Having a dream is like holding a glass figurine—it’s fragile and will shatter as soon as you let go of it. As poet Langston Hughes advised, we must “Hold fast to dreams, for if dreams die, life is a broken-winged bird that cannot fly.” What does it mean to cling tenaciously to a dream?

For starters, we keep hold of our dream by refusing to let adverse circumstances dissuade us from following it. Quitting is more about who we are than where we are. Most people give up on their dream far too quickly. They blame external challenges for halting their progress, but in actuality, they have surrendered to internal doubts or fears. The only guaranteed way to lose a dream is to stop trying to achieve it.

We also put our dreams at risk by when we delay action until conditions are ideal. Waiting for everything to be right is wrongheaded. As Jonathan Winters wrote, “If your ship doesn’t come in, swim out to meet it.” When chasing a dream, forward motion attracts provision. Too often we want to have the resources in hand before making a move. However, vision doesn’t follow resources. It happens the other way around. First we have the dream. Then we move ahead. Then—and only then—do people and resources follow.

In addition, to persevere in pursuit of the dream, we must learn to think differently. Believe it or not, successful people don’t spend the majority of their time thinking about the specifics of what must be done. Instead, they spend about twice as much time reflecting on what they have already accomplished and on how they are capable of accomplishing what they set out to do. They revisit past triumphs and visualize their strengths leading to future victories in order to give them motivation for the battle at hand.

Thought to Ponder

Your dream will take longer to accomplish than you realize and will be harder to achieve than you anticipate, but it will be far more rewarding than you could ever imagine. Perseverance sustains your dream. It means succeeding because you’re determined to, not destined to. Don’t let weariness weigh you down. Instead, refuse to let your present surroundings dictate the fate of your dream. Press ahead even when everything isn’t perfectly in place, and renew your thinking each day by recalling past successes and by taking notice of your strengths and abilities.

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