It is the possibility of having a dream come true that makes life interesting.
On Feb. 17, I realized one of my life's dreams. My book, A Manual for Peace, appeared on amazon.com. Having my book listed on what many call the biggest bookstore in the world gave me a strong feeling of gratification. As I think back over the last five years from when I first began writing the book (I had laid aside the unfinished manuscript for about three years of that time), I'm reminded of the advice I received from experts in the field of goal setting and dream realization.
Over the past decade or two, I've read many books from world-renowned authors like Stephen Covey, Brian Tracy, and Anthony Robbins. Each of these books has expounded the key success principles required to not only live your life to the fullest, but to also narrow your focus on what you really want out of life – your purpose.
Currently, I'm reading Covey's latest book called The 3rd Alternative. Based on what I've read so far, the author sets out an interesting paradigm for engaging with our fellow human beings, so as to maximize our relationships and create the kind of synergy that breaks down the barriers to conflict resolution. Much of Covey's book outlines examples of individual people, or groups (and in one case, a country, Switzerland) that have been shining examples of choosing the path of the 3rd alternative. In other words, they've used creative solutions to remedy protracted problems.
But back to my earlier point about dream realization; I think we'd all agree on the key components required to make it happen. Those are: vision, goal setting, planning, persistence, and belief. All of those elements are important in the process, but for me belief is the key cog in the wheel on the drive to dream fulfillment. In Mark 9:23, Jesus said: "All things are possible to him who believes." He didn't say some things are possible; he said all things are possible. I'm really encouraged by those words.
In my estimation, too many of us only scratch at the surface of our potential as human beings. Who could deny there's so much more we could achieve if we really stepped out on faith and conquered the inhibiting forces of doubt and fear? Dale Carnegie once said: "If you want to conquer fear, don't sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy." Are you busy taking action and happily checking off the items on your "bucket list?"
Throughout the process of finishing my book and getting it published, I've benefited greatly by studying the teachings of the Stoic philosophers. One member of that group, Epictetus, had an interesting observation on the topic of believing in ourselves and heading toward the apex of achievement in our lives. "We all carry the seeds of greatness within us, but we need an image as a point of focus in order that they may sprout." For me, that image is our greatest dream – our magnificent obsession.
Leonard Quilty is a teacher with the Centre for Learning@Home, a fully-accredited and publicly-funded Christian school that combines the expertise of Okotoks Home Schooling Services and St. Paul's Academy Online School and is part of Christ the Redeemer Catholic Schools in Okotoks, Alberta. He can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or you can visit his website at: www.inspiredtoteach.com