Monday, 11 August 2008

Goal Achievement - Why You Should Never Let Anyone Steal Your Dreams

Leading up to the Beijing Olympics I saw an online opinion poll where the majority of people thought that Dara Torres, at age 41, was too old to be competing. I must admit that rattled my cage a bit. I would hazard a guess that many of the individuals voting would probably get out of breath running for a bus.

Who are we to crush someone else's dreams, Olympic or otherwise? Dara Torres is fit, highly competitive, an experienced Olympic athlete and loves swimming so why shouldn't she compete in the games if she could qualify for her team. Needless to say, I was quietly rooting for her.

Torres was part of the USA 4 x 100m freestyle relay team. This event was won by the Netherlands in a new World Record time of 3:33:76 – fantastic! However, here's what may have generally gone unnoticed.

Torres, who anchored the USA team, swam the fastest leg compared to any of her younger team members. She was also swam a faster leg than any other member of the Dutch team. She just had too much ground to make up but it was a solid performance to lead her team home in silver medal position.

When you set challenging goals for yourself you may also receive criticism such as:

~ You're too old.
~ You're too young.
~ You're too inexperienced.

The criticism may even come from you - your inner voice. You are simply feeling fear and this is not necessarily a bad thing. It's only negative if you allow your fear to paralyse you so that you don't take action until your dream you becomes a distant memory of what might have been.

Similarly, if you are receiving criticism from others it's often because they are fearful or even envious or jealous. They may not be very ambitious and your desire to achieve grand goals may make them feel uncomfortable. They may also wish to protect you from disappointment.

Yet, they forget that the important part of achieving a goal is not so much the achievement of the goal itself - it's what you become as you strive to achieve your goal. So if you put your all into achieving your goal and it still doesn’t come into fruition all is not lost.

If you allow other people to steer you away from your dreams have failed before you have even begun because essentially you'd be trying to live someone else's life and that is simply not possible.

Earl Nightingale said:

"Some people tiptoe through life hoping to make it safely to death."

In other words, they are afraid to take risks and go after their dreams. And yet that's why we're here.

However, I rather suspect that Dara Torres is among those with the slightly more contrasting view that:

"Life's journey is not to arrive at the grave in a pristine, well-preserved body, but rather skid in sideways, totally used up and worn out, shouting "Holy shit! What a ride!"

So don't let anyone steal your dreams. Pursue your dreams with all the vigour you can muster.

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