Many people dream of a better life, millions in South Africa, and they make many excuses for not realizing their dreams. I could have made excuses, there were so many to choose from, the fact that I’m 1 of 8 siblings, that my father died when I was five, and that my mother had to work in a factory to support us and no-one not even her own family wanted her children around.
I can make excuses, in fact I did, I blamed my circumstance for my life and I believed that the lord was punishing me, I believed that I was paying for my father’s sins and that nothing good will come of my life. I believed I was a loser and not good at anything, not even sport. That is what most people told me, and this lack of confidence in myself and that people had of me lead me onto a destructive path.
I was a juvenile delinquent and prison beckoned. I was a survivor and I knew that there was only one way into a better life and that was through crime, gangsterism and a life of destruction. But the lord had better plans for my life, he made me realise the error in my ways and showed me the light.
It was like a switch went on and I told myself that a life of gangsterism, drugs and crime was not for me. I dreamed of a better life, a life of abundance, a life filled with possibility. But for me to live that dream i needed to take action. I made a decision that all my mothers preaching about education was my key to a better a life. I decided to become a Chartered Accountant. I had no idea what it entailed but i knew it will be my ticket. I did my research, spending a significant amount of time at the library figuring out the routes to become a Chartered Accountant. I then determined what I needed to do to realise this dream.
The dream of a better life started with being a Chartered Accountant (CA). Once i figured out what that entailed i realised that to be sort after as a CA meant getting articles with a big four firm. To get into a big four firm required that you study at the best universities. At the time UCT had the best CA stream programme in the country. When i realised what the entry criteria was to get into UCT and realised I had to pull up my socks and improve my Math mark. Math was a stumbling block because my school only offered it in Standard Grade and that meant i need to get a Minimum of a B grade (70% or more). At the time i was getting Es (30 to 40%) so a B was a long shot especially given that I also struggled in other subjects and had to get a certain average to be allowed onto the B Com programme. Knowing Math was my stumbling block, not because it was hard but because we actually did. It have a teacher for a certain period of time to teach us or guide us with the relevant concepts. I decided to teach myself and got study guides at the Library. Those study guides became my best friend and allowed me to figure our concepts that was very difficult to comprehend without guidance.
Needless to say, I managed to qualify as a CA but never once did I take my eye off my goal. Where i got distracted and things did not go according to plan I would reassess and re prioritize. This took discipline. I terminated my relationship with my girl friend, now my wife, and told my friends not to call me for any party. I’m sure she still does not forgive me because it seems to find it way randomly into a conversation. To my surprise, my friends respected my wishes because the dream was bigger than the party. Funny enough, I recently ran into a friends ex girlfriend who told me I look familiar. I remembered her and told her who I was friends with. She continued to probe and then asked if I was the guy that studied accounting, amazing that that was all she remembered but I guess it’s because she sore the dedication.
So if you want to achieve your dreams there is a process that needs to be followed, because realizing a dream is not guaranteed. There are many obstacles and challenges that could derail you from your dream. I had many failures and needed to reassess continuously. To assess whether you will achieve your dream you need to set concrete goals. Goals are measurable and are the stepping stones needed when you build that stairway to heaven(dream)
1 start with a dream, a dream with a purpose beyond the ego
2 Research and understand what it will take to reach that dream.
3 Determine goals to direct you towards your dream
4 Create actions to achieve your goals
When you define your goals properly, they act like an elevator, pulling you closer towards the realization of each individual dream.
As an example, let’s say that you want to become a Chartered Accountant (CA).That’s a dream, not a goal, because it represents some future outcome.
To determine the actual goal, you need to ask yourself two questions:
Do I have the abilities needed to study for the CA exam? There are certain skills and knowledge that you must obtain in order to even sit for the CA exam, such as an Honours degree in Accounting and doing a articles at a accredited accounting and auditing firm. Do you meet those requirements to do the degree. If the answer is no then you must assess what you need to do to get into the degree, is it even possible.
If the answer is yes, you must ask yourself Can I perform the action required? Do I have the time to study for the exam as there is a huge commitment, exams, training contract, studying while working, financial resources, etc.
If you answer yes to these then you have your goal and can then build the stepping stones to your stairway.
The key to achieving goals, and thus realizing each one of your dreams, is to get clear on exactly what your goals are. Goals are not some future outcome. Goals are actions that require specific skills and knowledge. You must first determine if you have the prerequisite specific skills and knowledge before you define your goal. If you don’t, then you must redefine your CA goal:
Obtain the skills and knowledge that you need in order to sit for the CA exam, for me that started with school and math.
Once you understand the true definition of a goal, all goals then become 100% achievable. Each dream, such as becoming a CA, requires that you achieve specific goals. Some dreams require that you achieve multiple goals. Once you achieve those goals, your dream is realized. Then you define your next dream and create goals around that dream.
You dream life is the realization of multiple dreams. It’s like a stairway. Each time you realize a dream, you take another step on that stairway. When you realize all of your dreams, you reach the top of that stairway. Your dream life awaits you at the top of that stairway. Achieving goals allows you to climb that stairway. Goals are your transportation system to your dream life.
Live a life filled with dreams