospective career path for myself (which includes an MBA and MPA on the way), I have added another interesting take on it. With every 5-7 years of career progression I have added a “car progression”. Not to sound superficial, but I have had a fixation for cars ever since a little child (also one of the reasons I wanted to be an engineer, albeit a mechanical one, to work for a car giant. I am an electrical power engineer now, and not working with cars, but in Energy, which I really enjoy!). Hence, my career path going forward has a list of car options as well that I should own when at that position, this also helps to motivate me to do better in every job so that I can look forward to the next car.

    On another angle, during my university years in the UK, I got to participate in a lot of diverse activities, which really opened and broadened my perspective (somethings I didn’t know I could physically do/overcome) – which has given me my own bucket list – so ones I wish to tick off soon are becoming a diving instructor, a sky diving instructor and learn how to ride a bike. More and more these dreams seem to be overpowering my otherwise ambitious career path.
    This is an interesting point because as you said the thing about parents’ dreams and expectations from others, as I fulfill them, my self-motivation towards the non-professional dreams is becoming heavier. I, myself, am interested to see which way I lean on going forward…
    Hence, I am even more motivated to take on the MBA and go back into studying, because the fact that you meet so many interesting and different people that your horizon gets furthered even more. And I want that to happen. On the other hand, if I do get into one of the “target” schools, then even if I wish to take a hiatus and actively follow the co-curricular dreams, I will always have a strong MBA to fall back upon and kick start the professional career again.
    Albeit, this is an idealistic way of looking at it, real life is seldom that simple. But then maybe I would look at working for those companies or organisations that would allow me enough time to pursue the other dreams as well as in the professional growth and enable me to tick off the car list! 🙂

  • Alex Jun 4, 2015, 12:30 pm

    I’ll make it brief. BS, Marine Bio; MA, Geography; MBA, Management Analysis; Project Mgt very. Working in credit info in May 2008, and took FMLA for 2nd child. Finances = Good; net black. Satisfaction with work = Unhappy. With FMLA time off, I asked “What’s missing?” Answers: “Sustainability” (environmental) and “Marine biology” – my strong interests. Back to work in Jun 2008, and in Nov 2008, laid off in Recession. What to do?! Jan 2009: start a sustainability consulting co; back to school at Univ CA for Sustainable Business Practices and Leadership = ace coursework and projects. Pro bono consulting to small orgs. Networking. Conferences. Workshops. Friend invited me aboard dolphin survey boat at Scripps Inst Oceanography. Volunteered aboard and in lab. Research cruise on ship. Volunteering at aquarium. Got research idea, got grant, got business as ind contractor in marine research. Got job with Fish and Wildlife Dept. Satisfaction with work: wow! Love it! Finances = tough. Hopeful for higher-level job as my performance recently garnered recognition and merit increase. My clients and managers love me because I am great at what I do. Not for everyone. My dream since I was 5 years old. Life happens. How I spend time now matters. My kids and wife are proud of me. I’m happy. Bottom line for me: trade-off.

    • Victor Cheng Jun 4, 2015, 10:18 pm

      Alex,

      Congratulations. Living a happy life that you love is not an easy accomplishment.

      -Victor

  • Rudolph Shutts Jun 4, 2015, 2:09 pm

    Victor, great article and on point. It all starts with a dream and the first step.

    I retired at age 70, reluctantly a few years ago, life said I could no longer occupy the C Suite. I listened to jolting Joe DiMaggio’s statement that he wasn’t playing like he once played so he retired. Like Joe, I felt I wasn’t performing like I once did so I retired. However, unlike General MacArthur’ s comment “…old soldiers never die; they just fade away.” I dreamed of using my creative side of the brain and discovered it did exist and a potter was born: I am not bad. Now that was a surprise! Guess that art course in the 7th grade made an impression.

    I am reinvigorated, my dream of mastering pottery making, in particular homebuilding keeps the blood flowing. I am almost ready for a You Tube Vedio.

    So dream on!!!! and don’t wait to explore the dream, take the first step, make the journey matter. You will be surprised..

    • Victor Cheng Jun 4, 2015, 10:19 pm

      Rudolph,

      What a great story. Thanks for sharing. I went into semi-retirement for a year about 10 years ago, and tried my hand at pottery too. It was not my thing, but I’m glad I tried it because now I know.

      Glad you found something that excites you.

      -Victor

      • Rudolph Shutta Jun 6, 2015, 4:17 pm

        Victor

        The important thing is you tried and that is what matters.

