The Biggest Obstacle to Living Your Dreams

I thought I’d change things up a little here. I’m working on this really exciting ebook right now that’s a step by step guide for making your dreams a reality. It’s going to be really awesome, but I need your help.

So I want to ask you:

What’s the biggest obstacle for you, in making your dreams a reality?

Post your answer in the comments. And if you’d like, I’ll try to give you some advice on how to help you remove those roadblocks. If you want a response from me, just say so in your comment. I may not be able to respond to everyone, but I’ll do my best.

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Comment & Add Your Voice

Silvia November 13, 2008 at 1:09 pm

For me, my biggest obstacle is my college loans. I just graduated a few months ago and I have about $40K in debt which I need to pay off before I can even consider taking a severe pay-cut and traveling the world/ working from home. I know I could probably pay those off quicker if I lived with my parents and saved up any money that didn’t go towards rent, food, and gas, but in truth, if I can’t be living my dream at the moment, I’d like to enjoy the time I do have right now. Any advice for how I can pay off my debt quicker without living like a pauper?

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Ariel November 13, 2008 at 1:27 pm

My mind.

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emdoozie | Michael Anderson November 13, 2008 at 1:44 pm

Knowing what that dream is, and time. I have found that it takes time, exposure, and experiences to understand what it is you’re truly passionate about and destined to do. When you do figure that out it’s all about devoting time to that dream and taking action towards bringing it into reality. When your treading water in a full time job while trying to follow your dreams time is number 1 issue, unless of course you have enough saved to quit your job. Where their is a will and a belief there is a way, so I say stay focused on the end result and and never give up.

doozieUp!

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apricot tea. November 13, 2008 at 1:45 pm

motivation.

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TNT November 13, 2008 at 1:52 pm

Great question.

1) Reprogramming: achieving (or even working towards!) your dreams often flies in the face of whatever everyone has told you/is telling you about what you *should* be doing (which is most often: “sacrifice initiative for security!”). People have set aside their own dreams get extremely agitated when they see someone else who refuses to give up, and they do their best to discourage that person.

And on a related note:

2) Discipline: Not the “getting up at 5 AM” kind of discipline, but maintaining the discipline to constantly be an iconoclast or contrarian.

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Coral November 13, 2008 at 1:56 pm

I think the obstacles are all to do with the way people think: they don’t really believe that they can achieve their dreams, they don’t feel they even deserve them and they don’t have the faith to persevere when the going gets tough.
No need to reply…just my ten cents worth!

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Tara November 13, 2008 at 2:24 pm

I’ll cheat – I have two. Probably neither are very original. And sure, I’d love some advice!

1. Lack of focus. There are a gazillion things that interest me, but I feel like I am a perpetual dabbler. Jack of all trades, master of none sort. Anytime I find something I love, I feel like there are a million people offering some similar service, and fear I could never break out.

2. The usual fear of not being able to pay the bills, or more importantly, have health insurance. I don’t have any dependents, but I’m still hesitant to take a major leap.

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Parth November 13, 2008 at 2:49 pm

Parents – I wish I had 40 hours to work on my site. I feel like I have wasted my time these past few months running after something that i have no clue. I’m a chronic dreamer, but I’m finally transitioning into being more productive. I’m really trying to cut out all the junk in my life and using my time as wisely as possible. I’m hoping my site is successful before I get a real job so that I can show my parents what I’m capable of. I really don’t want to go into the 9-5 grind. So, any advice u have would be really appreciated.

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Debbie November 13, 2008 at 3:06 pm

My biggest obstacle is me. In order to manifest my dreams, I need to discover my mental blocks to achieving what I want.

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Pace November 13, 2008 at 3:26 pm

Fear.

Currently my biggest fear is that my business won’t make enough money to pay the bills before we run out of savings, and then I don’t know what I’ll do. I fear that I’ll have to put my dreams on hold and get a soul-sucking job to pay the bills, and whittle out little bits of time for my dreams.

Sometimes my biggest fear is different, but it’s always fear.

Thanks for asking, thanks for helping, and thanks for writing. I appreciate what you write here.

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TheAndySan November 13, 2008 at 3:34 pm

For me, my biggest obstacle is quelling the critics. Right now, I live with my parents and although I’ve gone to ITT Tech for almost 2 years and a private university for one year, they think that I can’t make money from the internet. They want me to get a “real” job or they’ll kick me out when I can’t pay for rent.

