“Most of the important things in the world have been accomplished by people who have kept on trying when there seemed to be no hope at all.” – Dale Carnegie
If you have a goal in life, or a dream that you would like to see come to pass, the best advice I can give you is this: Don’t look to other people to help you get there. Look to yourself. Achieving a goal requires first and foremost that you believe in it, no matter what anyone else says.
Often, we are afraid to pursue our goals because we don’t think that we have what it takes. So, we look to other people for help or for validation. The problem is that very few people are going to say to you, “Go for it! You are smart and talented, and you have what it takes to make that outlandish dream come true!”
Rather, if you go to other people for affirmation, typically they’ll say, “Well, that is a real long shot. Very few people can do that. Maybe you should aim for something more realistic.” The problem is that realistic people accomplish average things. It is only the dreamers who accomplish great things.
As a result, in order to accomplish anything meaningful, you have to ignore the well-meaning advice of others. And you have to ignore your statistical likelihood for success. Instead, you have to take a leap of faith and go for it.
Consider how many successful people have stories of being told that they wouldn’t succeed. Oprah Winfrey was told early in her career that she was “unfit for television.” Stephen King’s famous book Carrie initially was rejected by 30 publishers, and he was told that “negative utopias” don’t sell. In one of Fred Astaire’s first screen tests, an executive wrote, “Can’t sing. Can’t act. Slightly balding. Can dance a little.”
All those comments sound rather silly now. But those negative comments could have halted those individuals’ careers – if they had listened to them. Successful people simply ignore the negative commentary. Or, as Dale Carnegie put it, they keep trying when there seems to be no hope at all.
As a result, if there is one word that would be the key to achieving your dreams, it would be this: Tenacity. Tenacity is defined as the quality of being very determined. Tenacity means that no matter how many obstacles are presented to you, you still are going to pursue your dream.
Tenacity means that if your friends and family tell you that you don’t have the skills to become an engineer, you nevertheless apply to as many engineering schools as possible until one lets you in. Tenacity means that if you want to teach art, you apply to every school in the country that is advertising for an art teacher. You then take a leap of faith and move to the one place that will offer you a job. Tenacity means that if you want to start a non-profit, you start by doing little fundraising projects and serving others. And you keep working and slowly growing your project until you achieve your vision.
Tenacious people don’t need to follow a straight line to achieve their dreams. They may take off some years to raise their children. But they never forget their dream. They may work a fulltime job. But in the evenings, they spend their free time working on their dream. They may have no money, no education, and no support. But what they do have is a vision and a work ethic. And let me tell you, a great vision and a sound work ethic matter more than anything else.
Do you have a dream that you’ve put on hold or forgotten? This week, reignite your passion to achieve that dream or goal. Ignore the naysayers. Forget being realistic. Instead, focus on what you can do today to take that first step toward making your dream come to pass.
Meerabelle Dey has a B.A. in History and Religious Studies from the University of Toronto and a J.D. from Fordham University School of Law. Much of her legal career has been spent dealing with issues affecting women, children and the poor. She has lived in the United States, Canada and the Middle East. Meerabelle now devotes her time to writing. Her mission is to use her writing to inspire others to achieve God’s unique purpose for their life.