Greatness is inspirated by dreams . Dreams allow a clear vision of what it take to achieve success. A person with a dream has a direction in his or her life. A person with a dream knows what it’ll take to be successful. A person with a dream knows the road ahead is difficult, but he or she is undeterred by it. Your dream will determine the level of commitment.
Dreams are powerful motivators. William James, nineteenth century philosopher and psychologist, said that “people by and large become what they think about themselves.” Unfortunately, many people have difficulty defining their dream. A dream is your measuring stick. It is your destination.
The dreams of athletes are not the ones that creep into your subconscious at night while you sleep. They are not the ones that mimic life. They are the goals and aspirations you carry around in your conscious head. They are the ones that say, “I will be a [fill in your desired sport or profession].
An athlete’s potential depends on attitude. Your dreams should excite you all day long. They are your passions. They may be your goal but big enough that you don’t have to write them down to remind yourself. Sport psychologist John Perry noted, “it doesn’t matter what you’re born with, it’s how you work.” Talent can take an athlete far, but one who doesn’t mind working hard and building the mental toughness can succeed.
Many professionals and coaches noted that hard work beats talent if talent doesn’t work hard. Muhammad Ali noted, “Champions aren’t made in the gyms. Champions are made from something they have deep inside them—a desire, a dream, a vision.” What goes on inside an athlete’s head determine his or her success. “Dreams are the emotional fuel that helps people take control of their lives and be what they want to be,” Rotella explained. Great performances are not necessarily the result of talent or innate athleticism but the mind.
What would it take to achieve your dream? Take some time to think through it. What would your daily routine look like? How much practice do you believe is required? What specific activities or behaviors do you see yourself doing? Identify those things that you see are extremely helpful. Rid yourself of the obstacles that interfere with your dreams. The world is full of “nay-sayers.” They will tell you that your dreams are unrealistic.
However, be cautioned. Improvement does take patience and time along with practice. Will you sacrifice for what you want or retire to a comfortable place? Will you put your best foot forward even when you don’t want to anymore? “Your vision of how you perform will become clearer and stronger,” noted sport psychologist Jim Afremow.
It is the process and not the end result that will enrich your life. However, the ability to take your dream and use it to create a process is what separates success from failure. Rotella wrote, “Without making and sustaining a commitment to an effective process, an individual cannot know her potential.” Case in point: University of North Carolina soccer coach was driving to work one morning. Passing a deserted field, he took note of one of his players doing extra training by herself. He later left a note in her locker: “The vision of a champion is someone who is bent over, drenched with sweat, at the point of exhaustion when no one else is looking.” That player was Mia Hamm.
Whether you prefer to call it a dream or goal, the important thing is that it leads to a process—whatever you imagine it to be. Keep the dream alive and make it come true.
Dr. Kevin Goddu, Ph.D.