I’ve been trying to expose my blog as much as I can in order to make a living from it so that I can move out without worrying about a job or offline critics. I’m beginning to see some money come in, but it’s not enough to pay the rent just yet.

I’m really scared of losing my home, especially without a car (or a laptop with WiFi, hehe). I have enough money for the next two months and by then I hope to be pulling in at least $200 a month consistently online.

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Dereck Coatney November 13, 2008 at 4:01 pm

Great idea. Hope the e-book goes well.

For me it was my past. By the time I figured out what I loved my life was barreling in a direction set in motion long before I had matured intellectually.

The next step has been a bit like turning the Titanic on a dime, while it was sinking. Daunting, really.

This week is the best week of my adult life, you know? Damn it, I got it turned around. Be back in school in 50 days.

Looking back, here’s what would have made things easier: financial maturity taught to me at a young age, discovering my talents sooner.

I figured out what I love late, and when I did, I needed to correct all the missteps. I wish I could say it hasn’t been a little hellish, but honestly I don’t care at this point. I’m going to look forward, not backwards.

Good luck,

Dereck

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funkright November 13, 2008 at 4:28 pm

the BIGGEST obstacle.. well.. the fact that I was downsized 3 weeks ago has put a few impediments in the way, plus the mortgage, 2 kids.. putting food on the table.. and outstanding debts.. BUT we’ll get through this and be better off in the end.

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Jacqueline Parks November 13, 2008 at 4:44 pm

Figuring out how to pay the bills (even after keeping those bills to a minimum) in a nonstressful way while I develop healthier more fulfilling ways to earn a living.

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jess November 13, 2008 at 4:57 pm

1) focus – i want to do a million things all at once and as a resuly nothing gets finished. I need to learn how to do ONE project almost exclusively so i can get my novel finished, then my screenplay, and hopefully be able to make some or all of my income from my writing.

2) negative self-talk

3) motivation – like, i want to be fit, but getting to the exercise part is sooooo challenging…

4)being able to say “no” to people who suck up my time. very hard, again, but something i’m trying to work on

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James NomadRip November 13, 2008 at 6:41 pm

Fear.

Exactly what Pace said above. Verbatim.

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John C November 13, 2008 at 8:48 pm

Mine is a combination of taking it too seriously, or not taking it seriously enough. Sometimes I feel foolish when contemplating it, but other times I take it so seriously that I become frozen

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Lauren November 13, 2008 at 9:03 pm

Social Anxiety Disorder. I have trouble interacting with other people, so it makes things in life really hard. Striving for my dreams is extremely challenging, because not only do I have big challenges to face, I have little annoying fears of normal everyday situations.

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ZeroNews November 13, 2008 at 9:15 pm

Motivation. I start everything pretty good and than I lose my motivation. It’s so frustrating. One reason for this is the time.

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Jeba November 13, 2008 at 9:44 pm

My biggest obstacle is :

1) I don’t stick to one thing for too long.. Like been there done that and I move on.. I really hate that in me.

2) Consistency: I have what it takes to be on top, but once I am there it is like bah thats all and I cool down and i loose that position.

3) also same prob as jess

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Marilyn November 13, 2008 at 10:34 pm

I’m in agreement with Michael:

“treading water in a full time job while trying to follow your dreams; time is number 1″

I’ve got the dream and the motivation that has me taking action towards my dream every day, but I also have the cushy 9-5 that pays the bills but takes valuable time. Perhaps I’m in need of a little more guts to be able to pull the plug on passion-less job :P

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Cathy November 13, 2008 at 11:48 pm

A lot of things pop into my mind: lack of courage, lack of belief that I can do it, need for stability, security, my comfort zone.
But really when I dig a bit deeper, it’s mainly fear of finding out that either
* I don’t want what I thought I wanted (and yes, I still hear the eternal question from my youth: ‘are you sure this is what you want?’)
or
* I’m no good at what I’m desperate to do
Not sure which of the two is worse – and yes, I’d definitely be interested to know your thoughts on how to finally get rid of these two undermining ideas who always get the better of me…

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Henrik November 14, 2008 at 1:29 am

I’ve tried to do this drill before. Or I have done this drill before. Usually I can figure out the ‘what’ and the ‘how’. But I never seem to find a ‘why’ that really works. I’ve read that the juice comes from the ‘why’. I usually end up with a ‘why’ that crumble when it meets the reality.

I believe that if I had a good ‘how to find the WHY’ exercise it would really make a difference. But I want a exercise that is focused on doing rather than thinking.

