Why Dreams Die

Have you ever wondered why dreams die? Why do people settle for lives that are less than what they imagined? How is it that too many of us (most of us) quit on our dreams and decide they’re no longer worth chasing?

People talk a lot about making a difference and changing the world, and that’s all well and good, but the problem with dreams is that they are just that: dreams.

Dreams don’t pay bills. The exchange rate on what-ifs is not great.

It takes a certain, somewhat rare, mindset to come up with purposeful ideas that will change things for the better, but it takes an entirely different mindset to bring those ideas to life.

See, most people hear success stories and think that great ideas and the audacity to dream is all you need to succeed. But it’s not true.

Dreams require a lot of planning, and more than anything, a lot of action. Thinking and dreaming and hypothesizing mean absolutely nothing until you take the necessary steps to bring it to life.

It can be inconvenient to map out the details, and even more inconvenient to actually take the small steps to carry out the details, but you have to have a detailed plan and detailed action to make it work.

The bigger lesson here is to not only make a plan, and not only take action on that plan, but take consistent action. Meaning, don’t give up after a week. Don’t give up after a month, or two months, or six. 

It’s tough, I know, but you have to pace yourself in order to be consistent, and consistency builds amazing things. After all, you know what they say about eating an elephant.

And there’s another reason why dreams fizzle…

I think the word fortitude best describes it.

Building a dream sucks. It’s easy to look at other peoples’ success and lose sight of that, but the truth remains. It’s a TON of hard work to build something that makes a real difference.

When you’ve worked 90 out of the last 120 hours and you haven’t even begun to scratch the surface of what it’s going to take to launch your idea, much less keep it going, that’s when most people stop. When you’re exhausted and stressed out, and it’s all for a vision, that’s the moment when the awesomeness of your dream kind of starts to go away.

You absolutely must have a plan of action that includes struggles and failure. That plan also needs to include some long hours, late nights, and sacrifices, but you need to plan for what happens when you hit a wall and are ready to quit – because it will happen. Anything else is wishful thinking. 

It’s easy to overlook that part because the dream is the fun part. But consistent work and fortitude is what puts you in the place to grow into something great and inspiring generations to come.

Look, having a dream is a wonderful thing, don’t get me wrong. Trust me, I’m full of them. After all, dreams are how all great things start. But until there’s a plan to actually put legs and feet and boots on that dream, it’s nothing but another cool story to tell people about. And frankly, most people are tired of talk.

Posted by Mike P. Taylor

Mike P. Taylor is an author, speaker, and coach who helps people find purpose so they can live and work with clear direction. He lives in Decatur, Alabama with his wife Sydney and their four kids. Learn more about him here.