Basic economics say that humans have limited means and unlimited wants. Are you trying to gain financial independence, health, happiness, enlightenment, or anything in between? No matter what you are pursuing we are all together to figure out our place in this world. As a kid growing up I looked up to my dad whose life was dedicated in pursuing the American dream. Courageously leaving all of what was familiar to him, he left Taiwan to pursue a Masters Degree in the U.S. to get a good job. Back then, a college education was a necessity to get your foot into the door of growing industries that you may not have previous ties to. These days, having a college degree is still important but has a slightly different meaning.
As a kid I wanted to be just like my dad. I wanted to be a mechanical engineer. I dreamt that I would one day design rocket ships that would go to space, exotic cars that would be as cutting edge as Lamborghini’s, and even design revolutionary sprinkler systems for more efficient lawn irrigation. I was naive, but I always kept dreaming. When I finally got to college and was in pursuit of my happiness I quickly realized that I really hated being a mechanical engineer. All I ever wanted to be when I grew up was to be an engineer and now here I am at college bringing my dreams to reality that it’s actually something that I hated. I was both lost and discouraged, but I never stopped dreaming.
It took me awhile for me to accept the fact that engineering was not for me and eventually I switched my major to Business Administration. I stayed in school for as long as I could, but eventually realized that school could not satisfy my new passion for success. After transferring to 3 different Texas Universities, 2 community colleges, and spending tens of thousands on tuition I found my calling. I knew that I had a new goal and I would once again stop at nothing to achieve it. It takes more than dreams alone to accomplish your goals. Don’t get caught up with these common excuses that could prevent you from becoming successful.
1. No Time – I don’t have time for that!
If you have no time to do anything else other than work you are either overworking or hardly working. Becoming successful does not mean you have to work 16 hours a day, in fact, quite often the opposite. Are you working to live or living to work? Consultants and business books will tell you to let money work for you instead of working for money, but what does that even mean? Strip away the generalization and what you end up with is still the need to work to make things happen. When you overwork you are not performing at your peak efficiency and when you are hardly working you are not accomplishing anything. If you say you are too busy with your passion to put food on the table or clothes on your back you’re not accepting reality. See #2. If you say you are too busy with work to work on your passion than you are hardly working.
We have limited means, but we have the ability to prioritize items that matter to us. Make your passion a priority and work it into a routine that doesn’t burn you. Your success comes when you make it a balanced priority.
2. Dreams vs Reality – Sony Records will sign me!
Dreams is what motivates us to do better, but it can also be a trap. Dreams can even falsely inflate our ego to the point of no return. A common dream of mine during high school was being a rock star. Our school district had one of the best music education programs in North Texas and I could definitely play a few notes. Looking back, I often see that I fell into my dreams and it honestly took me no where. In general, everyone thinks their music is the best music. In general, everyone thinks their idea is the best idea. In general, everyone thinks their dreams will become reality. Worst yet, some people think their dreams is already a reality. It is important to realize that dreams are just that….dreams. We often fall into the void of blurring dreams with reality. If you’re not facing reality and think your dreams are just going to fall in place without putting in work then you will be stuck in the void. Don’t be stuck dreaming up different scenarios how everything is just going to fall in your lap. Sometimes avoiding the void means you must do something against your dreams. Stay grounded, face reality, and take things one step at a time.
3. Practice does not make Perfect – If you can just give me one more chance!
What happens when you take a test and don’t study for it? You fail. What happens when you take the same test and continue to not study for it? You fail. With no training or preparation you’re merely guessing at what works. We often need tutors, someone that has walked the beaten path to guide us to pass. It is only fair to take a second attempt once the student becomes the teacher. Don’t be so naive to think that because a few people out in the world self taught themselves to success means you could do the same. Practicing mistakes only perfects mistakes. The hardest part to get over this excuse is accepting the fact that someone out there is always going to be better than you. There is no way that you will be the best, however, someday may become one of the best. Don’t be so cocky to block opportunities to learn, don’t be too stubborn to admit error and ask for guidance, and by all means learn how to arrive at the correct answers. Practice does not make perfect, perfect practices makes perfect.