I think that a good test to wether you have found a valid ‘why’ is how long can you talk about the ‘why’ before you start to go “eh, um, eh, I dont know”. And another factor would be a rating from your audience on how much they believe that you are sincere about your ‘why’. This rating can be done on a likert scale from ’1-not very’ to ’5-oh yeah’.

So do you have any good tips about how to find the ‘why’ Jonathan?

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Chris (from Lifestyle Project) November 14, 2008 at 3:41 am

1) Financing
2) Cultural conditioning to have a ‘proper career’
3) Need to find my passion
4) Fear?

Good luck with your eBook!

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Rose November 14, 2008 at 3:51 am

Knowing where to start and what steps I can do NOW.

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Martin Wildam November 14, 2008 at 4:01 am

I could focus on living my dreams if I would have plenty of money and plenty of time.

But as I have to work to pay the bills and as I have a family at home the spare time for living any dream is somewhere at zero.

Hence I have to govern my dreams. And then reviewing them I would not call it something like “dream” – it remains a realistic view looking at the opportunities that show up.

Or in other words: On the way to happiness dreams are the biggest obstacle. And happiness is more important than living dreams.

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Aspiring chic November 14, 2008 at 4:39 am

Motivation and Fear

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Amauri November 14, 2008 at 4:52 am

I think professionally speaking, that the main problem to trail the path of my dream is don’t having money to support it by the time I am not yet making money with my dream. I mean, how can I left my today’s job and grab on my dream without money to live by the time of transition?

And now, with this world crisis, it is showing to be more difficult than before.

It is sad…

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Jennie Mustafa-Julock November 14, 2008 at 5:52 am

Pace has it right – fear. Fear of failing, fear of the unknown, fear of succeeding and then not being able to keep it up.

My other challenge is getting distracted from my big dreams by the daily grind. I’m open to suggestions!

(I love your blog, by the way!)

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Vincent November 14, 2008 at 6:06 am

The biggest obstacle we face is no doubt, us.

Cheers
Vincent
Personal Development Blogger

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M November 14, 2008 at 6:09 am

I agree with Ariel, the mind really is a big obstacle.

My biggest obstacle to live my dreams is that I have no idea what my dreams are any more. I guess all the brain-washing from parents, school etc – and my brain’s constant fight for attention – is blocking my heart on a fundamental level. It’s not that I don’t allow myself to go for my dreams, or let myself think about what I really want, it’s more like that I have no access at all to my dreams and feelings anymore. I know what I like, but not what I love… which leads to lack of focus like Tara wrote, or rather “volatile focus” or something like that, having focus but shifting target too often.

And fear, of course, I think that is probably the biggest obstacle in most people’s lives, including mine, admitted or not.

Thanks for your articles, good luck with your ebook!

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Umbratikus November 14, 2008 at 6:43 am

A wife, three kids, two cars, and a mortgage.

“I wish I were either rich enough or poor enough to do a lot of things that are impossible in my present comfortable circumstances.”
~Don Herold

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Marcus November 14, 2008 at 7:19 am

Hi there. I have never had any dreams or goals what so ever before, but I have finally set up a goal in life which I want to achieve as soon as possible. I want to become a successful business man, the only problem I have is the financial part. Im not sure I want to take loans since im against loans, I just want to earn enough money myself to get started. The only problem is that I dont know how to earn money except from working, which will take a long time before i reach the ammount of money i have in mind. So if you could give me any ideas on how to earn money over the web for an example will really help me out a bit. I know that some people can get really successful over the internet and make alot of money but I just dont know how. I would be really glad to hear from you. Take care! /M

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Sabrina November 14, 2008 at 7:48 am

1. positive self-reinforcement.

2. blocking out negative energy.

3. keeping your bigger picture in mind, consistently, and even if you are distracted, being able to return to the grounding thoughts that keep you motivated.

4. daily routine, bills, work, kids, etc. finding time?

5. tangibility – I sometimes have great ideas for my future, yet they are so hard to grasp because they do not yet exist and seem so abstract, that I loose perception.

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PMB November 14, 2008 at 8:25 am

Biggest obstacle… keeping better track of all the *little* purchases that nickel and dime me to death each month.

