Last year, my new life began to slowly unfold itself. An image of my dream materialised when the first draft of my upcoming novel was completed. My blogging hopped on a roller coaster ride of experimentation: changes, reversion, temporary halt, and additions. My life purpose, vision, mission, and dreams reshaped themselves after walking the path of knowing oneself. I felt on top of the world, figuratively, yearning to scream my excitement in a new found life I had. Then something stabbed me in the back, an unforeseen reality that threatened to turn my nirvana into despair, disappointment, and descent. I watched my friends and family ignore my dreams and me, their silence as painful like a knife to a heart. I felt crushed, I cried, and I cried.
Let's look at the previous paragraph in a different way. What follows next is a list of important phrases I picked from it:
- my new life
- my dream
- my upcoming novel
- my blogging
- my life purpose, vision, mission, and dreams
- my nirvana
- my friends and family
- I felt on top of the world
- I had (new found life)
- I watched
- I felt crushed
- I cried
Let's apply some equality. If my = I (my is equals to I), what do the phrases above have in common? You got it. I.
As we kick off a new year with goals and plans to get us closer to our dreams, it is imperative that we know the most important letter in the pursuit of our dreams. It's the letter I.
From the day you were born until the day you die, there is only one person with you at all times - yourself. Yourself = I.
I cried. I got pissed seeing my friends support other's work and share them on social media while ignoring mine. Even some encouragement didn't go my way. That was the case with my blood relations as well. The lack of support and kind words from people who supposedly cared about you, I found that odd. I pissed away the anger and disappointment, and made a vow that even without them behind me, I would carry on. If I allowed the disappointment to discourage me from my dreams, then I would lose. If I allowed the lack of support to hold me back from even trying, then my life would become a shadow of what it was meant to be. If I allowed the fear of loneliness to cripple me, then my dreams would die even before I did. Such a travesty.
I is for Inspiration.
Most of us get inspired by someone or something. You probably watched Steve Jobs' Stanford Commencement Address and thought you would like to be an important figure in history like him. You might've watched Madonna's MDNA Tour, felt amazed how a 50-year old woman could still perform like that, and thought you would begin to get in shape so you could still kick ass when you're older. You might've seen documentaries about poverty in Africa and thought you would like to be a part in changing that. That's great! That's awesome!
J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter series entered my life when I was in college. Like millions around the world, I got hooked. However, it was more than that. The magical world of the series reminded me of my childhood days when the lack of toys pushed me to make the most of what I had and allowed me to create imaginary worlds out of pebbles and stones, the falling water from the faucet, the steps of the stairs, and the plant vases my grandfather watered everyday. I thought if she could put into words a world as colourful as that, so could I.
It would take me a decade to gain the confidence and self-belief needed to pursue that dream and finally embrace writing. Something also happened along the way. As I re-awakened to the new me, I stumbled upon great people leading a revolution of enlightenment. James Clear, Chad Howse, Darren Hardy, Jason Ferruggia, Dan Blank, Leo Babauta, Tony Robbins, Farnoosh Brock, Chris Guillebeau, Seth Godin, to name a few. As my mind opened itself to new dimensions, my inspiration grew. Soon enough, I found myself indirectly learning from them. While the roster of people who inspire me has changed, the inspiration remains the same.
Whoever or whatever it is that inspires you, the inspiration comes back to you. You can meet the most successful and most hardworking person on Earth but if you are not open you will not get inspired. You may bear witness to some sad and heartbreaking events in the world but if you are not compassionate enough you will not get inspired. The Harry Potter series reminded me of my childhood imagination. James Clear and company re-ignited that part of me that loved helping people and providing value into their lives, most present during my college teaching days. You are the source of your own inspiration. Nothing can light that fire inside you if you are not flammable. I is for Inspiration.
I is for Initiative.
Darren Hardy said in his book The Compound Effect, "Choices are the root of every one of your results." Successful and happy people know they are in control of their decisions and their choices. It's even better when you choose to act or take charge before coming to a point where you must make a decision.
Nobody told me to desire writing a book. My mother bought me books when I was a child but she didn't walk to me and state, "Son, someday you must write a book." My co-worker didn't tap me on the shoulder and say, "Stop writing software codes and start writing a book." Nobody told me to write a book except myself. Unfortunately, it took me a long while to realise it. One day, I admitted my life felt empty and declared, "My life is going to waste if I didn't give my dream a chance. Fuck it. I'mma do it!" Here I am, today.
Dreams went to the graves with their owners because their masters decided not to pursue them. Fear, doubts, and misalignment to core values are most of the reasons for that. People unjustly allow their family, friends, significant others, or worse, society to dictate what they should do with their lives. They mute their inner voice and old their lives into what others expect of them. Thus, they began to wither away, living a life without any colour. Again, such a travesty.
Your dream must be yours and yours alone. Ignore everybody. It's your life and your dream, not theirs. Whatever becomes of your life is a result of your choices. Whatever your choices are, you are in control. Before you hop on the path of your dreams, you must choose to act. You must initiate. I is for Initiative.
I is for Intention
One of a human's most important question in life is, "Why am I put here on Earth?"
Darren Hardy, in The Compound Effect, said, "All of the hows will be meaningless until your whys are powerful enough." You made plans on how you will lose weight but why do you want to lose weight? You laid out a monthly budget to help you pay off your debt but why do you want to be debt-free? You wrote an outline for your book but why do you want to write a book?
Let me answer that last question. I want to write a book because I have messages and stories to share. I want to inspire and motivate people who were probably on the same boat that I was before. I want to show people that you can always change your life and strive for your dreams. That is my intention.
See also: Why?
When you know your why, your life will move with purpose. When given a choice between eating junk food or healthy food, you'll pick the healthy option. Why? Because you don't want to be unhealthy anymore. When given a choice between watching TV or reading a book, you'll grab the book. Why? You want to learn something new. When given a choice between reading a magazine or a leadership book, I choose the leadership book. Why? It will teach me lessons valuable in inspiring and motivating people.
If you know your "Why", the things you do will be congruent to your dreams and vision. I is for Intention.
See also: Is Your Bucket List Truly Yours?
I is for Imagination
Once you're confident and ready to go, it's time to go out there in the battlefield of chasing your dreams. There are some things you need to do.
You must be aware. Signs and opportunities will be laid out in front of you but you must know how to recognise them.
You must be able to solve challenges and obstacles. When you find yourself out of options, then you must know how to improvise.
You must carve your own path. Sure, you can study how successful people made it but you cannot walk their paths in their entirety. You can only learn from them and know when to innovate yours.
You must continuously reshape your dream. This doesn't mean lacking conviction in what you want. Instead, it means being open to the possibility of your dreams growing.
For you to be able to do the things above, you need imagination.
You are the artist of your dream's canvas. What colours that will be in it, what shapes and lines you will draw, and how the painting will become rest in your hands. You will paint your own masterpiece.
I made a rookie "mistake" of scattering myself to multiple places. I dealt with it and decided to own up to it. That's why I have two main websites: www.xenohemlock.com and www.hemlocktime.com. Some people might advise against this, but I choose to keep my two hands with those websites.
You are the author of your dreams. I is for Imagination.
Despite the failures and mistakes I made last year as I began walking the path of my dreams, I carry on. I'd rather die failing than die not trying. Some people quit on themselves and their dreams die with them, unsung, unspoken of, and unrealised. There are already too many of them. Don't be another.
I is the most important letter in your pursuit of your dream. You are the source, the protector, the leader, the gardener, and the warrior of your dreams. If you believe, no one and nothing can stop you. Now say this out loud, "I breathe. I live. I dream."