How to build a foundation for your dreams
SUCCESS SERIES: BOOK I
"How to build a foundation for your dreams"
By JAMES WILDER
Publish Date: VIP Edition (DRAFT)
Print Date: 2-1-2022, 1-20-2022, 1-17-2022, 1-4-2022, 12-1-2021, 11-17-2021, 11-15-2021, 11-2-2021, 10-25-2021, 9-18-2021
Published by James Wilder
Some people seem to be born with a clear mission in life. They know what they want and they go all out to get it. What about the rest of us? What if you feel in your heart you are capable of much more, but you just don’t know how to draw it out? Maybe you’re not sure what you want to do. Maybe you’re not sure you can do something exceptional or even make a difference. Maybe you don’t know how to start. Maybe you have tried but are frustrated due to lack of progress.
These are all issues I’ve wrestled with in my life. I believe there is an answer for these questions. In the search for a deeper experience in my life I have discovered that my dreams serve a purpose. Our dreams are not an escape from reality, they are there to become reality. The ability to dream is a gift. But dreams take work.
Dreams take work and success is no accident. People study for years to earn a degree. It’s no different for success. In order to build our dreams, we must become students of success. There are principles and practices we can learn. There are ways to change our thinking. There is no limit, or end to learning, practicing and expressing our gifts. With the right mindset, life becomes a world of possibilities. Choose a dream and run with it!
My goal in writing this book is to encourage you to follow your dreams and give you the tools to help make it happen. I have distilled the most important principles and practices about success and crafted an easy to follow guide.
My approach is to write a series of short books that will help you see the big picture as well as the steps along the way.
This book is the starting point. It will give you the keys to building a solid foundation for your dreams. It will be a valuable reference for years to come.
I hope this book inspires you and gives you the determination to pursue a greater vision for your life. I hope you see a vision that excites you and empowers you to live each day on purpose. I hope that you experience an ever increasing joy and fulfillment knowing that your life has greater meaning and impact than you ever imagined. I hope that you achieve your greatest destiny.
Are these big hopes? Yes, of course! Why waste hope on small things? Let’s move some mountains.
To your success!
WE ARE CREATORS
In order to build our dreams, we must see ourselves as creators. Maybe we tried and gave up on that a long time ago. If we don’t see ourselves as creators, we will miss out on one of the most fulfilling aspects of life - the gift of creating. We need the mindset of a creator.
We Admire Creators
Maybe we are drawn to actors, musicians, writers, and artists not just because of what they create, but because they exercise their creative desires to the fullest. Maybe we think "I wish I could experience a bit of what they have." I believe we can. I believe we can experience what the greats experience.
No actor, musician, or artist is given anything. They start with raw talent. They study, train, work hard, and they create. The truth is, anyone can study, train, work hard, and create. We have the instinct to create, but we have to choose our art. We have to choose something to master. It is what we were born to do.
The Art We Create
Creating is not reserved for artists and the arts. We are all creators. We are all creatives. We create in the everyday experiences of life.
We create with our mind. We think, we plan, we analyze, we compose, have ideas, gain wisdom, find solutions, and see opportunities.
We create with our hands. We heal, write books, make music, create sculptures, paint paintings, build engines, and design bridges.
We create with our heart. We care, show concern, we love, we express empathy.
We create with our words. We teach, empower, encourage, inspire, direct, and connect.
We create with our love. The most fundamental form of creation is having children. We were all created.
We create in infinite ways things of beauty and things of industry. Creating is for all.
The Creator Mindset
A mindset is a set of beliefs that represent a view. A creator mindset would consist of a collection of beliefs such as:
Creating is a natural expression of life.
Creating is a key element of a fulfilling life.
A Creator Mindset means we are more focused on creating than consuming. What we consume should be for our benefit and support our creative efforts. We are at our best when we are creating.
Being a creator means there is always more to create, and more to give. We are not giving from a fixed amount that we need to hoard and protect.
A Creator Mindset means we should also rest, look back on our work, and call it good. It is good because we exercised our ability to create. We affirm the time and care we put into creating. We bless it and let it go.
The Crown of Creator
Creating is not a season of life. Something we did once. We create until we can no longer breathe. What we have created continues to do its work, long after we leave. The crown of “creator” is not for the gods. Do not wait to be crowned. The crown is for all who awaken to their purpose. The crown is for you.
START WITH A DREAM
When we see ourselves as creators, we dream of the things we can create. Our dreams are not an escape from reality, they are there to become reality.
