Don’t Waste Your Life Dreaming

"winter's coming." by *whimsical @ FlickrThis website is devoted to following your dreams, chasing after your ambitions, and changing your life for the better.  The content of my articles is intended to inspire people, to help them focus inward on their desires, to reflect on where their path has led them & where they want to go from here.  Inspiration & introspection are only a fraction of what it takes to actually accomplish your goals.  It is not enough to be inspired.  It is not enough to admit your mistakes.  It is not enough to dream about a better life.

None of this will bring you any closer to accomplishing anything.  Yes, inspiration and dreaming are powerful motivators but they change nothing if you never push beyond them.  You can’t just dream about being successful.  It isn’t enough to daydream about laying on the beach in the south of Spain.  You cannot wish your body into becoming slim & fit.  Dreams require action in order to become reality.

One of my goals is to run a marathon.  I have never ran more than a few miles at one time in my entire life.  I have ran a mile or two once in a while but could I possibly complete a 26-mile marathon?  In my mind I feel anyone has the ability to do anything, it just takes dedication & a willingness to work towards that goal.  It is much easier to sit on my couch in front of the television & watch people run than it is for me to find the desire to pick myself up and go for a run.  The sweat and pain that comes with pushing our physical limitations can be unpleasant but I find my motivation in knowing that if I am willing to endure, someday I will run in a marathon & I will finish.

My friend Noah has been training for an upcoming mini-marathon for a little over a month.  In this time he has gone from being unable to run more than a mile to running more than 10 miles.  That is impressive!  It shows exactly how much a person can accomplish if they are motivated & willing to harness that energy.  I joined him today & ran further than I ever have before, six miles.  It isn’t marathon distance, but it is a beginning.  Even after running all of that distance, at the very end we both pushed ourselves to finish the last 100 yards in a sprint.  We were both sweating & exhausted but it was worth the effort.  I was filled with a sense of pride for having pushed myself to finish.

I know that without his encouragement I wouldn’t have gotten out of bed early to go for a run.  Hearing him talk about how much he has improved over the course of a month has made me realize that it takes effort, lots of it, to become a better person.  Whether you are training for a marathon or trying to get out of debt, it takes effort.  You have to make sacrifices at first.  You might feel like giving up, but as you wipe the sweat from your brow & look at how far you’ve come since the beginning, you dig deep within yourself to find the energy to push as hard as you can to the finish line.

Effort is what separates those who dream from those who are living a dream.  A dream is nothing more than a dream if you don’t chase after it.  A goal means nothing if you don’t strive to accomplish it.  Dream your dream, find your inspiration & make it a reality.

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Standing Outside the Storm

"Lightning 2 ~Hand that swing a cradle can shake the world!~" by neeZhom ~ away ~ @ Flickr

While driving through Montana I was taken by the expansive view such a vast landscape allows a person to behold.  It is almost as if you can see the curvature of the Earth as the land disappears over the horizon.  I was able to watch as thunderstorms in the distance moved across the sky & I realized that I was witnessing something special.  I was standing outside the storm.  I could see both the front of the storm as well as the end, a perspective which the people who were directly underneath were unable to see.

I was reminded of life & the personal storms we encounter.  There are times when it seems as if the cloud above us will never dissipate.  Maybe we were able to see the front as it made it way closer but now that we are in the midst of all the chaos and darkness an end is nowhere in sight.

Many things in life can cause us to feel depressed, sad or hopeless but just like the Earth needs rain in order to flourish, so do we need these moments of darkness to strengthen us in times of warmth & light.  We are stronger for having overcome our pain & hardships.  We are able to use them as lessons which we can build upon.

Not always are we able to stand upon the horizon & watch the storm as it passes in the distance.  Eventually everyone will experience some bad weather in one form or another and as storms do, it too shall pass.  Every storm comes to an end.   As we find ourselves in the middle of our own storm, remember that with the passing of the darkness will come warmth and sunshine, a hope for better days.