One of the biggest challenges you face is to have an idea about what you want to do, who you want to be and where you want to reach. Think about this for a minute. Think about yourself 5 or 10 years from today.

Where would you want be? What would you want to be doing? Who would you want to be spending your time with? What if you don’t know? What if you haven’t got it all figured out?

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What if you aren’t alive 5 years from now? Would you be at peace with what you did with your life?

“You Don’t Have To Have A Dream. Americans on talent shows always talk about their dreams. Fine, if you have something that you’ve always dreamed of, like, in your heart, go for it! After all, it’s something to do with your time… chasing a dream. And if it’s a big enough one, it’ll take you most of your life to achieve, so by the time you get to it and are staring into the abyss of the meaninglessness of your achievement, you’ll be almost dead so it won’t matter.

I never really had one of these big dreams. And so I advocate passionate dedication to the pursuit of short-term goals. Be micro-ambitious. Put your head down and work with pride on whatever is in front of you… you never know where you might end up. Just be aware that the next worthy pursuit will probably appear in your periphery. Which is why you should be careful of long-term dreams. If you focus too far in front of you, you won’t see the shiny thing out of the corner of your eye.”

– Tim Minchin

Let’s think about it this way – What if we actually make the most of what we have and want today? What if none of us has any long term goals? No aspiring Founders & CEOs, no aspiring Scientists, no aspiring Architects. What if we want to be marathon champions one day and amazing coders tomorrow? Is it possible to live such a life of adventure?

Meet Tim Ferris, author of The 4-Hour Workweek (highly recommended read by me), The 4-Hour Body, and The 4-Hour Chef. Above all, Tim is an advocate of Lifestyle Design.

Tim has amassed a diverse (and certainly odd) roster of experiences:

    • Princeton University guest lecturer in High-Tech Entrepreneurship and Electrical Engineering
    • Finance and Entrepreneurship advisor at Singularity University at NASA Ames, co-founded by Peter Diamandis and Ray Kurzweil.
    • First American in history to hold a Guinness World Record in tango
    • Speaker of 5 languages
    • National Chinese kickboxing champion
    • Horseback archer (yabusame) in Nikko, Japan
    • 2009 Henry Crown Fellow at the Aspen Institute
    • Political asylum researcher
    • MTV breakdancer in Taiwan
    • Hurling competitor in Ireland
    • Wired Magazine’s “Greatest Self-Promoter of 2008″
    • Tim received his BA from Princeton University in 2000, where he studied in the Neuroscience and East Asian Studies departments.

What if you aren’t that big a fan of adventure? What if all you want is a quiet life with your family in your farmhouse? Is it not a big enough dream? Is not dreaming big an offense too? Claire Vannette doesn’t think so. In response to How can I be more passionate? How can I find my passion?, she answered:

Here’s what the motivational speakers don’t want to tell you: Not everyone has a passion, and not everyone needs one. This whole idea that you should “follow your bliss” or whatever is an incredibly modern idea, and one that only the most privileged can actually put into action.

If you don’t have a passion, that’s fine. Get a job you don’t hate, treat people well, have fun, and keep your eyes and ears open for new experiences. Maybe you’ll wake up one morning and feel passionate about something. Maybe you won’t. You can live a good life either way.

I think it is important to realize the fact that frantically searching for something to keep you happily occupied for the rest of your life is not a necessity. We change because our desires, ideas, and dreams change. Imagining a completely planned out life is as scary as not knowing anything about our future. Most start-ups or organizations go through tons of changes before they reach a place where they know their direction. And then they change some more. Change is constant, change is necessary. It is perfectly alright not to have a definite idea about where your life is headed, as long as you’re happy with what you are presently doing, and as long as it is contributing to the society in a positive way.

The Power of Dreams:

If you do have a dream, then you should do everything you can to realize it. If you know exactly what you want to do with the rest of your life, then do it. Never wait for permission.

“It’s much easier to apologize than it is to get permission.” – Rear Admiral Grace Hopper

To dream big , we will need to have a healthy disregard for others’ opinions of us. We will need to work against the tide for a long time before things start working in our favor. But it is a fight worth fighting.

“The crowning fortune of a man is to be born to some pursuit which finds him employment and happiness, whether it be to make baskets, or broadswords, or canals, or statues, or songs.” -Ralph Waldo Emerson

The power of dreams cannot be overlooked. Of ideas which change the world, for better or for worse. Henry Ford’s dreams revolutionized transportation. Hitler’s dreams changed the the entire map of the world.

“Never underestimate the power of dreams and the influence of the human spirit. We are all the same in this notion: The potential for greatness lives within each of us.” – Wilma Rudolph

Of course, just having a dream isn’t enough. It’s not going to plant itself, take root and grow on its own. We need to learn how to realize it too. We need to start working towards our goals and learn all the tricks and trade, of reaching where we want to reach, on the way.

A compass, I learned when I was surveying, it’ll… it’ll point you True North from where you’re standing, but it’s got no advice about the swamps and deserts and chasms that you’ll encounter along the way. If in pursuit of your destination, you plunge ahead, heedless of obstacles, and achieve nothing more than to sink in a swamp… What’s the use of knowing True North? –Daniel Day Lewis as Abraham Lincoln in Lincoln (2012).

[Editor’s Note: This post has been reproduced from a friend’s blog on Quora. Do check it out]

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