12 Brutal Truths You Need To Accept To Achieve Your Wildest Dreams

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It’s nice to daydream about the things you want to achieve but taking real steps to get there may be less fun or glamorous than you realize.

In fact, many people go through very harrowing experiences to achieve their goals.

Here are 12 harsh truths you’ll need to come to terms with if you want your dreams to become a reality:

1. You’ll have to make sacrifices that will hurt.

When people are pursuing their goals and dreams, they must often make difficult choices.

This can be incredibly hurtful at the time—either to themselves or those around them—and as such they’ll need to choose whether their long-term goal is worth the agony.

For example, if your dream degree or job can only be achieved in another country, and your partner doesn’t want to (or can’t) go with you, you’ll have to choose whether to split up, or have a potentially untenable long-distance relationship for years.

Some people have even left spouses and children behind to chase their dreams.

It’s a crappy choice to have to make, but if your goal truly matters to you, make it you must.

It’s that, or abandon your dream to avoid experiencing or causing pain.

Extra reading: 11 Sacrifices That Are Totally Worth It To Turn Your Dreams Into Reality

2. Some people close to you will not support you.

Let’s stick with the example above.

You may be called selfish or cruel for ‘abandoning’ loved ones in the pursuit of your happiness, and you may even find yourself ostracized or cut out of your family or social circle for not conforming to their expectations.

This can also happen if your dream is something that may be considered shameful or inappropriate in your culture, or if it’s something that those close to you can’t support due to their own beliefs or values.

3. Your dream will cause you stress and anxiety.

When a friend of mine was going through law school, she ended up at the dentist several times a year because she was grinding her teeth into a fine paste in her sleep.

Becoming a lawyer was her greatest dream, but it was also the most stressful endeavor she ever pursued.

She did eventually earn her degree, and the jaw pain eased up over time, but the process wreaked havoc on her physical and emotional health for several years.

Regardless of the dream you’re pursuing, there will undoubtedly be stress and anxiety involved.

This may revolve around factors such as perceived shortcomings, financial setbacks, or even the fear of success: who will you be once you’ve attained this goal, and what will you do afterward? etc.

4. You will experience moments of doubt.

As you pursue your dreams, you may find yourself asking why you’re bothering.

Maybe the dream suddenly feels unattainable, or you feel like you aren’t ‘enough’ to reach it: not smart enough, strong enough, brave enough, and so on.

The dream you’ve been pursuing may even change or die at some point.

It might be replaced by an even better discovery (albeit very different), or removed as a possibility because of age, injury, or life responsibility.

When this occurs, it’s up to you to decide whether this dream still fits the person you are at that moment, or if you’re pursuing it because you feel like you’ve invested too much time and energy to quit now (the “sunk cost” fallacy).

5. You will have to fail many times.

While a tiny percentage of people will find it easy to achieve their dreams, the vast majority will fail many times before they gain a whisper of success.

Your goal of climbing Everest may be sidelined dozens of times until you improve your cardio endurance.

You may fail school entrance exams several times over, be denied business loans from many different banks, and so on.

If this goal is important to you, you’ll need to be determined enough to not be defeated by repeated failures, obstacles, and setbacks.

Extra reading: 8 Highly Effective Ways Of Dealing With Failure

6. Your success won’t come nearly as quickly as you think it will.

Do you know those films and TV shows that glamorize people who achieve their dreams with few if any obstacles?

Yeah, those are wholly unrealistic.

Attaining goals and dreams usually takes much longer than people realize.

Some people spend decades chasing dreams they should have probably given up on 15 or 20 years before, as they’ve either outgrown them or the dreams simply aren’t viable anymore.

Are you willing to keep moving forward towards this dream, even if it takes you 10 times as long to achieve as you think it will?

7. You may have to face deep-seated fears or insecurities.

Beyond self-doubt, beyond berating yourself for “what ifs” and “might have beens”, you may have to take a good look at yourself and face things that you’ve been repressing for a very long time.

These may be difficult to handle, and may even sideline your pursuits, but they’ll be invaluable aspects of your journey.

For example, in pursuing something big that you thought was your dream, you may discover that your desire to achieve actually stems from your crippling need for external validation because your parents couldn’t love you the way you needed them to.

Or you may not have imposter syndrome per se, but you discover you have no true interest in this pursuit and are simply climbing the metaphorical ladder because you’re terrified of failure.

8. You may have to take big risks, some of which won’t go your way.

The adage “no risk, no reward” often holds, and some of the risks you take will likely fall flat

(Hopefully, this won’t involve actually falling flat if your ultimate dream was to go skydiving.)

