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Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world. --Harriet Tubman

5 Ways to Kill Your Dreams

--by Bel Pesce, syndicated from ted.com, May 13, 2015


I dedicated the past two years to understanding how people achieve their dreams. When we think about the dreams we have, and the dent we want to leave in the universe, it is striking to see how big of an overlap there is between the dreams that we have and projects that never happen. (Laughter) So I'm here to talk to you today about five ways how not to follow your dreams.

One: Believe in overnight success. You know the story, right? The tech guy built a mobile app and sold it very fast for a lot of money. You know, the story may seem real, but I bet it's incomplete. If you go investigate further, the guy has done 30 apps before and he has done a master's on the topic, a Ph.D. He has been working on the topic for 20 years.

This is really interesting, I myself have a story in Brazil that people think is an overnight success. I come from a humble family, and two weeks before the deadline to apply to MIT, I started the application process. And, voila! I got in. People may think it's an overnight success, but that only worked because for the 17 years prior to that, I took life and education seriously. Your overnight success story is always a result of everything you've done in your life through that moment.

Two: Believe someone else has the answers for you. Constantly, people want to help out, right? All sorts of people: your family, your friends, your business partners, they all have opinions on which path you should take: "And let me tell you, go through this pipe." But whenever you go inside, there are other ways you have to pick as well. And you need to make those decisions yourself. No one else has the perfect answers for your life. And you need to keep picking those decisions, right? The pipes are infinite and you're going to bump your head, and it's a part of the process.

Three, and it's very subtle but very important: Decide to settle when growth is guaranteed. So when your life is going great, you have put together a great team, and you have growing revenue, and everything is set -- time to settle. When I launched my first book, I worked really, really hard to distribute it everywhere in Brazil. With that, over three million people downloaded it, over 50,000 people bought physical copies.When I wrote a sequel, some impact was guaranteed. Even if I did little, sales would be okay. But okay is never okay. When you're growing towards a peak, you need to work harder than ever and find yourself another peak. Maybe if I did little, a couple hundred thousand people would read it, and that's great already. But if I work harder than ever, I can bring this number up to millions. That's why I decided, with my new book, to go to every single state of Brazil. And I can already see a higher peak. There's no time to settle down.

Fourth tip, and that's really important: Believe the fault is someone else's. I constantly see people saying,"Yes, I had this great idea, but no investor had the vision to invest." "Oh, I created this great product, but the market is so bad, the sales didn't go well." Or, "I can't find good talent; my team is so below expectations." If you have dreams, it's your responsibility to make them happen. Yes, it may be hard to find talent. Yes, the market may be bad. But if no one invested in your idea, if no one bought your product, for sure, there is something there that is your fault. (Laughter) Definitely. You need to get your dreams and make them happen. And no one achieved their goals alone. But if you didn't make them happen, it's your fault and no one else's. Be responsible for your dreams.

And one last tip, and this one is really important as well: Believe that the only things that matter are the dreams themselves. Once I saw an ad, and it was a lot of friends, they were going up a mountain, it was a very high mountain, and it was a lot of work. You could see that they were sweating and this was tough. And they were going up, and they finally made it to the peak. Of course, they decided to celebrate, right? I'm going to celebrate, so, "Yes! We made it, we're at the top!" Two seconds later, one looks at the other and says, "Okay, let's go down." (Laughter)

Life is never about the goals themselves. Life is about the journey. Yes, you should enjoy the goals themselves, but people think that you have dreams, and whenever you get to reaching one of those dreams, it's a magical place where happiness will be all around. But achieving a dream is a momentary sensation, and your life is not. The only way to really achieve all of your dreams is to fully enjoy every step of your journey. That's the best way.

And your journey is simple -- it's made of steps. Some steps will be right on. Sometimes you will trip. If it's right on, celebrate, because some people wait a lot to celebrate. And if you tripped, turn that into something to learn. If every step becomes something to learn or something to celebrate, you will for sure enjoy the journey.

So, five tips: Believe in overnight success, believe someone else has the answers for you, believe that when growth is guaranteed, you should settle down, believe the fault is someone else's, and believe that only the goals themselves matter. Believe me, if you do that, you will destroy your dreams. (Laughter) Thank you.

This transcript and video originally appeared on TED. TED is a nonprofit devoted to spreading ideas, usually in the form of short, powerful talks.


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