        I am making “senior bowls” for my friends, who like me, misplace keys and wallets. It is a hit! So when you go to lunch with me expect a bowl and the conversation starts and the ideas flow. The topics are endless, I never knew that folks had so many dreams, I am encouraging my friends to act on their dream.

        Recently at a “coffee break” (this is what we call our meetings), with a long time friend he told me about his love of birds. This week for our “coffee break” I brought my Audubon stamp books, from my Boy Scout days in the early 1950’s, and shared. He never saw these books, he was so intrigued we moved to the library to continue the meeting. Well, it turns out the books are rare so I decided to donate them to the Audubon Society so that others can enjoy and perhaps the society can reinstitute the concept. Hoping to inspire someone to enjoy birds and the environment.

        The Dream article is one of your best, thank you so much.

  • Jupiter Jun 4, 2015, 3:46 pm

    Ones dream is worth more than chasing. You must feed your attention and focus on it.

  • Joel Jun 4, 2015, 4:47 pm

    I totally agree one of my biggest dreams is to work as a consultant slthought my b school ted Rogers school of management isn’t a target school I’m still working hard to achieve what I consider a dream.

  • Sofia Jun 4, 2015, 6:54 pm

    It’s nice to chase our dreams. When we, however, are doing st to achieve dreams, we also fulfill other dreams as well. I mean we help each other to get our dreams.

    For example, my dream is getting a good job with high salary, I decide to study MBA, which is fulfilling MBA organisers’ dreams of getting a lot of students :).

    • Victor Cheng Jun 4, 2015, 10:22 pm

      Sofia,

      Helping others achieve their dreams isn’t a bad thing at all. 🙂

      -Victor

  • Shangyi Chen Jun 4, 2015, 8:27 pm

    Thank you for the insightful topic.

  • Dare Adeyeri Jun 4, 2015, 8:47 pm

    Absolutely the right perspective, Victor and thanks for sharing. However, chasing one’s dreams require uncommon will and riveted focus, both of which is very tasking to the intellect and emotion. It could be likened to a situation described by Thomas Flama as a puppy chasing its own tail. After a few furious gyrations, the puppy wonders whether it is chasing the tail or the tail is chasing it. Without uncommon will and riveted focus, one could be led to think that chasing dreams is merely an exercise in futility.

    Chasing one’s dreams is for those who desire self mastery.

  • Tricia Jun 4, 2015, 9:15 pm

    Wow! Pretty Awesome way of looking at it!!!

  • Ting Zhao Jun 4, 2015, 10:13 pm

    I tend to get a little sentimental when it comes to the topic of “dream”. Really touched by that “shift from merely living to truly existing”.
    Studying and working in the environment where no people seem to be interested in talking about dreams, I feel like I always acted a heretic. The topics around me are always like “how to earn big money some day”, “how to get married with a beautiful lady”, or “where to raise kids in the future”. Nothing bad about being down-to-earth. But it just feels lonely, sometimes desperate, to be surrounded by these down-to-earth mentalities.
    SO I chose not to be a software engineer after graduation
    , so I decided to have an MBA before 30, so I came a long way from home to a country where I have no friends or relatives at all just for obtaining enough international exposure. Who knows where this zig-zagiing way will lead me. The only thing I know is every step I took is pushing me a little closer to my dream.
    Victor, so many thanks for your post and all the material you provided.

    • Victor Cheng Jun 4, 2015, 10:21 pm

      Ting,

      As the late Steve Jobs said (I’m paraphrasing), life is a zig zag that at the time doesn’t always make sense. But later in your life as you look back and connect the dots, it all does make sense.

      Best wishes,
      -Victor

  • Balaji Ajit Singh Jun 5, 2015, 1:12 am

    I am chasing my employer’s dream. after reading your mail i have realized, all through my life i only fulfilled some one’s dream either at personal level or in public. it is most thought provocative mail from You.

    Balaji

  • Harish Jun 5, 2015, 1:33 am

    Boss comes out of a BMW 7 series and a junior employee remarked, “Wow Boss, this is great!”

    The boss puts his arm around the man & says,
    “If you also work hard, be punctual, put in more hours of work on weekends, take fewer holidays, achieve your targets….

    I will be able to buy an even better car next year!!!”

  • Ida Jun 5, 2015, 4:16 am

    Great written, thanks for the inspiration!
    Have a great summer full of dreams everyone!

