The key to living a dream life.
Many people dream of a better life.
Many people dream of a better life. Then they make excuses for not realizing their dreams.
I could have made similar excuses. There were so many excuses I could have chosen. From the fact that I am one of eight siblings. Or my father died when I was five. Or my mother had to work in a factory to support us. Or the fact that my mother's family didn't want her children around.
Our beliefs bind us to our excuses.
So I could easily have made excuses. In fact I did. I blamed my circumstances for my life. I believed that the lord was punishing me. I believed that I was paying for my fathers sins. And that nothing good would come of my life. I believed that I was a loser and not good at anything - not even sport. This is what most people around me, kept telling me.
A lack of belief in myself, led to a lack of confidence, which in turn led me onto a destructive path.
And this lack of belief in myself, led to a lack of confidence, which in turn led me onto a destructive path. I began to believe that there was only one way to a better life and that was through crime, gangsterism and a life of destruction. I was a juvenile delinquent and prison beckoned.
Motivation begins with an insight.
One day, while out roaming, I had an insight that changed everything for me.
I thought about how my mother had her own house. Even thought it was a small house in one of the most dangerous areas on the Cape Flats, it was still a home. I did not have to live with people that did not want me. I did not have to live in other people's garages. My mother had her own home and I had my own home to go to. I realized that I was not unwanted, and that I had a home to go to.
My focus changed from being naughty, to trying to see what could happen if I applied myself, if I lived my potential.
I went home and sat in my room. I just thought about life. While understanding the environment within which I was in, I started looking for opportunities for myself. My focus changed from being naughty to trying to see what could happen if I applied myself, if I lived my potential.
I told my mother that I had not been at school for most of Grade 10 and half of the school year was already complete. I explained that because I was walking to school through an even more dangerous suburb, I was constantly at risk of getting violently attacked. My mother intervened. She enrolled me at another high school closer to home. For some reason the principal accepted me based on my grade 9 results - but with a warning that if I did anything wrong, I would get kicked out. Fortunately his warning was not real, as I got into a fight on my first day at the new school.
Searching for opportunities opens a pathway to achievement.
My first class was biology, and my neighbors were in my class. They sat in the front row and I joined them. They were the smartest in the class. And another light came on. They lived in the same area, yet they excelled at school. I started pulling up my socks and my grades improved for grade 10. In grade 11 and 12 I excelled and finished up with top honors for both years.
Because my mind was open and searching for positive opportunity instead of focusing on the poverty that was surrounding me, opportunity came my way.
Because my mind was open and searching for positive opportunity instead of focusing on the poverty that was surrounding me, opportunity came my way. I started participating in school sports just to stay out of trouble. I started reading books. I came across a book about the secret of super-achievers. The book really touched me and I started following some of the principles in the book, such as character, balance, discipline, self growth, humility and courage.
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.
It was like a switch went on. I told myself that a life of gangterism, drugs and crime was not for me. I dreamed of a better life. A life of abundance. A life filled with possibility.
In my matric year PriceWaterHouseCoopers invited the accounting students to their offices. Our accounting class comprised 5 students and only two of us went. When I saw these guys with laptops, suits and desks, I realized there is another world out there that I wasn't aware of. I dreamt of becoming a chartered accountant.
My first life goal.
"A Chartered Accountant." I had no idea of what it entailed, but I knew it would be my ticket to a better life. I spent a significant amount of time in the library figuring out the routes to become a CA.
Setting short term goals
I decided to teach myself and got study guides at the library. These study guides became my best friend
To be a sought after CA meant I needed to get articles with a big four firm. To get into a big four firm meant you study at the best universities. At the time UCT had the best CA stream program in the country. But to get into UCT, I needed to improve my Math mark. This was a stumbling block because my school only offered Maths in Standard Grade, and that meant I needed to get a minimum of a B grad or above 70%. At that time I was getting Es (30-40%), so a B was a long shot. I also struggled in other subjects and had to get an all round high average to be allowed onto the BCOM program. At the time, Maths was hard because we did not have a teacher for a certain period of time to guide us. I decided to teach myself and got study guides at the library. These study guides became my best friend and allowed me to figure out concepts that were difficult to understand without guidance.
Self improvement is about overcoming one obstacle after another
My first year at university was difficult. I had done Math on standard grade and all my peers had done math on higher grade. As a result Stats 101 was a breeze for them. I was again in a situation where I had to teach myself higher grade and pass it. At university there is no spoon feeding and no individual attention. The most time you could get with a tutor was five minutes in the evenings. Because I had to rely on public transport, I couldn't make use of tutors. To pay for bus fare, I worked weekends. I went to live in a different city (Johannesburg) with an aunt I had never met before. For articles I had to buy a car and get a drivers license. I had to travel to clients and being a new driver made that a risk. The company did not worry about how you were going to get to a client. They just assigned you to an audit.
Achieving a dream means avoiding distractions and keeping focused.
Never once did I take my eye off the goal. When I got distracted, or when things did not go according to plan, I would reassess and prioritize. This took discipline. I terminated my relationship with my girlfriend - who is now my wife. I told my friends not to call me for any parties. To my surprise my friends respected my wishes, because the dream was bigger than the party.
What I learned from achieving my dream of becoming a CA.
I learnt that with commitment and perseverance anything is possible and that failure only occurs if I give up.
I learnt that with commitment and perseverance anything is possible. That even if I fail, yes its painful, but I will try again and do things differently. Failure only occurs if I give up.
When ever I lost track of my goal I would reassess and re-motivate myself to keep on pushing and working towards the dream - as there is not other alternative. When I needed help I asked, and when people extended their hands, I grabbed the opportunity. I was not afraid to ask or make use of a kind gesture.
When I needed help I asked, and when people extended their hands, I grabbed the opportunity.
I was not afraid to ask or make use of a kind gesture.
I had a strong belief that anything is possible and that the future is what I make of it. I now know that if I'm willing to work hard, anything is possible and I will be rewarded.
Now when I have a dream, I think it through. I research what is required to achieve the dream and I then break it into goals (Milestones). Every action I then take has a purpose as it must lead me towards the goal. This is the same process I follow with my career, my life, and all activities I pursue.
How you can achieve your own dream of a better life.
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.)
Here are 4 steps to follow to achieve any dream.
1. Start with a dream, a dream with a purpose beyond the ego.
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.
2. Research and understand what it will take to reach that dream.
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 Honors 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? 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 this is a huge commitment. Think about exams, training contracts, 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.
3. Determine goals to direct you towards your dream.
Goals are not some future outcome.
Goals are actions that may require specific skills and knowledge.
The key to achieving goals, and thus realizing each one of your dreams, is to get clear on exactly what your goals are.
When you define your goals properly, they act like an elevator, pulling you closer towards the realization of each individual dream.
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 may need to redefine your goal to first obtaining the skills and knowledge you need. For me it was about starting with school and Maths.
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.
4. Create actions to achieve your goals.
This means doing what you need to do to achieve your goals.
Living your dream life.
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.