A dream comes from the belief that there is something better. Not in the sense of acquiring more things. In the sense of more life. Life is energy, creation, growth, expansion, and transformation.
Are we really alive if we don't dream? How can we live and not breathe? How can we live, and not dream? Our dreams are a natural expression of life. Our dreams are the evidence of life with a strong pulse.
Feed Your Dreams
Anything that is alive needs nourishment and attention. Do we say someday I will eat? Or someday I will feed my child? No! We experience pain if we don't eat. And children will cry if they aren't fed. In the same way, our dreams need to be fed daily. We need to take specific action in order to advance our dream.
Unless we started in childhood, we probably aren’t in a position to execute one-hundred percent on our dreams. We have to start building little by little. If we can't build, then we prepare. We can read books that educate, encourage and inspire us. We can save money. We can build our network. There is much work to do that doesn't cost a dime and doesn't take much time.
Anything that is alive needs nourishment and attention. Our dreams need to be fed. We feed our dreams by taking action daily.
Our Dreams Transform Us
A dream by definition is something we don't have and can't currently obtain. It's something that seems impossible. It's a dream because it will take something we don't have to make it a reality.
An amazing thing happens when we follow our dreams, we are transformed. We transform into something new. We will be able to say "I am a different person today than when I started pursuing my dreams."
When we experience transformation, we think differently, we see differently, we act differently. Our values change.
Our personal transformation is evidence of the power of a living dream.
Our dreams are evidence of a strong, healthy, and vibrant life. In the process of making our dreams real, we are transformed. The greater the dream, the greater the transformation.
The only dream that becomes real is the one that is fed daily. If today, we can take even the smallest action to make our dreams real, then today is the day.
BELIEVE YOUR DREAM
It’s one thing to have a dream. It’s a totally different animal to believe your dream can become real. We might start with excitement, but the harsh reality is building your dreams will take more than what you are today. We will face adversity, distraction, and discouragement. Therefore, we need an unshakable belief.
What is Belief?
Belief is something we hold to be true. Belief guides our actions and influences our feelings. If you believe you aren't good at math, then you will avoid anything to do with math and certainly won't enjoy learning more math! If you believe you will never be rich then you will not pursue the skills to understand and build wealth. Belief has consequences.
Every action we take is based on our beliefs. The actions we choose to take on a daily basis form our future. Therefore, what we believe is supremely important! For example, I believe that I have much more potential than what I experience today. I believe I can have more joy, more fulfillment, and more impact. Life is about growth and growth is a choice. Therefore, my belief directs the daily actions I choose to take in order to grow and experience more life!
Belief is an urgent matter because it directs the actions we choose to take.
We have thousands of beliefs! Every action we take is based on the many beliefs we have, right or wrong. Some beliefs have minimal impact. Other beliefs shape our destiny.
How We Acquire Beliefs
Over time, we unconsciously acquire beliefs about ourselves and the world. Our beliefs are usually acquired through the daily influence of our parents, friends, education, culture, authority figures, and personal experiences.
Some of the beliefs we adopt might be based on misunderstanding or misinterpretation. These default (unexamined) beliefs may not serve us. In fact, they may hold us back. If there is even the slightest possibility an existing belief might be holding us back, we should seize the opportunity to consciously examine it, test it, refine it, or reject it.
Limiting Beliefs Limit Life
Limiting beliefs deprive us of a higher quality of life. A faulty belief could keep us from living and enjoying an ability we actually possess. Limiting beliefs can distort reality and block us from enjoying the experience of our true potential. Limiting beliefs can chain us to a destiny that is far short of our potential.
I had a major limiting belief from childhood. I believed my daydreaming was simply for my own entertainment. It took me decades to realize that I actually enjoy thinking. And thinking can be put to good use if focused on problems that are important to me. I used to feel ashamed because I was a deep thinker and couldn't come up with a quick answer. Now I realize deep thinking is a supreme gift! It is a gift that can, and should, be developed. Not something to feel shame over.
Limiting beliefs held me back from attempting things that I wanted to do. I believed I had to be an expert in order to do most anything. I listened to the critics and the nitpickers. I gave them power. I censored myself.
Maybe we were treated in a way that made us feel unintelligent. We withhold our viewpoints for fear that someone will ridicule us. Maybe we never considered owning a business because we didn't think it was a possibility. These are all beliefs, right or wrong.