  • Himanshu Jun 5, 2015, 11:07 am

    Hi Victor,

    Thats wonderfully put! I treat that as another way of saying focus on what excites you. I guess the most difficult part in this to really know what excites you.

    Another point worth noting could be that “your dream” and “someone else’s dream” may not be mutually exclusive. There may be certain overlapping areas between the two.

    • Victor Cheng Jun 6, 2015, 1:39 am

      Himanshu,

      I agree with you on both points.

      It is hard to figure out what excites you, but the only chance one has of discovering is to attempt to figure it out.

      You are right pursuing your dream versus someone else’s is not always an either / or proposition. Sometimes it is an “and” proposition. The key this is to choose ones dream consciously and deliberately first, and then notice if it is in alignment with someone else’s.

      For me my goal was never to make partner at McKinsey. My dream was to run my own business and I saw a way to learn valuable skills via working at McKinsey for a few years. My favorite engagement manager had a dream to make partner. We both got what we wanted and we both helped each other get what the other wanted too.

      Victor

  • Igor Jun 5, 2015, 11:54 am

    Excellent thoughts and that is basically what happens in life. So, let’s fight for our dreams to become reality

  • Niyi B Jun 5, 2015, 7:46 pm

    As always Victor, thanks for your timely and robust inputs into our lives. Have always sought to follow my dreams from childhood. This said, these dreams have been better refined from constantly dreaming. At this time, I must confess to myself at-least, that am continuously inundated by thoughts of When and how, although I am doing very well on what and where. I cant seem to bridge this gap. The more these dreams are reinforced, better their withering. Yes have heard, read and seen the Never give up mantra play out, yet am at the abyss despite my continued efforts. any express views Victor?

    • Victor Cheng Jun 6, 2015, 1:42 am

      Niyi,

      For the how question, what has always helped me the most was to seek out others who had figured out how to accomplish something I wanted to accomplish. Once I found them, I would try to learn as much as possible from them to understand how they achieved what they did. That has proved to be most helpful.

      As for when, that’s a harder question. No simple answer as one needs to balance short vs long term goals, resource constraints, risk tolerance, and passion.

      Victor

      • Niyi B Jun 6, 2015, 6:59 am

        Very Insightful Victor. Thank you

  • Fahad Al Absi Jun 6, 2015, 11:16 am

    I totally agree, in the big scheme of things if your not fulfilling your dream, you are contributing to another’s, the truth is it’s your choice to say I can’t and blame it on being irresponsible and regret it on your death bed, or you can plan for it and ask for your family and friends support and give it your best shot win or fale your a winner and will live with no regrets.

  • Jean-Pierre Boymans Jun 7, 2015, 6:59 am

    Hello Victor and others,

    Thanks for the nicely written, provoking posts for a lot of us. I believe in pursuing dreams, life passes too fast for you to live it unconsciously for the sake of someone else. I think this is not easy though, a lot of us are exposed daily to the the ‘ideal’ dreams of life such as getting good grades, a good job, marrying and a big house with a car,… Was it not for the questions you are asking we might easily be all following the dreams of other people?! The dominance of these standard/commercialized dreams already makes it difficult to live your own dreams, but in addition to that it is also scary for yourself to live your own dreams. It means giving up safe ground, stretching your comfort zone to see whether this dream is the thing you like to do.

    I like what a friend said to me when I was a little frustrated and told him I wasn’t sure what to do next. He said: “I don’t think we will ever really know what to do next. I think we will always have a certain feeling of uncertainty; is this what I want to do, what I want to do next, when, how?”. I believe you should follow your dreams and not make it too conditional (if I have enough money then I will do this and this…), plan for it (max 2 year plans haha) and put these dreams to the test.

    Scared as it may be, I tell myself, would it not be scarier to lived a life without trying? The reward is a depth of life, which inevitably brings deep pain, uncertainty and sadness with an equal intense feeling of joy and happiness. When I feel sad (because I miss the amazing friends I made living in Egypt, that type of sadness), uncertain because of the choices I made to live my dreams I think of what it gives to me, of the amazing depth I have in life because of it. I learn myself to see these emotions as blessings in disguise. The presence of sadness and uncertainty are required to experience the happiness and joy ;).

    Have a great Sunday!

    • Victor Cheng Jun 7, 2015, 12:11 pm

      Jean-Pierre,

      So well said.

      By the way, I never said it wasn’t scary!

