The importance of being a dreamer
Walt Disney said, “All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them1.” He should know – it is said that his dream of creating Disney World was rejected 302 times before it came to fruition. While we cannot be sure if this is true, the principle of his quote still stands. Imagine a world without the humour of Mickey Mouse or the joy that Disneyland brings to people worldwide.
If Disney had kept his dream hidden, many of ours would never have been inspired. Because of his courage, society is all the better for it.
We all have dreams. Whether they are grand or seemingly inconsequential, these little seeds mean the world to the individual dreamers. Even the greatest dreamers were once just ordinary people with hopes, aspirations, and desires. It is only through great effort and determination that these dreams became reality.
Why should we follow our dreams?
Having dreams nourishes our souls, gives us hope and lets us pursue a purpose beyond ourselves2. Without it, life’s challenges become a routine with no escape, a constant reminder of our responsibilities and duties. However, simply dreaming isn’t enough. We have to take the plunge and follow them to reap the rewards listed here.
Dreams encourage uniqueness
Having a strong grip on your dreams prevents you from blending into the crowd and going with the flow2. You start to develop more as an individual with a clearer sense of who you are and what you need. Simultaneously encouraging independence, dreams also let you reflect on what you really want out of life in a safe manner. Like looking deeply into your own crystal ball, your dreams provide an insight to who you are at this very moment. Because of this, your dreams might change depending on your current circumstances. When you are in tune with your dreams, you become in tune with yourself.
Dreams encourage bravery3
Following your dreams is one of the hardest things you’ll ever do. The act itself pushes you to the brink with every intention of throwing you off, and the only thing holding you together is your faith that this is the right thing to do. You will find that you are braver than you thought you were, and more resilient than you thought possible. Owning a restaurant could be one of your passions, but it may not be financially feasible at the moment. Taking out a loan with a good interest rate from a reputable bank could be one of the ways to make your dreams come true. Fear is a normal part of the process. What sets people apart is their ability to overcome it.
Dreams encourage selflessness
Depending on what kind of dream you have, it could have a positive impact on society when you bring it to life. Your dream could contribute something of value to others2 while providing you with personal satisfaction. Have you always wanted to start a school in an impoverished community? Or maybe install water filters in places that don’t have clean water? Giving back to society is an essential part of life, and even if your dream isn’t specifically catered to charitable causes, fulfilling it might lead you in that direction.
Dreams prevent regret
Regret is a sad thing3 – it almost always consists of despair, remorse, and the longing to go back in time and do things over. Unfortunately, time only moves in one direction. One of the top regrets people have before they pass on is that they wish they had found their purpose much earlier in life4. If they had, they could have channeled their energy into it rather than working at a lot of things that ultimately didn’t full them. Your dream is already giving you a hint along with a roadmap to what you truly want. Listen, and avoid regret.
How Can You Fulfil Your Dreams?
At the beginning of every year, most of us make New Year’s resolutions. Unfortunately, as many of us know from experience, we participate enthusiastically in the beginning but fizzle out fairly quickly. This common experience serves as a metaphor for what happens when we try to achieve our dreams. Many times, we end up forgetting why we’re doing something and our excitement rapidly fades. How can we prevent this from curtailing our dreams?
Although it is obvious, it has to be said: the most effective way to achieve your dreams is to set specific goals. Goals act as a compass on your journey to fulfilment, laying out the direction and purpose of a particular project. When you set a goal, you are making a commitment to the success of your chosen path. Without this step, other steps cannot take place5.
The benefits of goal setting
Goals give clarity to your end vision
Without a clear goal, you are essentially spending your life running around without achieving very much. What you get is the illusion of doing a great many things, but when it comes down to it they don’t accomplish your initial purpose. You end up achieving the goals of others while sacrificing your own. Setting a clear goal prevents this from happening by giving you clarity and focus on what you ultimately want. You are forced to live more consciously, to ensure that every moment of your time is channeled into the things you want to do5.
Goals make things more manageable
Most people have big, elaborate dreams that can sometimes seem impossible to accomplish. The challenges and difficulties pile up before us, and we become frozen in the face of a seemingly insurmountable mountain. Good goal setting can help to combat this by breaking large goals into small, easily digestible pieces. Planning towards these smaller goals feels much more achievable and allows you to build confidence on your way to the larger goal. Research has also shown that hitting smaller milestones more frequently provides real motivation and more contentment over time6.
Having goals holds you accountable
Instead of constantly talking about your dreams and what you wish you could do, setting a goal moves your dream from something abstract to something concrete. You are now obligated to take action. In our lives we are often held accountable to the whims of others. Not this time. To fulfil our dreams, we are only accountable to ourselves for the goals we set. You are accountable to yourself when you choose to save RM1,000 instead of spending it on an expensive item. Furthermore, putting your money into a term deposit with good interest rates locks your money away (and helps to prevent unnecessary spending) while acting as a form of investment. By remaining accountable to your goals, you are in fact staying true to your desires5.
