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June 22, 2018

Are You Afraid Of Your Dreams?

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If you dream of a muffin, you don't have a muffin, you have a dream

… You should be. Big dreams are actually bad for you. It seems counter-intuitive, but dreaming big does not necessarily bring you any closer to success. Being specific, disciplined and ambitious on the other hand will pay off.

Have you ever wondered why serial dieters never manage to lose any weight and simply flounder from one diet to another? They all have the same big dreams more or less – to become skinnier, toned, gain muscle, lose fat. But their starting point is always “I’m gonna start on Monday”.  It’s not for lack of dreaming. It’s for lack of acting.

It’s because their dreams are so big and beautiful, they often seem unachievable. After all, we all dream to look amazing, right? But how exactly do you get there?

Don’t dream big.

Big dreamers are usually left with the dreams. Mid-level, realistic dreamers hit their targets better and are able to progress much faster. Dreams grow along with their achievements.

Stand at the bottom of the mountain and dream of reaching the peak. Then sit down and plan it; the first leg of the journey, the second, the third. The steps you’re going to take to reach each plateau. The days it will take you to get there. Plan for challenges.

Keep at it.

Surprisingly, the success of people you admire does not come from a special moment, a big heap of talent, or an exciting “aha” moment. It comes from a routine and a consistency that is quite boring at times, and a downright struggle at others. Over-night success does not happen. Constant practice and resilience make it happen.

Tim Notke quote

Keep a timeline of achievements.

Memories are notoriously unreliable. Our brain constantly re-shaping past events. Studies also show we tend to suppress memories that are painful or damaging to our self-esteem. When it comes to a track record of our work, we will gloss over mistakes and may even embellish successful times. A healthy critical look is welcome. Knowing what not to do, is equally important to knowing what to do.

Keep a record of achievements. Having a backlog of everything you have reached so far, keeps you motivated, and often gives you chance to ask a friend for some valuable impartial feedback.

Don’t follow your passion.

Unconventional, but not everyone is going to be the next Beyonce, Joshua Bell, or Banksy. Passion often rises from a mixture of things you enjoy along with things you are / become good at. You may enjoy binge-watching Netflix, but let’s face it, that’s not really a skill. Instead focus on enriching the skills you already have and consider what you can learn more of. May be something complementary, or entirely new. A marketer picking up coding skills will ensure more success than a doctor with a dream to perform on Broadway.

More so, “passions” can cause a significant conflict of interests and add frustration if for example, it is not something that you have any skills for, or cannot bring you an income. Wishing for something unrealistic will make you feel inadequate, and cause more problems in the long run.

Imperfection is good.

You may not see it all the time. Limitations are frustrating. But we do not live in a perfect world, surrounded by other flawless human beings. Learning to accept your own flaws, will make you more aware of how to use them to your advantage, instead of beating yourself up over them.

If you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.


Being scared of things you are not good at, or resenting you’re not good at everything is going to hold you back lots. You won’t turn anything to your favour, while hating yourself. Firstly you must accept you will not excel at everything. Surround yourself by clever people instead, and ask for guidance on the things you lack. Don’t waste time on stuff that you know you dislike and you’ll never practice. If you’re not a designer, outsource those skills to someone who’s really good at it. Use people for their best abilities. Use yourself exactly the same.

Finally, don’t give up on every single dream. Just be smart about it. We never gave up on our dream to offer learning access to everyone who could not attend a traditional education path. Today we offer hundreds of thousands of students the opportunity to get the qualifications necessary for higher education, change their career, or study while holding down jobs and families.

You too can take your first step towards a realistic dream today.

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