Yesterday, January 15th, 2018 we celebrated the life and achievements of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Not many people know that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s famous “dream speech” did not originally contain the transformative phrase “I have a dream.” When he was delivering his speech, an extraordinary thing happened. As King looked up at the audience in the middle of his speech, he heard Mahalia Jackson, a gospel singer and a good friend, shouted: “tell ‘em about the ‘dream.” That’s when Dr. King pushed the prepared speech to the side and improvised and included the famous “I have a dream” phrase in his speech. After that moment he hardly looked at his speech. The words came from his heart.
As Dr. King skillfully expressed his deepest desire for the world, he inspired the world to take action. If we want to say YES to our dreams, we need to follow Dr. King’s example and open our hearts to allow our desires to unfold.
We cannot achieve our highest dreams and aspirations if we are not clear about our desires and what we want. However, to have clarity about our desires, we have to first have a clear understanding of our higher purpose and our values. We also need to recognize and identify the roadblocks that we create for ourselves in achieving our goals.
In my upcoming book “The CODE- How to Unlock your Inner Genius for a life of Equanimity” (Published Date Feb. 2018), I ask one very important question:
“Are your dreams big enough?”
When we learn the answer to this question, then the journey starts. There is no going back! Otherwise, we restrain or limit what we truly want or what we could actually achieve. We will inevitably have regrets in the future if we do not listen to the answer to this question.
When I was writing "The CODE", I interviewed a good friend of mine Professor Asoke Nandi who lives in London, England. He was part of a team that won the 1984 Nobel Prize for a discovery in physics. I asked him about his perspective on success, knowledge and wisdom and how he came to do what he was doing. Asoke replied, that in life, even as a young man, he never compromised. His professional work and his personal life have always been in harmony. In fact, he never looked at his job as work, rather as an extension of his life which he enjoyed doing. He said, “What is better than this? I do my life and I get paid for it.” He also said that he always knew who he would be in the future. He just took the necessary steps to achieve them.
People that are successful never compromise. Dr. King never compromised. They do what is right and also makes them happy.Because of that, they never have regrets.
A group of researchers at Cornell University surveyed people in their 70’s and asked them: “What they would do differently if they could live over again?”
Most responses indicated regrets of inaction than regrets of action:
“I should have finished college.”
“I should have aimed higher in my career.”
“I should have been more assertive.”
Studies after studies have shown that we self-sabotage our goals continuously, sometimes knowingly and sometimes unknowingly. One of the most common self-sabotage behaviors is procrastination and the other common behavior is not believing in our abilities.
Some of the reasons for self-sabotage behaviors are:
- We are afraid of failing
- We are not risk takers
- We are afraid of success
- We want to make others happy
Understanding which of the above categories describes us can help us find a way to either redefine our goals or to make greater effort to achieve them.
To overcome these limitations we need to ask ourselves:
Why we shrink our dreams?
How can we expand our thinking?
How can we push the boundaries in order to expand our dreams?
How can we clear the obstacles in order to achieve them?
Following are some steps you can take to overcome challenges and roadblocks:
- Grow into the person that has clear understanding of their values and purpose
- Grow your passion for your goals and your calling
- Grow into the person that dreams big
- Grow your aptitude to work tirelessly for your dream and never compromise
In “The CODE”, I also talk about the concept of “living at the resonant frequency.” This concept is very similar to an important concept in Taoism, Wei Wu Wei, which suggests effortless action, where you consciously release control so that you are aligned with the flow of life. For example, happiness is not something you find or you seek; rather, it is the byproduct of doing the things that make you happy.
To “live at the resonant frequency”, you need to look beyond the illusion of your limitations and see your potential in a new way.
The following 6 strategies provide powerful tools that can set you in motion to reach higher than you ever imagined:
- “Cultivate” your uniqueness by finding your Purpose in your own unique way… not what others would like for you…rather what your heart directs you to do.
- “Develop” your greatness by letting go of limitations! Do not limit yourself to what is handed down to you. Question everything around you and ask yourself if this is truly what your heart wants.
- “Observe” your Frameworks and Contexts with new sets of eyes, as if you are seeing it for the first time.
- “Execute” your plans by being “Bold!” Create specific goals for your life and career based on your new “purpose” and how you “Observe” your environment. Then revise to include bigger goals and vision. Then revise…revise…and revise again, until it is much bigger than what you have ever imagined.
- “Detach” yourself from wanting a specific outcome. Let go of the control on the outcome of your goals. Detachment helps you be flexible, be in the flow, and live at your resonant frequency. Detachment, also allows you to change course when new opportunities lead you to a different path.
- “Trust” your abilities, your vision, and the unknown. When we “Trust” that the outcome will be what it's supposed to be, then we are more aligned with our goals and take more risks in order to achieve them.
While following the above 6 strategies, you also need to remember one important thing; thriving does not mean being busy. The following quote is attributed to Ernest Hemingway:
“Never mistake motion for action”
Many people fall short of achieving their desired results because they are frenetic, constantly busy while filling their lives with many actions that do not lead to their optimal goals.
This article is written by Felora Ziari-Derakhshani. Felora is the author of “The CODE”, a personal transformational platform created to empower individuals to unlock their inner genius and achieve greater success. She is an international motivational speaker, author, and a consultant for cultivating leadership and maximizing human potential. With 30 years of corporate and non-profit experience, Felora offers her expertise to companies and individuals seeking optimal performance through a tangible system of exploration and discovery. Felora is an electromechanical engineer graduated from Oxford, England. She worked as an engineering manager for over 16 years in the nuclear industry before starting several ventures and women’s non-profit organizations.