Why You May Fail to Dream

goalswork Jan 26, 2021

My mother and father taught me the power of goals and dreams. In different ways they empowered me to reach higher, to make great memories, and to work hard to make them come true. They took me to see great performers in Man of La Mancha, Camelot, Fiddler on the Roof, and more. They helped me sell light bulbs door-to-door to earn the money to attend both the National (and tour Canada) and World (and tour Japan) Jamborees of the Boy Scouts of America. I've used the skills they taught me to author books, travel the world as a speaker, and write online courses. I've paid forward what they taught me by teaching thousands of others to "reach the unreachable star".

In my training, however, I've encountered hundreds of people who did not receive the same upbringing that lifted my life. I have met so many people whose life experiences a) prevent them from contemplating something better, or b) feel unworthy of being able to dream or set goals. Either reason, I hurt for people who feel this way. I recognize the authenticity of their feelings, and some of the reasons they believe it.

Past experiences and unrealistic expectations frequently prevent people from believing they can improve their lot in life. Some parents unintentionally instill a defeatist attitude in their children with phrases like "You can't do that!" or "Be realistic...". Some people feel that any failure to achieve every goal invalidates trying to set any goals. They look at any failure as total failure. So, to prevent future failure they don't set any goals. Finally, research indicates that the entire concept of achievement or improvement is foreign to people in poverty or the lower classes.

A second major factor for many people: they do not feel worthy to set or achieve goals or dream. Some remain haunted by past mistakes and errors which rob them of confidence in their ability to improve. They rationalize that they don't deserve good things. Others contemplate their current personality traits, work habits, or opportunities with doubt their efforts warrant success. Once again, too many parents raise their children with the constant refrain "You're a bad boy", "You don't deserve that...", or "If you were better, then...". These statements can either destroy someone's confidence to succeed or spur them to work harder.

I don't have time in this article to share solutions to these two major debilitating perceptions. However, I will share possible solutions in future articles. Contemplating those who sincerely believe they cannot set and achieve goals or dreams helps me appreciate what my parents taught me--and advocate that all parents, teachers, and mentors consider what they may be doing to hinder those around them from succeeding. I believe Walt Disney's statement "If we can dream it, we can build it", maybe not all the time, but enough of the time to justify our attempts to continue trying.

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