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Nicky November 14, 2008 at 8:44 am

Brainwashing & fear. My parents drummed into my head that I was worthless & stupid, and even though I knew I wasn’t stupid, the worthless part is deeply rooted. I don’t deserve dreams or goals. Dreams & goals are for elite, rich, priveleged people who can afford to fail. Working class schlubs like me are supposed to keep our heads down & just grub out a living. Here I am, in my mid-50s, and all my life I’ve just done whatever came my way in order to make ends meet. Now I have children to support, and I don’t resent them in the least, but if I pause to think about this whole dreams question I just get miserable so I push it aside. I know what I should have done — I’m a talented musician — but fear and self-loathing froze me in my tracks. Twentysomethings reading this: Don’t be me. Do what you want to do.

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Silke November 14, 2008 at 10:05 am

I’m going to say that my biggest obstacle to achieving a particular dream or two is the fear of not measuring up. I come from a family of high achievers and I believe I have been a high achiever. I focus, work hard, and have been successful. But there are some dreams I have not pursued because in the end it is really the fear of not measuring up.

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katie November 14, 2008 at 10:06 am

financial security.
my husband wants to open his own business but is hesitant to take the plunge because he has a wife and three kids depending on him.

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Michael Moniz November 14, 2008 at 10:51 am

Fear is mine.

Sometimes I spend so much time looking and planning for the future I forget I have to live for the present. I am scared of all the what ifs which hold me still and doesn’t allow me to take action.

A friend helped me out a lot by telling me that fear stands for:

False
Evidence
Appearing
Real

This helps me to frame fear and work through and create action towards more dreams!

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Evan November 14, 2008 at 12:42 pm

Money, and knowing how to make it – sustainably.

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Ryan November 14, 2008 at 4:06 pm

nothing

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Chris Edgar November 14, 2008 at 6:27 pm

The biggest emotional block I’ve worked with has been a sense that people don’t want to be bothered hearing about my various projects, and just want to be left alone. In more lucid moments I’ve seen that I’m projecting my own reluctance to listen to others’ business plans on other people, and that really what this calls for is developing more tolerance within myself for listening to and appreciating people’s ideas. Best, Chris

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Wendy November 14, 2008 at 7:05 pm

My biggest obstacle is me. Many times I know exactly what I should do to achieve my dreams, but as soon as I begin (or even think of beginning), I get distracted or start to feel abnormally exhausted. Just the thought of it makes me tired. And so I stop. When I read your question, I didn’t for one moment delude myself into thinking that I was being held back by anything but myself. So yah, I’d welcome your thoughts on this.

Good luck with the book. It sounds like a good one.

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panchitah November 14, 2008 at 7:38 pm

Trusting myself.

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tigercub November 15, 2008 at 4:44 am

My biggest obstacles:
1.) lack of trust (whether the whole concept of achieving goals by thinking and feeling positive is true – or mere ideology)
2.) laziness or lack of discipline. Whenever I DID concentrate on my goals it has always been successful. Despite all that, most of the times I end up being sloppy. I really don’t know if this is a “mental block” behind it, it COULD be only lethargy. (Which might be a late stage of demotivation).
I’d love to hear your comments!

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jharris November 15, 2008 at 8:20 am

I think for me it could be trying too hard and not believing in myself enough. The difference between my dreams of making my ideas into a profitable business and the profits is a huge gap. Still at it and keep coming back to it. Hope to “get out of my own way” any day now and watch me soar! I love that you are putting this out to your readers. I was thinking about doing something very similar the other day, and wondered if anyone ever did that. Case in point: while I was wondering, you were doing! I get that! LOL

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max November 15, 2008 at 4:28 pm

not really knowing what my dreams are.

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parateci November 16, 2008 at 2:04 am

Hi Jonathan, all the best with the book.This is a question I’ve recently answered with a reasonable amount of understanding. So instead of writing a comment here, I decided to write a slightly detailed post about it here: http://parateci.wordpress.com/2008/11/16/what-is-my-greatest-obstacle-to-success/

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Llama Chris November 16, 2008 at 2:23 am

My biggest obstacle? I don’t know what to do, or how to do it.

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Zoe November 16, 2008 at 5:09 am

Wow, big response for this question :-D

I’d say I’m my own biggest obstacle. You spoke about lack of focus in your last post, and I’d say that’s right on target. Sometimes I’m great at focusing myself, but sometimes it takes some sort of pressure for me to get there.

I’m constantly exploring ways to keep on top of it, so I’m very interested in this e-book of yours!

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Jonathan November 16, 2008 at 1:45 pm

@ Sylvia: That’s a difficult one. The obvious advice is to make more money or not have acquired the debt in the first place. I think you’ll probably be in this one for the long haul.

