How to Achieve your Dream Life
Growing up, the hardest question for me to answer was:
“What do you want to be when you grow up?”
I never gave it much thought, since my life was preoccupied with homework, school drama and watching TV. My focus was either spent on distractions or recalling past details.
Never did I consider a vision of my future.
I’ve slowly broken out of the modern conditioning of society. The one that tells you to follow the modern script.
Go to school. Study hard. Get a degree. Work for 40 years. Retire. Die.
You must have a vision of your life, a purpose or a mission. Without one, you become reactive — a cog in the machine of today’s capitalist society. If you don’t find your purpose, you will be assigned one and if that doesn’t resonate with you, you’ll resort to pleasure as an escape.
Unfortunately, temporary pleasures seem fulfilling enough. But in reality, they’re just distractions. I’m not just speaking from research, I’m speaking from experience.
Pleasure and instant gratification would never satisfy you in the long-term. The thrill of playing video games ends when you turn off the controller. The excitement of getting likes on social media fades until you crave more.
This lifestyle is not sustainable. You become hooked and dependent.
In other words, you become a slave to comfort when you prioritize pleasure.
It took me countless books, YouTube videos and hours of deep reflection to realize what I wanted. And what I didn’t want.
What I Want
I want a life of freedom. Autonomy. Control. Purpose. Meaningful impact. A life without regrets. A life surrounded by people I’ve connected deeply with. A family that I can provide and protect for. And a mission that would impact the next generations.
Now, most people would say this is unrealistic.
In fact, highly unnecessary.
But living an average and mediocre life puts me off so much. To the point where it fuels me to pursue my vision.
I don’t want a superficial 9–5.
I don’t want to just take orders from a boss.
I don’t want to do work I don’t care about.
I don’t want to focus on arbitrary details
I don’t like slow bureaucratic processes.
I don’t like long commutes.
I don’t like useless meetings to fill time.
I don’t like a toxic work environment and superficial relationships
Here’s what I like:
- I like solving people’s problems.
- I like solving it with people.
- I like being involved in the process.
- I like using tactics and creativity.
- I like competition.
From there, I narrowed down my possible career paths:
- Startup Founder
- Online Business Owner
I kid you not. When I wrote these down, I felt a fire in my belly and the widest smile ever. Now, I dedicate all my time and mental energy to actualizing this vision.
The obsession has grown stronger every day. I think about different ideas and strategies to try
- While eating
- In the shower
- On a walk
My mind is constantly obsessed over a purpose to fulfill (which is something I’ve barely had growing up).
And I feel amazing.
My teachers in school didn’t teach me how to do this.
Books and podcasts barely scratched the surface.
It was through deep reflection and self-understanding, that led me to this epiphany.
This is how to figure out your vision.
You have to first set your anti-vision.
First, outline what you don’t want to narrow down your vision.
Set anti-goals to find out what you don’t want.
Visualize yourself living what you dread, by recalling past experiences.
What topics bored you?
What kind of work drained you?
What kind of places would you hate being at?
Is it huge crowds? Is it a quiet room?
It’s easier to know what you hate, because it’s easier to complain. This is true because of human evolution. We’ve hated discomfort, and have dedicated our existence to getting rid of it.
Humans also have the unique ability to plan for the future, create complex plans and fulfill them. It’s a gift that, depending on how well we use it, can make or break our lives.
Build a Lifestyle
Focusing on a desired lifestyle is more fulfilling than hoarding materialistic items such as cars, houses and golden toilets. The reward of living a healthy and satisfying lifestyle persists throughout the day, everyday.
Meanwhile, the reward for winning a fancy toy lasts 5–10 minutes, unless there’s a meaning behind it.
Here’s the science:
Gaining superficial things is fundamentally a means to and end — to attain human desires throughout evolution.
These desires are survival, (through power), reproduction (through status) and (through lifestyle)
So instead of chasing superficial fixes, why not tackle the root problem? Which is fulfillment.
Eventually, it always leads to the desired lifestyle. Many realize this too late. Celebrities who made a lot of money, burnt a lot of money but got depressed due to a lack of fulfillment.
Despite the countless cars, shiny watches and insane mansion parties with strangers, some still end up lonely and bothered. It’s human nature to want more, but many have taken the wrong approach. Instead of looking outward and upward, you should look inward. Deep into your inner psyche.
