I set out on a journey to live my dreams* 10 years ago. Aghast that my life could just pass me by without any great adventure or calling, I was certain that there was more to this existence than making money to survive and walking the well-worn path that most people seem to follow. However, the only foundation I had to build this new life upon was a vision.
While pondering my future post university, I’d had the idea of writing a bestselling book and speaking and teaching other people what was to become my ‘escape the system’ philosophy. The vision I had was crystal clear and very compelling. Strong emotions were evoked at its inception and these drove me to pursue what appeared to everyone else as a crazy dream. However, I was starting at ground zero. I had no contacts, no experience in this field, a pressing need to make money to support myself and worst of all, a mind full of doubts and fears.
Always a keen writer, to help free my mind from these worries, I decided to chronicle my journey in a series of diaries. Faithfully, for over 10 years now, I’ve been adding to this diary sharing my struggles and triumphs with a blank piece of paper. Recently, I looked back over my entries and found a fascinating entry from almost the beginning of my quest. Dated Friday 14th November 2003, it discusses the key character qualities a person needs to escape the system. It reads as follows;
After a year and a half of struggling with the ideal of living my dreams, I’ve come to the conclusion that a person needs 4 key character qualities to be successful in this pursuit.
1. The main quality – BELIEF. Hard work will only get you so far. The world has billions of people who work hard, but only a tiny minority of these are able to live life on their terms. Belief is that x factor that turns a hard working person into a phenomenal achiever. Developing it can be difficult though. I’ve been experimenting with ways of super charging myself with this quality over the last year and a half with varied results. From what I’ve experienced, and also read, a belief will only become a part of your being when it hits you at an emotional level. You have to FEEL, balls to bones, that you will achieve whatever it is you desire.
2. Self-Discipline. This may seem boring and a far cry from the stereotypical image of the inspired genius, but amazing power can be developed by disciplining yourself into the direction you want to move. All distractions and minor indulgences must be forsaken if you are to achieve your goal. At present, I’m struggling with a temptation to watch TV when I should be doing something productive. I just know that, no matter what the perceived pain may be, when I do discipline myself, I’m so much more productive and I feel a lot better for doing it.
3. Determination. When faced with failure, how does a person react? Do they give up on their goal or are they defiant in the face of defeat, reaffirming their commitment to their dreams. Fortunately, this seems to be the one quality that is already a part of my make-up – I won’t stop till I get to where I want to be. This will serve me well as I’ve begun to notice that, quite often, just hanging in there can account for about 50% of success.
4. Courage. This seems obvious, but it’s worth explaining. Courage is needed so that a person will do the right thing when fear is telling them to run. This is something that I have to battle with on an almost daily basis. The courage to make that inquiring phone call, turn up to that difficult lesson or talk to that girl I like. The weaker part of me wants to hide but I know that to progress I have to fight through these feelings.
Reading back through my diary I was surprised at just how accurate these qualities remain today. My strength in all 4 areas has grown substantially but there are still moments when I have to remind myself of how I need to be. I share them with you now because I think character is a point that is often overlooked in today’s change your life in 7 days/get rich quick world. In fact, you have to go back roughly 100 years to find someone who was a staunch proponent of character and how it could transform a person life.
This is, of course, James Allen and his seminal work, As A Man Thinketh*, is a constant reminder of the importance of character. His main theory is that people don’t get what they WANT, they get what they ARE. It’s a message well worth remembering if you ever find yourself stuck in a rut. What are YOU made of? Do you possess the necessary traits to make it to the top?
As always, it’s great to hear any of your comments. Did I miss anything out? Suggestions for character traits that you think are fundamental in living your dreams are more than welcome.
* Discover more about my journey to escape the system here http://www.amazon.co.uk/Screw-System-modern-greatness-ebook/dp/B007AT3SYO/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1350665613&sr=1-1
* Read James Allen’s classic work here http://jamesallen.wwwhubs.com/think.htm
(Image taken from Thompsoe’s photostream flickr.com)