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Jonathan November 16, 2008 at 1:50 pm

@ Henrik: You’re absolutely right. Without a good reason, you’ll end up losing motivation. It’s like being more productive because it sounds like a good idea, but you don’t know why you’re being more productive in the first place.

The WHY is really a matter of deep introspection. I can’t cover this fully right here, but it will be a major point in the book. Give me a few weeks!

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Jonathan November 16, 2008 at 1:53 pm

@ Marcus: Making money online is such a huge topic. It’s too big for me to cover in the book, but I will be talking in depth about the “money problem.” For in depth advice on making money online, I suggest http://www.ittybiz.com

A site that focuses solely on that topic can do it much more justice than me just skimming over it here.

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Jonathan November 16, 2008 at 1:54 pm

@ Michael: That’s an awesome quote. I just might have to steal that. =)

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Jonathan November 16, 2008 at 1:58 pm

@ tigercub: 1. In short, yes positivity is the smarter route. Is it always realistic? No. Pain and pleasure are both equally powerful motivating forces. You might as well choose the more enjoyable one.

2. Discipline and focus is usually not so much a matter of managing time, but managing energy. If you can wield your energy to focus for short bursts of time on things you feel are really important, you’ll be successful. It’s when you try to force yourself to take action when your energy is drained that you end up building resentment to taking action.

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Jonathan November 16, 2008 at 2:01 pm

@ EVERYONE: THANK YOU! This has been really invaluable for me. I’ve noticed a basic pattern of 3 resurfacing problems. I’m going to focus on these in depth in the book. I really hope this book is able to help a lot of people.

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Sheryl November 16, 2008 at 9:08 pm

Taking that first step.

I want to be stale before I risk everything, but there ara always risks waiting in the wings.

I want to have some kind of knowledge or skill to build on, so I alawys need to learn more.

What if I just turned around and it! Not “next month”, not “tomorrow”, but NOW!

(I love more comments too)

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Valery November 17, 2008 at 2:49 am

Hello Jonathan and everybody. Thanks for the thorough remarks and opinions. I’d like to share my own ideas on what impedes my own movement towards making dreams come true.

Fear? No doubt. That is caused by the lack of life experience and skills. I am 27 now and all I’ve accomplished is a university degree in lighuistics, a PhD degree in Psychology and a job of a software tester. Weird list. I have a very vague idea of what is going in the outside world, and it scares me.

I would like to address people who are not bound by any “external” obligations such as family or debt. Be bolder, we have nothing much to lose, and I mean a dead-end job or relationships that pull us down. If you finally fail (which is unlikely if you feel passionate about your dreams), at least you will not feel sorry for not having tried it when you are in your middle fiftees (Nicky, I admire your strength to say it all so plainly. Your words are so damn motivating).

Another obstacle is that unfocused vision of what your dream looks like. One of the ways to clarify that vision is to spend more time staying with it mentally. Allocate some time every day to sitting down and trying to see what it feels like when your dream comes true right here right now.

Perhaps my last obstacle is the desire for security. Or, better say, fear of losing it. Tell you what. I like first-person shooter games and I used to play them constantly choosing the most secure way to go through levels. Like picking up as much ammo as there was available or walking some levels back to pick up a medkit.

One day I decided to switch to different tactics. I reloaded and attacked and felt I was the hunter, not the hunted. Instead of desperately trying to find supplies to stay “alive”, I made my way through the level almost shouting “Get you butts out of my way, you!”.

And I never got killed more often then when I was crouching along the walls quiet and scared. And when my health level was below 30, I just went on and on — till I finally made it to supplies stash.

For the first time in my life I realized that though it was only a game, it made me feel different. I was still involved in the game but I let go of the fear, and I was acting instead of squeezing myself into a tight secure hole and waiting for the “best” moment to go out.

You may smile at these words and that’s OK since that’s only a game. But in the real world I can see the same patterns with same outcomes. Be active, be acting. If you screw up, don’t walk with the damn feeling of guilt, go and do your best to set things right. It’s OK that we humans make mistakes, our babies are making them throughout their early years! If something goes wrong, it’s better to act than to shut your eyes and get lost.

Life experience, education, proper supporting relatioships is part of what can make you feel less scared, more informed. If there is something that threatens you and you know what it is, you avoid it. But you do not fear it.

I would like to thank everyone who shared their thoughts here. Be brave.