Get a pen and paper and journal:
- What leads to a purposeful life? If you made and spent $1 million, what would you do now?
- What worldly desire motivates you, but is sustainable and self-motivating?
- Who do you want to be with? Where? Why?
- If societal pressures and parental expectations didn’t exist, what would you pursue and why?
- In the end, we seek a lifestyle. This is why successful and fulfilled people say “Invest in experiences, not toys”. On our death bed, we will recall the fun memories we had with the people we cared about. Knowing that takes the pressure off from buying expensive gifts, just to win someone’s heart.
- Write where you are now (Point A)
- Write your vision (Point Z)
- Write the first step you can implement TODAY (Point B)
Vision without action is just wishful thinking. Build a habit that will get you started today!
Your vision will give you the plan. The plan will give you the time. Time to build your life and hone your skills. Your skills would give you your desired lifestyle and vision.
Understand Yourself to Strengthen Your Skills
The next step is to understand who you are. Doing so will bring clarity to your natural strengths and interets. Even if you know your vision, there are 1,000,000 ways to reach it.
How will you get there in your own unique way?
It can be difficult to understand yourself, especially since you’ve been raised by modern society.
Perhaps, you were labeled.
Perhaps, you were given expectations you had to fulfil, without knowing the reasons behind them.
School dehumanized your identity to prepare you for the workforce. Your reputation was based on your grades, popularity or assumptions.
Unfortunately, these shaped your personality and persona, which fueled your grades, popularity and assumptions. Unless you realized this cycle, you will be a victim of it.
The practical answer of understanding yourself is:
- Remove distractions and stare at the wall
- Do trial-and-error in the real world.
The reason for staring at your wall is to get your mind thinking. Today, we lose many opportunities for keen insights because we’re distracted by Social Media and video games.
Once you’ve subconsciously developed an idea about who you are, what you really want, and what you could do… write it down on your notebook.
After 2–3 hours of mind wandering, you now have a rough plan of things you could try. Do them without hesitation. Then, reflect and measure. Did you enjoy it? What happened? How can you improve next time?
Should You Use Personality Types
Of course, you can also use personality tests like the MBTI and Ennegrams. I, myself, has gone down that rabbit hole, to the point where the majority of my thoughts were about MBTI. However, I am against this.
MBTI is a good way of beginning your self-awareness journey, but you must stop. The system is inaccurate, as it focuses on generalization. It makes you hone a fixed and closed mindset of who you are.
Instead, I suggest learning the cognitive functions, as they don’t limit your beliefs.
They just indicate which functions you prefer to use, based on how well you use them. They are not the building blocks of your personality. They are the weapons which you must sharpen. You have stronger weapons and weaker weapons.
Understanding which ones you rely on will make you more deliberate in improving your weaknesses. Think of it as a growth mindset, instead of a fixed one.
Use cognitive functions to discover your hidden strengths and deepest truths.
Most people don’t want to pursue their vision because they think they’re not good at anything. I‘ve always thought of myself as a jack of all trades: an all-around student with above average grades but nothing exceptional in particular.
The school system made it difficult for me to discover my sharpest weapon. It took deliberate practice of trial-and-error to figure out my strengths in ‘speaking’, ‘writing’, ‘dealing with people’, and ‘organizing tasks’.
I needed time to explore myself, and hone my skills until I realized they were strengths. But it was the vision of being exceptionally better at something that kept me gong.
Your talents won’t come to your lap, you have to deliberately seek them out. Once you do, practice until you reach your vision.
Zoom out and See the Big Picture
It can be daunting to take responsibility of your life.
Even so, it can be discouraging to fail consistently.
But remember, a bad day doesn’t mean you’ve messed up.
Zoom out 3, 5, 10, 20 years.
Will one day of unproductive work and making mistakes mean that much if you consider how long you’ll live?
This is your life’s work. Even if you don’t achieve your vision immediately, you still have many days to keep growing.
The quote, “You only live once” is wrong.
You only die once. You live everyday. Make the most of the opportunities you create 365 days a year.
For inspiration, read these books:
- Way of the Superior Man
- The Power of Now
- 40,000 hours