For this weeks’ book review, I’m going to do something a little unorthodox. I’m going to review my 24th and final book of the year…but I haven’t finished it yet. In fact, I’ve only read the introduction. Based on my uncontrollable need for a highlighter on page 2 of the introduction and the fact that my husband read the book first and it lead to a very insightful conversation, I’m certain that by the time I’m done this book, I’ll wish I would’ve reviewed it. I don’t plan to end the year with any regrets, so, ladies and gentlemen, I present…
“Put Your Dream to the Test” by John C. Maxwell
I received this book from my good friend, ArtSea, who was given it by her cousin…a “pay it forward” of sorts. ArtSea raved about the book when she finished it. “You have to read it!” My husband got to it first. It lead to a fantastic “hot tub conversation”.
Side point: we have some of our best “figure out life” conversations in the hot tub. I’m not sure why. Maybe it’s the awesomeness of our secluded, country surroundings that inspires us or the darkness that makes it easier to say what’s really on your mind. I don’t know why it works but it does.
Anyway, this book sparked a conversation about the difference between dreams and goals. My husband has always struggled with the goal setting process. Finding that “why” motivation. Laying out the specific steps to get there. Goals are great for people who are structured and are motivated by a concrete plan, systematically laid out and who have a proper, motivating why.
What about people whose brains don’t work that way? What if setting goals just feels like more work. Even if it’s a goal that you really want to reach – just the word, GOAL, makes it feel like another task that you have to get done. What if we looked at them differently? Think of your biggest and best goal. Are you seeing it? Are you feeling it? Remember how that feels. Now think of your goal again but this time, think of it as a DREAM. Does that feel any different? Does it feel less like a burden? Does it feel like something that you don’t need to define a why to because the why is already built in? Do you feel more excited to accomplish it and less weighed down?
That was our “ah-ha” moment that night in the hot tub.
What a relief! Here we thought there was something wrong with us. All the goal setting books and programs that we’ve gone through only to feel like failures when they didn’t stick. Don’t get me wrong, I set goals. But I always get distracted before I complete the “plan” that is needed to accomplish the goals. I have ambitions of being more systematic in my planning of goals and life. Every year, I purchase at least 2 different day planners. I keep looking for the one magic system that will click and will keep me on track. Every year, those 2+ planners end up with minimal writing on their pages. I think I try to force myself to be more Type A than I actually am. But I digress….
About the book. Obviously, my comments on the content of this book are minimal. But what an introduction! John Maxwell describes a dream as
“…an inspiring picture of the future that energizes your mind, will, and emotions, empowering you to do everything you can to achieve it.”
“Dreams are valuable commodities. They propel us forward. They give us energy. They make us enthusiastic…People who don’t possess compelling dreams are in danger of having their lives merely slip away.”
Then I read something that spoke to me directly and to the purpose of this blog.
“Dreams require a person to stretch, to go beyond average. You can’t reach for a dream and remain safely mediocre at the same time. ”
Then he quotes D. Bruce Lockerbie, chairman and CEO of PAIDEIA, Inc.,
“Mediocrity isn’t at root a national problem nor a corporate or institutional problem; mediocrity is a personal problem…Mediocrity is first, a personal trait, a personal concession to less than our best, an individual lethargic resignation that says, ‘I guess good enough is good enough’. Soon mediocrity metastasizes throughout the body politic, causing the nation to be at risk; but always remember, mediocrity begins with me.”
Wow. Mediocrity is like a disease that spreads through every area of your life if you let it. It’s like a cancer. That is the point of what I try to put out there for you to read. Stop settling for good enough. Living a mediocre life isn’t really living. It’s just settling. It’s accepting a diseased version of what your life should be. We are all capable of so much more than that. Let’s all get out there and dream…dream big…and go for it! The worst that can happen is you may fail. Wait…what?? You thought I was going to be all cheerleader, didn’t you? I’m here to be realistic.
“Failure is the price we must pay to achieve success.”
We will all fail at some point. Accept it and get over it. Every failure is an opportunity to more intelligently begin again. Learn from each failure and it’s only a matter of time before you are living your dream and living a life that is way beyond mediocre.