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Mr.So November 17, 2008 at 8:17 am

Right now I’m working on one of my dreams and I write about it on my blog (www.metrobloggen.se/2brazil). I know that this dream will become reality if nothing unexpected happens. Today I started to dream about another project and I realized that for me money seems to be the main obstacle. With more money my dreams would be easier to transform into reality. At the same time, maybe this is how dreams are supposed to become reality – with a little bit of struggle.

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Marisa November 17, 2008 at 9:17 am

Many of the comments here certainly apply to me. My biggest obstacles:

1. Self-doubt: There always seems to be a nagging voice in my head telling me that I shouldn’t try because I’ll just fail. Always wondering if I really have the intellect, the know-how, the dedication, and so on to really achieve what I want. Sounds pretty awful now that I’ve put it in writing.

2. Money: Isn’t this always the case? There will always be bills to pay, it’s unavoidable. I think it comes down to figuring out what you are willing to sacrifice in order to be truly happy.

3. Security: Another comfort v. happiness situation. Currently, I have a stable IT job, but I don’t enjoy the work environment at all. In fact, I dread it every single day. But, it puts food on the table.

There always seems to be so much standing in the way of achieving your dreams, but not much separating you from those things that merely help you “get by.” I suppose it is true, then, that those things we really have a passion for are always the hardest things to achieve.

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Beth Partin November 17, 2008 at 9:40 am

For me, it’s focus. It’s so easy to get distracted working at home.

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Pam November 17, 2008 at 10:02 am

Spouse: emotionally and financially draining

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Raised Path November 17, 2008 at 3:24 pm

The biggest obstacle that I find I have to face is fear, particularly fear of the unknown. Each time I am faced with a new challenge there is an unknown. How do I do this? Will this work?

A lot of times I go straight at it, and find out that it’s not so bad or hard after all.

Other times, I get complacent and put off taking the actions. Somehow that never produces the results I want.

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Victoria November 17, 2008 at 11:31 pm

Knowing what exactly the dream is. I’m already in the fire, freelancing and really living “the dream”, really singing for my supper so to speak. That doesn’t scare me. The unknow is not scary, it’s that I’m not sure what the dream is anymore. Is it what it was two years ago? Have my priorities shifted? It must be because I feel a bit uneasy and when you’re living the dream, it’s supposed to feel good, right?

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Chris November 18, 2008 at 12:47 am

The obstacle is ‘not’ having any dreams or ambitions. Somewhere along the way they got knocked out of me. Life has taught me that any desires I have are unrealistic or unobtainable.

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Jas'n R.Rainbow November 18, 2008 at 6:56 am

Priority is one of the secrets/Priority will tell us what the problem is/If we have the courage to listen(priority) will tell us what we need to do next/But no matter what we have to deal with the same tried and true solutions/One being decision making/We have to learn to make decisions and work from those decisions toward solution/For some of us it goes quick and for some of us it moves a little slower/We just have to accept the fact that it(life) moves forward and we are a part of that process/ Priority will help us not be so afraid/Help us focus/encourage us to learn/Priority is our friend/Let it be that/ There seems to be an awful lot of intelligent people who know what their concerns are(step 1)I didn’t say “problem” I said concerns/Everything is not so much wrong as it is right/We are all frustrated for a reason/Sometimes that’s all the motivation we have/I say use it/

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Lynn Cutts November 18, 2008 at 8:45 am

I am very fortunate–I AM living my dream, and I know it. I also know that dreams change as we go through life. What I wanted twenty years ago I don’t want now; and what I have (and want) now, I would have been afraid of twenty years ago. I can’t even imagine what I’ll want (and have) in another twenty years!

I also coach other people who want to live their dreams, and I see three main challenges arise over and over again: fear, self-doubt, and the seduction of the mythical safety net. There is no real security in life. Giving up happiness for the myth of security is not a good investment.

As far as fear goes, it takes many forms: fear of success, fear of failure, fear of being unloved, fear of disapproval . . . I’ve come be believe that there is often a deeper, subconscious root cause of fear, and that until one digs deeply enough to discover it, the fear will never go away. But that doesn’t have to stop you! Do it anyway.

Living your dream takes courage. The courage to defy convention, to take risks, to try and fail and try and fail again, to try new things that might not work.

By the way, you might be interested in Stephen Shapiro’s book, Goal-free Living.” He has a lot to say about living your dreams.