Goals let you measure progress
Setting specific goals lets you measure your performance against what you committed yourself to when you first set them. You will always have a fixed endpoint or benchmark to compare with7. Using a financial example, Adam sets a goal in January to save RM1,000 every month for his retirement. When June rolls around and Adam checks his account, he finds that he has only saved RM4,000. Adam realises he’s lagging behind and decides to deposit more next month to make up for the difference. In addition, Adam could set up a recurring monthly transfer via internet banking from his current account to his savings account so he doesn’t forget to save in future months. When you set clear, realistic goals you are helping yourself keep track of how far along you are to achieving your dreams.
Goals let you be the best you can be
Good goals are critical for you to achieve your full potential5. Without good goals (or any goals at all) it’s easy to fall into a set routine or pattern that’s comfortable and unchallenging. This complacency and familiarity is the enemy of growth, and to fulfilling your dreams. By setting goals, you set targets to strive for. These targets force you to explore new surroundings, situations, and opportunities that push you to stretch beyond your regular limits. Goals allow you to constantly test yourself against the old you, and hopefully you find that who you are now is the better version of yourself.
Why do People Fail to Achieve Their Dreams?
Fear of failure
Being afraid stops lots of people from otherwise achieving great things. While being “stuck” doing the same thing isn’t ideal, the brain chooses it over the uncertainty of the unfamiliar8. It’s intensely difficult (and almost illogical) for some people to risk everything especially when their current lifestyle is already satisfactory. The fear of failing also prevents people from succeeding if they’ve already decided to pursue their dreams. It often trumps the desire to achieve, and it reinforces beliefs that we don’t deserve our dreams. There is no easy way to overcome this besides facing it head on.
The need for immediate gratification
In our current society, getting immediate gratification seems to be the only way to live. Want to know something? Google it on your smartphone. Need to fight boredom while waiting? Choose from a wide variety of exciting games. Want to tell a friend something? Shoot them a text. We are constantly surrounded by convenience, and this has created a very impatient culture. Fulfilling our dreams does not work like that. They require late nights and early mornings, massive pressure and imminent rejections. Hence, people who cannot delay gratification and see beyond the now often fail because they are unable to focus on the long-term reward8. They succumb to their current needs instead of holding out for something better in the future.
Poor financial management can hinder a person’s progress while pursuing their dreams. Even if turning a pro t isn’t the main goal of a particular dream, many dreams require a significant amount of money to kick-start. Sometimes the stress of pumping their money (or investor money) into a dream starts to become overwhelming, especially if it isn’t turning out the way they thought it would. Additionally, having a negative financial blueprint, or distorted views of money may decrease the chances of success. If some people grew up hearing things like “Only the rich get richer,” and “It takes money to make money,” they may become disillusioned and believe that they will never succeed8. Having a healthy relationship with money can be a difficult thing to learn, but you can start by speaking to your friends or your financial institution about good money management.
Reasons for failure are often deeply complicated and can’t be neatly categorised into a few bullet points. Whether it’s due to fear of failure, the urge for immediate gratification, having poor money management, or a combination of the three, what’s clear is that people require the proper support and guidance to succeed.
Building your support system
Psychologists describe social support as “support accessible to an individual through social ties to other individuals, groups, and the larger community.” Numerous studies have indicated that social support is essential for maintaining physical and psychological health, while improving one’s resilience to stress and other environmental vulnerabilities9. Therefore, it is of utmost importance to build a support system that is strong and suited to your individual needs.
Who should be a part of your support system?
Family and friends
Our nearest and dearest may not always agree with us, but it’s nice to know that they’ve always got our backs. Having supportive family and friends empowers us to accomplish more than we thought possible, resulting in increased effectiveness at work and at home. Changes and hard times are more easily weathered when we feel like we have a strong team right behind us no matter what10. We all need reassurance, and having a strong support from the people closest to us drastically reduces potential isolation and loneliness.
Having the right business partners can make or break your dream. Whether they are angel investors or a financial institution, it is crucial to choose people you can trust. The right bank strives to understand your financial needs with personalised service, providing you the right direction when it comes to tough financial decisions. HSBC’s Premier Relationship Managers would be honoured to help in this journey towards your dreams by providing you with wealth management skills and access to all the available facilities of an international bank.
Make an appointment today or walk into an HSBC branch for more information.
1 Brainyquote.com, “Dream Quotes”, undated.
2 Nicholasferguson.org, “Why Should You Follow Your Dreams?”, undated.
3 Addicted2success.com, “16 reasons why its important to follow your dreams”, March 17, 2012.
4 Lifehack.org, “Top 7 Regrets of People Who Are Dying”, undated.
5 Personalexcellence.co, “6 Important Reasons Why You Should Set Goals”, undated.
6 Keepinspiring.me, “On The Importance Of Goal Setting: 6 Reasons Why You Need To Set Goals”, undated.
7 Codeofliving.com, “5 Powerful Reasons Why Goal Setting Is Important”, March 1, 2015.
8 Lensaunders.com, “Seven Reasons Why We Fail To Achieve Our Life Goals”, March 2, 2014.
9 Ncbi.nlm.nih.gov, “Social Support and Resilience to Stress”, May 2007.
10 Intentionalnetworker.com, “The benefits of a solid support system”, July 11, 2012.