The formula for achieving your dream

March 12, 2015

In publishing my first book, I achieved part of my dream. In hitting break-even in only two months, I’m getting closer to the next step—becoming a full-time author who can support himself with his writing.

But there’s a difference between these dreams. The first one, finishing my book and independently publishing it, was mostly a struggle with myself. The ongoing struggle of sales is against other forces, and they’re outside my control.

But in achieving part of my dream, I’ve learned the formula, or at least I think I have.

It all comes down to how hard you work, how smart you work, how much you learn, and what you’re willing to sacrifice to achieve your dream.

  1. How hard you work. You have to work hard. You have to slave away. You have to do a large body of work while you’re still shit at your art, and you have to slog through that dip until you get better. It’s about perseverance, about fighting through the gap. This is where most people give up.
  2. How smart you work. If you’re working stupid, you might as well not be working at all. You have to work on how you work, diligently improving so every ounce of effort yields greater dividends. You need action, not motion. This creates leverage. If you’re banging your head against a wall and whining about getting nowhere, you’re wasting your time. It’s not always easy to tell when you’re working smart, though, until you’ve worked dumb plenty of times.
  3. How much you learn. Ties into #2. Learn voraciously. Steal from everyone. Import, don’t recycle. Learn business, personal finance, philosophy, psychology, art different than yours, etc. Learn everything you can, and then learn more. It’s through the synthesis of disparate ideas that you’ll create something new. All that knowledge will come in handy.
  4. What you’re willing to sacrifice. I’ve sacrificed my social life, my dating life, professional promotions, and much more on the alter of my dream. I would sacrifice more. There are some things you shouldn’t sacrifice—sacrifice your health and you’ll soon find yourself unable to work—but you have to cut things to the bone. Maybe you won’t have to make the sacrifices. Sometimes you can balance them. But you have to be willing to sacrifice much in order to obtain that which others covet.

Everyone knows about the first two, or they should. The third one isn’t as well-adopted, though it’s killer for those who do. But to my eyes, the fourth is what separates the victors from the lightweights. When I’m willing to sacrifice my free time for years for my goal, if I’m up against someone who isn’t willing to do at least that much—then I’m going to leave them in my dust.

This doesn’t guarantee success. I can control whether I finish a book, so there it might, but while there are things I can do to influence sales, there are no guarantees. I could do everything right and never reach my goal. But I believe that if I want it hard enough to follow this framework, I’ll make it.

You can too, if you want it badly enough.

As always, thank you for using my Amazon Affiliate link (info).

By Stephen W. Gee

Author of Wage Slave Rebellion, Freelance Heroics, and about two good blog posts out of a hundred.

1 Comment

  1. Reply

    Diane

    Absolutely. It’s not only about hard work, but working smart. I was just reading this post: http://inspower.co/achieve-your-dreams/ and thought about the points you were mentioning. Short cuts won’t work unless you’ve got a good strategy. Good read, thnx!

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