What To Do When Your Dreams Don’t Come True

Dreams…we all have them, but not all of us get to realize ours.

While you are still waiting for your dreams to come true, you may find it helpful to approach them in the following way.

By dreams, I am talking about long term goals or ambitions that are of significant importance to you, but the advice here also holds fairly true for smaller, short term aims.

Work Harder

You don’t often come across people who have had their dreams come true without some degree of effort. If your dreams aren’t coming true, it might be the case that you just aren’t putting enough hard graft in.

I’m not trying to say that you haven’t tried; I’m simply asking whether you could try harder. It’s a bit like climbing a mountain – you might reach one peak and think that it’s the summit, only to find that a further climb looms over you. Eventually, though, if you keep at it, you’ll reach the top.

Work Smarter

Brute force and effort isn’t always the right course to take when chasing your dreams; sometimes you need to approach them from an intellectual standpoint.

Take a step back for a moment and consider what you’ve been doing so far to achieve your dreams and why it hasn’t worked. Then imagine all of the things that you might do differently and put them in order of how likely they are to succeed. Then start trying them.

It might help if you look upon your dream as the final destination and plot a course that passes by various points along the way. Once you really think about it, you might realize that getting from A to B means passing through C, D, and E beforehand, no matter how illogical it may seem.

Ask For Help

As I point out in my article on the common traits of happy people, asking for help is actually a sign of strength. If you know someone who had the same dream as you do now, and had it come true, speak to them to find out what they did to achieve it.

And if you don’t know anyone, go out there and look for them. There are experts and successful people in almost every field you can imagine and some will be happy to coach you towards your goals or give you that missing piece of the puzzle.

You can accelerate the progress you make by learning from those who have walked the same path that you walk now.

Move To Plan B

Not every dream you have will come true – to believe otherwise is setting yourself up for disappointment. If you have tried everything you can to make a dream come true and you’ve still come up short, the sensible thing to do is move on to plan B.

Persisting with a dream that you’ve already given everything to is not just stubborn, it’s downright unhealthy.

But just because one dream didn’t come true, there is no reason to think that you can’t achieve another. In fact, history is littered with examples of successful people who initially tried their hand at something entirely different: designer Vera Wang originally chased a dream to be an Olympic figure skater, but went into fashion after failing to make the US team, and household queen Martha Stewart spent several years trying to make her fortune as a stockbroker on Wall Street before becoming a billionaire TV personality, author and business owner.

That’s the beauty of dreams – you can make new ones at any time, no matter how young or old you may be.

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Re-evaluate Your Timelines

You may not always need to switch to plan B with your dreams; it might be that all you need to do is think again about a realistic timeframe for them to come to fruition.

It’s all well and good to say that you’ll be the mayor of your home town by the age of 30 and a congressman by 35, or that you’ll open 50 stores across 5 states over the next 5 years, but things don’t always go to plan.

It’s not unusual for things to take longer than you expected, so be flexible with your timelines and don’t think that moving them further into the future is tantamount to failure.

Put It On Hold

Sometimes you don’t just need to think about how long a dream might take to come true; you need to consider the right time to even start your pursuit of it.

Depending on all the other things going on in your life, perhaps now is not the best time to try and achieve your greatest ambitions.

While in some instances, you will be forced into action because of your age – after all, you won’t make the NBA All-Star team if you take up basketball at 40 – many dreams remain realistic no matter when you start chasing them.

Give Up

I’ll repeat my earlier point that pursuing a dream beyond the realms of realism is not healthy. While you may choose to switch from one dream to another, there is another way.

You may come to the realization that dreams are not always what they are cracked up to be. For some people they work and for others they do not. When you find that chasing dreams is not making you happy, but rather bringing you down, the final solution is to stop chasing them.

As I try to explain in my article on the nature of Zen, the present moment is all that there is. If you spend too long chasing a dream, you’ll never find the time to enjoy the moment that is happening right now.

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