7 Harsh Truths about Achieving your Dreams

by Joe Barnes


Mind Set


Date: Feb 20, 2014

7 Harsh Truths about Achieving your Dreams

WARNING: This post is NOT going to motivate you.

Finish reading it and you won’t be jumping out of your seat ready to take on the world or reaching into your wallet giving up your bank details in exchange for the latest online course that guarantees to make you internet famous (I DON’T EVEN HAVE ONE – I do have a book though. Contains just as much information at about one tenth of the price).  

No, instead of motivating you, I’m going to prepare you. Finish reading this post and you’ll know exactly what to expect when it comes to turning your dreams into reality. 

And whether your dream is to build an online following, start your own business, become a professional sportsperson or run for office, the advice still applies. It’s gleaned from 12 years of my own experiences, countless hours of research into successful dreamers and your own stories and recollections.

My hope is that by reading it, you are going to a) save a tremendous amount of time by NOT making some of the mistakes that I made b) travel your journey with renewed vigour as you now understand that failure, set-backs and the passage of many years are all perfectly normal and c) because of this understanding, NEVER GIVE UP. 

So let’s proceed . . .

Harsh Truth Number 1: Nobody will do it for you

I remember walking round my village as a teenager hoping that I’d bump into a wise old man or the girl of my dreams who would suddenly come into my life and make me happy. IT NEVER HAPPENED. Even in the last two years, I’ve been guilty of wishing that some marketing genius is going to discover me and help promote my message to the masses. Guess what? IT HASN’T HAPPENED. 

So what I’ve learned is this; you have to do it ALL yourself. Expect no help whatsoever.

Having said that, though, this doesn’t mean that you won’t get some. Back in 2007, after 5 years of carrying around the dream of writing a book in my head, I contacted bestselling author and personal development expert Tom Butler-Bowdon for help. What followed was a fruitful student/mentor relationship that greatly assisted me in transforming some of my dreams into reality.

So although help might come, I don’t want you relying on it. You’ll have to get the ball rolling and you’ll have to do all the leg work. Then maybe, just maybe, someone will step in and help you rise to the next level. 

Harsh Truth Number 2: Dreaming alone won’t change a thing

Ever wondered why so many people who buy positive thinking books and attend seminars never realise their dreams and yet people like Richard Branson, who probably wasn’t reading Think and Grow Rich at the age of 18, do? It’s because there’s more to realising your dream than dreaming. 

You must take action. Not only that, you must take action daily. The Secret may have sold us all on promises of feeling our way to abundant riches but you’re fooling yourself if you think you don’t have to actually do anything to attain your goal.

Harsh Truth Number 3: There’s no such thing as fair 

This game isn’t won by the nicest, the kindest, those who deserve it or even those who produce the best work. It’s won by those who believe. End of.   

Think about it like this, if dreams were decided by the principle of justice would Justin Bieber be one of the world’s most famous pop stars? What about the thousands of other more talented, harder working and more deserving artists out there who have no platform at all? Exactlty!

So rid your mind of the concept of fair once and for all. You can give it your all, bounce back from countless failures, do everything right and be down to your last penny but life will still serve you a shit sandwich until you start believing you CAN have exactly the kind of success you desire.   

Harsh Truth Number 4: Your relationships may suffer

Realising your dream requires an obsessive amount of focus. It’s part of the reason why so few people ever do. In his book, How to Get Rich, publishing magnate Felix Dennis talks about the toll this can take,

Focus, determination and relentless drive are wearing in themselves – both to you and those around you. Any distractions whatsoever can cost you a chance that may not come again. And, for the purposes of this book, family, lovers and friends are distractions, plain and simple.” 

While these words may not provide comfortable reading, you need to be aware of them. You’ll have to decide just how much you are prepared to give to your dream and where the line gets drawn.

Personally, I would argue that a dream is worthless if it isolates and removes you from love. However, I would be lying if I said that the pursuit of my dreams hasn’t cost me socially. Balance is key on this one.  

Harsh Truth Number 5: Prepare to be broken down

While the path to realising your dreams is a journey, ironically, it is a journey where the greatest distance travelled is within

This inner journey can be summarised in a very simple two part process;

1) You get broken down

2) You build yourself back up stronger than before. 

In his classic book, As A Man Thinketh, James Allen describes this as ‘self-crucifixion’. He says,

“Men are anxious to improve their circumstance but are unwilling to improve themselves; they therefore remain bound. The man who does not shrink from self-crucifixion can never fail to accomplish the object upon which his heart is set.”

You will not be able to shy away from this process. Every part of you will be tested to the limit. The weaknesses need to be brought to the light and removed. The fear needs to be faced time and time again until it scares you no more. 

Harsh Truth Number 6: It takes time

10,000 hours or 10 years the experts reckon. Overnight success is unlikely. In fact, those we suddenly hear about in the media with a new hit record, or APP that’s made them a multi-millionaire, usually have long back stories containing years of failure and honing of skills.

It’s hard to escape the time factor so it’s important to be prepared. Only the strongest of dreamers will resist despair as the years pass and it appears you’re no closer to attaining your goal. Take heart though because time is an ally as well. The years sharpen your skills, crystalize your ideas and develop your wisdom.

When the time comes, you’ll be ready.

Beautiful Truth Number 7: It’s ALL worth it

THERE IS NOTHING IN THE WORLD THAT COMPARES TO REALISING YOUR DREAMS. NOTHING. The toughness of the previous 6 rules will be the last thing on your mind when the day of triumph arrives.

Ecstasy. Joy. Elation. Pursuing and realising a heartfelt dream brings the greatest amount of meaning, stimulation and love into your life. From my own experience, I can testify that I would experience the pain of the first 6 rules one hundred times over just so long as I make it to seven.

Over to You . . .

Are there any I missed out? Tell me about your own experiences in the comments section below.

Also, please make sure you share/email this post to fellow dreamers and give them the inspiration and information needed to turn their dreams into reality. 

(Image taken from Symphony of Love photostream flickr.com)