Everyone defines success differently. That is what makes personal success so complex. What your neighbor values will be different from what you value. It is important to understand your personal version of success, which includes all aspects of life: family, physical, social, spiritual, financial, community and business just to name a few. Once you have defined your version of success, then it is time to Dream BIG and make it happen.
In, “5 Principles for a Successful Life: From Our Family to Yours,” which I co-authored with my father, Newt Gingrich, Principle One is Dream Big. Why dream big? Because the only other options are to dream small or not dream at all—both of which will not yield worthwhile results.
Dreams are essential, no matter what age we are—they help focus our energy on the future and keep us hopeful. Dreaming—finding that picture and allowing its pursuit to motivate you—is key.
When you dream, don't let practical considerations limit you: the bigger the better. Big dreams inspire you to start moving. They grab your imagination and fill your mind, consume your thoughts and lead you to act. Because they are hard to achieve, they provide you with a great sense of satisfaction once you have accomplished them. Remember that you will accomplish only as much as you dream you can—so if you want to accomplish big things, you'd better dream big.
Everyone can see what is certain and real, but only those who can imagine what could be have a chance to create and live their dreams. Those without a dream will have no reason to strive, work hard, or think of better days to come. People who dream big accomplish big.
A big dream is a goal that will stretch you beyond your current capabilities. That is the point. Dream BIG.
How big is big enough? Tavis Smiley, one of our 42 contributors, explains it best, “If people don't laugh at you when you share your dreams, then you're not dreaming big enough.”
If your Dream is big, the next step is to make sure it is your dream and yours alone. Our dreams are influenced by others—our parents, siblings, grandparents, teachers, employers—and that is fine. While others may influence your dreams, only you can create them. After all, only you know what really makes you excited and ready to work hard.
Your big dream will be in an area of your life where you have talent and interest. Talent is an important element because it is unique to you and provides you with the ability to perform better than others in the same area. A genuine interest is important too because it allows you to be passionate about your dream rather than trying to make yourself work toward a goal that doesn't interest you. Very few of us have the discipline to become masters in an area we dislike. Choose a dream that fits your passion.
If you have a big dream that is yours – it is time to begin making it a reality by setting a deadline. When obstacles occur, view them as challenges rather than frustrations and roadblocks.
A few years ago, one of my Big Dreams was to become a columnist. With an MBA in finance, and a background in corporate finance and planning, it might appear to be an unusual dream. But, as an avid reader and lover of words and their impact and meaning, this dream fits my interest and passions. I wrote my first column in November of 2004. Ongoing practice, writing and rewriting, getting up early and working late and putting in the time and effort, have moved me closer to this big dream.
After identifying your big dream and turning it into measurable goals with deadlines, put these goals in a place where you will see them daily. This will remind you of where you are headed and allow your subconscious to continually work on ways to help you achieve your goal.