      (an article for another day)

      That’s why simple ideas that most people tend to agree with aren’t common practice — it’s fear.

      -Victor

  • ryan Jun 7, 2015, 3:42 pm

    I agree and thanks for the reminder. I know originally i thought consulting was definitely what I would pursue in B-School but I realize now that it is some of the skills from your way of thinking I really desire in an industry role. I am definitely benefiting from your ideas whatever my dreams may be.

  • Douglas Jun 8, 2015, 9:40 am

    As a young entrepreneur (25) who have worked for Worldwide leading companies my whole career I have realized that the only way to keep on tracking of my happiness was to deeply understand myself, my limits and purpose.

    In the past years I have invested a greater portion of my free time reading great books, studying my actions, testing myself and finally planning the big move.

    Running was not a sport for me, even though, I pushed myself and started to practice it and in less than a year, I was able to achieve more than 1.600km , 2 full marathons and some medals (always on my free time).

    But the most important thing that I achieved from running was the confidence and the solid mindset that everything is possible when you TRULY want it.

    Still working for a great corporation and knowing that I am a piece of a complex system which is hard to leave, again, I decided to push myself to the limit by running: Running after my dreams.

    The first rule, is skip any thought of procrastination and evolve to a great level of execution.
    -10 hour daily for the investors.
    -5 hour daily for me.

    That is my new marathon and everyday I have the opportunity to get close to the finish line.

    Regards,

  • Mikael Jun 8, 2015, 5:06 pm

    Beautiful concise summary. Often we want to be accepted by others so we choose to do things we think they want us to do.
    Thank you for the moment of inspiration.
    Mikael

  • Nisreen Zoabi Jun 10, 2015, 1:36 am

    I started my day, 10th of June, with a spontaneous decision to finally read some of Victor’s news letters. I say finally, for the fact that I’ve been registered to these news letters since January, yet too scared to open them. I thought I needed to know first, or to make sure even, that this is what I want to be or do (for instance Mckinsey) – at this stage I should thank you Jean Pierre for citing that one never knows what’s next for sure!
    Nevertheless, we are subjugated all the time by the aforementioned socially/commercially idealized “roles” or “positions”. So, how can one really ever know if it is his dream, or someone else’s which he follows?
    It isn’t that easy to distinguish “happiness” from “relief”! I think this is the prime reason behind any sort of procrastination.
    Comments would be gladly received.

    Have a fruitful day

  • Jean-Pierre Boymans Jun 19, 2015, 4:02 pm

    Sure we are borrowing a lot of parts of our dreams of a lot of different people; we are always influenced, the way our parents raised us, the upbringing at and around school, the experiences after school,…

    But you can’t discount “free will” in this. There are still some things you don’t have from others, the things we are to a certain extend born with, like your talents (the things you are good at), and then what about your attitudes and experiences?I agree that you can’t always control how you experience them, but you do have some control in choosing which experiences to pursue and with which attitude pursue them.

    I think these 3 will be your guide in realizing the dreams that truly matter to you. The things you are good at helps you to figure out the types of dreams you want to chase, it helps you to set the perimeters… Attitudes such as motivation and curiosity give you the kick to start and keep wondering what your dreams are, to grow them and choose new ones when the time is there,…

    Finally it is experience I think that will help you understand which dreams are yours and which dreams are not so much yours but more of others. A hypothetical example: I wanted to be a consultant after I graduated; I somehow managed and was a strategy consultant working in Egypt for 2,5 years;
    I wanted to test this dream and verify how I would like it working in Europe; Now I am here I am learning and refining that initial dream so that in a couple of years I might end up completely different from what I am doing now, picking up new dreams not necessarily related to the job, but rather the environment; for instance I might want to become a photographer!

    Let me try it with one last example, imagine with me for a moment. You’re in this movie, you are the superhero and you have to fight an invisible person. Suddenly you realize you can use sand and mud to figure out where the person is. As it hits the person the sand and mud takes up the shape of the invisible person beneath. The sand and the mud are your experiences and the invisible person represent your dreams, not quite visible yet! How good and long are you willing to throw with the mud? 🙂

  • Ilnar Abdullin Jul 14, 2015, 10:20 am

    One more brilliant statement
    We (modern people) are concerned about our image, status, wealth, etc so much, and we are rushing to achieve as much goals as it’s possible… But in rushing we have forgot whose goals are. Our real goals or goals have set up by marketing guys or someone else.
    Just think about it…
    Thanks, Victor

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