You may invest your life savings into your dream business only to have it fail because of unforeseen circumstances. This happened to many people during the pandemic and also occurs in fire- or flood-prone areas.

You need to be fully aware that there’s absolutely no guarantee you’ll get any return on the risk or investment you’re undertaking.

Are you prepared to accept that risk?

Extra reading: Taking Risks In Life: Why You Should + How To Do It Right

9. Your dreams may require you to challenge social norms.

Depending on the society or culture you live in, you may find your dreams are at odds with the norms or values held by those around you.

As such, it’s possible that not only will you have to challenge and fight them to attain your goals, but you may also disappoint and alienate those closest to you as a result.

Some of these norms may involve gender expectations, such as a woman choosing to pursue university education instead of marrying and having children, or a man deciding to be a teacher or nurse instead of an engineer or soldier.

As a result, you’ll need to have the mental and emotional fortitude to challenge and overcome these norms.

Otherwise, you may find yourself setting your dreams aside to acquiesce to what others want you to do instead.

10. You will face criticism and judgment from others.

This builds upon the previous truth but also extends far beyond it.

Depending on what your dream entails, you may very well draw intense criticism and negative judgment from others.

The negativity may come from friends, family, or complete strangers.

Furthermore, if your dream consists of something that goes against their personal views, their judgment may even shift into condemnation or control.

This can be dangerous for vulnerable people if their social circles try to prevent them from pursuing their dreams, for example, by hiding or destroying their passports, sabotaging their finances, or even holding them hostage in their own homes.

If this could apply to you, you’ll need a clear exit strategy to pursue the life you want.

By extension, you’ll need to be ready to leave the world you knew behind to attain the life you’ve always wanted to lead.

Are you braced for the possibility of severing ties with everyone you know to live your life authentically?

Or would you prefer to avoid criticism and judgment and take the easier route instead?

11. Achieving your dreams might not bring the fulfillment you’re hoping for.

A lot of people cling to the idea that once they achieve X goal, everything in their life will fall into place. For example:

  • If they can just move to that location, they’ll live stress-free forever.
  • Once they reach their fitness goal, all their lifelong insecurities will disappear.
  • If they get married and have two kids, they’ll have the perfect life they always dreamed of.

These are nice goals and dreams to have, but if yours fall into or near any of these categories, be aware that your expectations don’t necessarily mirror reality.

Your dream location may be plagued with government corruption, terrible weather, and insects the size of beagles.

Once you reach your fitness goal you’ll likely still be plagued with poor self-esteem—it’ll just manifest in something else, like hating your nose, your skeletal structure, your hairline, etc.

Your marriage may be unhappy, your kids may be nightmares, and you may find yourself wishing you’d taken another path.

It’s important to be realistic about your expectations.

As lovely as it is to daydream, it’s very rare for someone’s imaginings to take solid form in exactly the way they’d hoped.

12. The reality of your dreams might not be as great as you think.

In the same way that your dream may not bring you fulfillment, it’s possible that the goal you thought was worth fighting tooth and nail for isn’t anywhere near as great as you thought it would be.

Let’s say someone’s dream was to move to California to become an actor.

They get a portfolio together and move to L.A., where they rent a tiny apartment for an insane amount of money, and wait tables until they finally get their big break: a movie role!

Suddenly they’re skyrocketing to stardom, only to discover the heroes they idolized are pervy drug addicts, and they have to spend time with terrible people to keep getting work.

Furthermore, they can’t even get milk at the store without celebrity-worshipping hordes trying to grope them and get selfies at every opportunity.

What they originally thought was glamorous turns out to be quite dark and ugly instead. The dream they were pursuing was the unrealistic, polished version that they’d held on a pedestal.

The same may go for attaining a position of political power only to find out how stressful and/or dangerous it is, or purchasing a luxury property only to be incredibly lonely in it whilst having to shell out ridiculous taxes and make expensive repairs on an annual basis.


As you can see, attaining your wildest dreams may come at a serious cost.

That’s why it’s so important to clarify exactly what it is you want to achieve and why.

You need to know with absolute certainty that the sacrifices you’ll have to make won’t be in vain and that you’re aware of the shadows that this dream can cast as well.

If, after shining the light of reality on this dream, you’re still intent on pursuing it – then go for it.

And don’t let anything stand in your way.

About The Author

Finn Robinson has spent the past few decades travelling the globe and honing his skills in bodywork, holistic health, and environmental stewardship. In his role as a personal trainer and fitness coach, he’s acted as an informal counselor to clients and friends alike, drawing upon his own life experience as well as his studies in both Eastern and Western philosophies. For him, every day is an opportunity to be of service to others in the hope of sowing seeds for a better world.