Today’s post is an excerpt from my book, Put Your Dream to the Test: 10 Questions that Will Help You See It and Seize It. I hope it’s helpful to you in your pursuit of your dreams.

Know the Answers Before You Take the Test

When you were a kid in school, do you remember a teacher doing a review before a test and saying something like, “Pay attention now because this is going to be on the test”? I do. The encouraging teachers who wanted to see their students succeed said things like that all the time. They wanted us to be prepared so that we could do well. They put us to the test, but they set us up for success.

My desire is to be like one of those encouraging teachers to you. I want to prepare you to put your dream to the test so that you can actually achieve it. How? I believe that if you know the right questions to ask yourself, and if you can answer these questions in an affirmative way, you will have an excellent chance of being able to achieve your dreams. The more questions you can answer positively, the greater the likelihood of success! That’s the reason I wrote this book.

The Right and Wrong Picture of a Dream

I’ve studied successful people for almost forty years. I’ve known hundreds of high-profile people who achieved big dreams. And I’ve achieved a few dreams of my own. What I’ve discovered is that a lot of people have misconceptions about dreams. Take a look at many of the things that people pursue and call dreams in their lives:

  • Day Dreams – Distractions from Current Work
  • Pie-in-the-Sky Dreams – Wild Ideas with No Strategy or Basis in Reality
  • Bad Dreams – Worries that Breed Fear and Paralysis
  • Idealistic Dreams – The Way the World Would Be If You Were in Charge
  • Vicarious Dreams – Dreams Lived Through Others
  • Romantic Dreams – Belief that Some Person Will Make You Happy
  • Career Dreams – Belief that Career Success Will Make You Happy
  • Destination Dreams – Belief that a Position, Title, or Award Will Make You Happy
  • Material Dreams – Belief that Wealth or Possessions Will Make You Happy
  • Seasonal Dreams – A Short Term Target You Try to Reach

If these aren’t good dreams-valid ones worthy of a person’s life-then what are? Here is my definition of a dream that can be put to the test and pass: a dream is an inspiring picture of the future that energizes your mind, will, and emotions, empowering you to do everything you can to achieve it.

A genuine dream is a picture and blueprint of a person’s purpose and potential. Or as my friend Sharon Hull says, “A dream is the seed of possibility planted in the soul of a human being, which calls him to pursue a unique path to the realization of his purpose.”


Any other definitions of a dream that inspire you? If you’re on Twitter, I’ve started a hashtag (sort of like a themed conversation) labeled this way: #dreamtest.

There I’m sharing some of my favorite quotes and concepts from Put Your Dream to the Test. In addition to comments here, I’d love to see more dream-related twitter posts by you.

Twitter even allows you to track all mentions of a hashtag. Friends who are more tech-minded than I am say that you can follow hashtag conversations by tweeting follow #_____. Example, follow #dreamtest will put all tweets with that hashtag into your twitterstream.

Twitterstream? Hashtag? Tweet? If all this talk about Twitter sounds like a foreign language to you, read on:

It’s easy to sign up on Twitter. Once you create an account, you can follow me here: @johncmaxwell.

For more about Hashtags, read this helpful article on TwiTip.

All Hashtags are compiled and listed on


Remember, I’m a Twitter newbie too.

In fact, without my blog administrator, I would be clueless. She recommends the blog TwiTip by Darren Rowse if you want to really “get it.”

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