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Luciano Passuello November 19, 2008 at 2:09 pm

Defining exactly what are my dreams.

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Rhiannon November 20, 2008 at 3:22 pm

Wow, so many responses! I would definitely like advice, from anyone. Currently, I’m regretting not pursuing marine biology as my career. I want to go to grad school, but don’t feel like I would have anything to offer. I’m not sure where to start preparing for such a thing, or what classes I’d have to take, or even how to manage the money for such a situation. It’s overwhelming.

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robert norman November 20, 2008 at 9:23 pm

I have been very lucky to be able to make a living at what I love to do – photography. But i would say that fear, distraction and laziness are the biggest stumbling blocks I have to pursuing avenues and personal projects for myself. I want to try out pastel drawing for example, and have a set of pastels and paper siting in my studio now for 4 years, untouched. I get mad at myself every time I see that I have not done anything with them!

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Kaneohe November 21, 2008 at 3:25 am

The biggest obstacle in making my dreams a reality is – me. From reading the comments, I see I am not alone. Recently, I have been trying to identify my dreams, and I am having difficulty coming up with something. I’ve found myself just going about my business doing, and not really feeling. Kind of like a robot. So, maybe it is more my mental health that is an obstacle at this time? Now that I am aware of this, I am trying to find my way back.

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Holly November 21, 2008 at 11:51 am

ugh, my day job! I’d leave in a heartbeat if I was sure that I could afford to pay the bills on my own. I have sooo many great ideas, just no time to really get this going while I’m working 40 hrs a week for some one else, and not enough money saved up to make the leap into uncertainty. sigh….

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chiara November 22, 2008 at 5:48 am

Just stumbled upon your blog, and so far I really like it – I think I am going to subscribe by email.
Anyway, to answer your question. My bigger obstacle is that I am so much influenced by others, in particular my family. if I put my mind on something – anything, I KNOW I’ll do it, as far as I really want it. But often what I want clashes with what I should be wanting. Example – I have worked int her esearch field since I graduated – about 8 years now. I am sick and tired of it, and I am now doing something quite different, although my scientific background is very useful to me in this new job.
So, why everyone is wandering why I don’t look for another job in some lab, and how I can dismiss what I have done and liked until now? Seems like I am not allowed to change idea, taste, preferences, even though I am clearly happier now, my last period in the lab was miserable. I know I should not care about others’ comments, but I do. I start doubting my choices and question everything and panic I am doing everything wrong. Just whish I was able to switch off my ears when needed…
If you have time to give me a suggestion/comment, that would be great!
Thanks.

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Grady Ormsby November 23, 2008 at 8:24 am

The biggest obstacle in making my dreams reality is…..dreams. Dreams are not reality because they are, well,….dreams. Cut out the middle man. Forget the dreams. Focus on reality.

Dreams are the obstacles! Loaded with ego, attachment, expectations and clinging, dreams create a drag on the mind. Let go. Let things be as they are.

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Christopher Remes November 25, 2008 at 5:39 am

First of all, thank you for an amazing website. It is by far the most interesting site since the beginning of the goddamn internet. Again, thank you!

I am Chris, an 19year old musician from Stockholm, Sweden. Music has played a big part in my life, much bigger than i could ever even begin to describe. Six years ago I formed my band with two guys from school. We we’re in the same class and we still play together. I’m the main songwriter in the band, which basically makes me sort of the leader, i guess. There are not that many big egos in there, but I do feel like our priorities kind of clash sometimes. I feel like i am the only one out of us who really wants this, to build a carreer and really push our music out there to the masses. We have just about 30 strong, solid songs just waiting to be recorded and all. These guys are my best friends, and that would make it hard to just kick them out like that. But at the same time, i always felt like they we’re in my way, holding me back, with their lack of enthusiasm. So i feel like im kind of stuck here. Its been 6 years, they are my best friends, and its like, how do i kick my best friends out of my band? haha, its hard. And my dream is to get somewhere with this thing, because its the only thing im good at and really WANT to do.

Thanx for reading. //Chris.

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yassin November 27, 2008 at 1:41 pm

Fear.

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yassin November 27, 2008 at 1:42 pm

I must not fear.
Fear is the mind-killer.
Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration.
I will face my fear.
I will permit it to pass over me and through me.
And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path.
Where the fear has gone there will be nothing.
Only I will remain.

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Michelle | The Biz Boutique November 30, 2008 at 6:34 pm

“Expectation” is the biggest obstacle to making dreams a reality. This is true for myself as well as most of my coaching clients. We all need (at least) the 3 key dream-to-reality ingredients: Clear Desire, Vivid Imagination, and Positive Expectation. Most of us are pretty good at Desire. And, most of us can use our Imagination to envision the dream being real. We are usually weak, however, in the Positive Expectation department. Either we are more in the fingers-crossed-hoping-and-praying version of “expectation” — which isn’t expectation at all. Or, we become cynical and don’t really expect the dream to become true (“Too good to be true”). So, it can really pay off to consider what we honestly expect. Not to counter it with a bunch of “happy talk”, but to see where our beliefs are out of alignment with what we want. We can shift those beliefs and then summon the genuine expectation to match the desire and imagination for the dream to come true. I don’t have this mastered yet, but I am making good progress!

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Tammy December 1, 2008 at 12:06 pm

The biggest obstacle are the nay sayers who believe their purpose in life is to tell me what I am and am not able to accomplish. Unfortunately for them, their negativity usually undergirds me all the more. A second obstacle is working out in my mind in too great a detail how something should be, instead of just letting go and providing “road block” parameters while also pushing forward as the dream materializes, even taking on a life of its own; a life that is sometimes very surprising to me.

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Rachel December 2, 2008 at 5:22 pm

Money, doing what is seen as the social norm, and lack of direction.

I’m at that age where I’m expected to know what I want and be going for it, but most of the time I have no idea what that is. I feel I’m a curious person who wants to know a bit about everything and not be locked down, but I think it just makes me seem flighty and indecisive.

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None December 3, 2008 at 12:16 am

My biggest obstacles: Fear is the big one. I think fear is the root of all evil personally.

Also, I often DON’T KNOW what my dreams are. I don’t know what I want or how I’d go about getting them if I did.

Fear.

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Kim December 11, 2008 at 8:59 am

Money. I know what my dream is, I have semi-solid plans that should be completely solidified post-holidays. But the big problems is Money. Do we take a loan to get the business started, do we go after investors (and then is the business really ours? Will we have to sacrifice part of the dream to meet the investors wants/desires/requirements?) So that is my stumbling block right now.

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Vickita December 27, 2008 at 8:17 pm

Feeling overwhelmed. There’s just so much of *everything*, I don’t know where to start or how to make a dent in it. I know, objectively, intellectually, that you just *do* it, start where you are, make a little effort today and another little effort tomorrow… But I get burned out from too much self-discipline, and I get behind again. Or I’ll start making progress on thing A, then I get distracted, putting out a fire on thing B, and thing A gets away from me again.

There’s too much.

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Jesmond January 18, 2009 at 8:32 am

I don’t have anymore obstacles stopping me from following my dream. Sure the fear is there, I’m afraid sometimes that what I’m trying to do won’t work, I’m afraid that I would prove my parents right: that I’m worthless…I’m afraid of so much but I’m not letting the fear be an obstacle anymore. I took the plunge and started working on my life-long dream a few months ago. Sure it’s difficult, I have a job and I’m in my final year of studying (my BSc Degree…almost there:D), and yet I’m managing to find the time to spend working on this big project of mine.
Another obstacle that I had earlier in life was that I did not know what my dreams were. I just let the current take me wherever it wanted. That’s particularly true for most people I know…I am so grateful that I managed to find out what I was really good at and what I really wanted from life, and I feel so sorry for people who don’t have dreams of their own; they’re the same people who scoff at me whenever I tell them about my hopes for my future. they convinced themselves that if it’s too good to be true than it probably is. I used to feel so exasperated, trying to explain to them that this is what life should be all about, but now I just smile sadly at them. I truly feel sorry for them. They managed to squeeze themselves into a mold set by society, going to work from 8 to 5, going to sleep and then starting all over again.

Dreams are all about realizing your potential and making your hopes happen. Indeed the biggest obstacle is starting but once you do start, the dream becomes much more than a dream, it starts becoming reality; everyday I feel closer to reaching something big, tangible, exciting. Of course, by the end of the day I feel so exhausted I can’t think straight. But I’ve never felt happier and alive. Getting there is half the fun :D

Please feel free to contact me. I’d be happy to share my ongoing adventure with anyone who is interested.

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julia April 30, 2009 at 7:27 am

anxiety. thinking of the worst outcome for situations that i haven’t even stepped into yet. getting side tracked with all the possible wrong outcomes. getting caught up living a paralyzed life?

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