The key is to examine our beliefs and determine if they are based on reality or adopted subconsciously over time. If some of our beliefs block us from living our potential and enjoying a greater life, it makes sense to examine those beliefs. In fact, it is an urgent matter.
Levels of Belief
It is helpful to know that there are at least three levels of belief: opinion, belief, and conviction.
Opinion. Our opinions are held somewhat loosely. We can easily change our mind if new information sways us to change our mind. Our opinions have very little influence on our daily actions.
Belief. Belief is deeper. It is typically based on matters important to us, such as values of justice, kindness, fairness, and honesty. We have beliefs about people, and beliefs about ourselves. Our beliefs direct our daily actions.
Conviction. Conviction is far deeper. There is little possibility that anyone can persuade you or offer any evidence that could overthrow your convictions. It is accompanied by deep commitment and consistent action.
We don’t have to join the ranks of “the crazy ones.” But we can join the ranks of the unstoppable. We have the power to adopt new beliefs that empower us to grow. If some of our beliefs block us from living our potential and enjoying life in a greater way, it makes sense to examine those beliefs. In fact, it is an urgent matter. A matter of life and destiny.
BUILD A FOUNDATION
In order for us to build a foundation for our dream, we have to strengthen our belief. The first, and most important, foundation we build is in our mind. If we do not build on this foundation our work may not endure the test of time and the storms of life.
There are seven components that create a strong foundation for belief. So strong that you will most certainly achieve what you believe.
We first gain evidence by faith. If you strongly believe something but you have no evidence, that is faith. Faith is the evidence. Faith is the evidence of things unseen. If we have nothing but faith, we have more than most! Faith can be the starting point, but we must add to it.
We are not building some mystical thing. Whatever we dream of has already been accomplished to some degree. The difference is, can we obtain it too? For this we seek knowledge. Has anyone accomplished this? How did they do it? Is it possible for me?
We can grow evidence of success by putting in the work required to grow. Read the books, take a class, create, practice. If you put in a thousand hours studying something, that my friend is powerful evidence! Action is evidence.
When we start putting in the effort, we will start creating things. These are our "works of art." They may not be pretty, but no initial work of art is awesome. These works will start accumulating. They will build on each other. Given time, you will amass a "body of work." It could be a list of classes you have taken, a list of articles you have written, or a list of contacts you have made. Anything you create along the way is evidence of success.
We can gain evidence when close relationships believe in us. My mom has been my biggest supporter. Seek out a support network of people that believe in you and your dreams. Don't listen to negative people always coming up with reasons why you can't. Seek out and journey with people who are trying to accomplish something similar. We are rarely ever the first to attempt something. Other people have done it. Now it's your turn, and it's your time.
At some point, we will start seeing results from our effort. It will probably take much longer than we expected. I never hear: "That was easy and didn't take nearly as long as I expected." There is much work to do, but in due time, you will see. Like the green shoot of an oak tree breaking through the soil to reach the light of the sun. The initial work is unseen. But there will be a time when you, and all, will see.
Aligning your dream with your purpose creates an inexhaustible power source. The next chapter will dig deeper.
When you doubt yourself. When you question your dream. When you get tired and worn out. Don't despair. Remember the components of the foundation. Belief is powerful. If you have faith you can move mountains. Your purpose will make you unstoppable. With a solid foundation to support your dream, what can stop you?
Plug into an inexhaustible power source.
A dream gives us a vision of what to build. Purpose gives us a reason why to build and the determination to build to completion.
Willpower will fail. Motivation will fade. Interests come and go. Rather than being passionate about talent or skills, you can tap into your purpose. Your purpose is broader than your talent or skills. How you choose to fulfill your purpose can vary.
Here are some of the benefits of choosing a purpose.
Purpose Gives You Clarity
Choosing your purpose is like creating a clear path through a dense jungle. By wielding your machete, you clear distractions (this is ongoing). By choosing one destination, you have a direction. You eliminate a thousand roads. You can finally make progress!
Your purpose should motivate you to take action every day. The actions you take should align with your purpose. Why do people look forward to Monday, get up early, and work late? It is because they have a clear purpose - a purpose they have chosen.
Purpose Gives You Perseverance
You can suffer many losses, and still maintain your power. It is your purpose that you cling to when you get knocked down. It fuels your comeback story. Your purpose is the key to perseverance.
Purpose Creates Urgency
Your purpose will give you a sense of urgency because you are the only one who can fulfill your purpose! When you have ownership, commitment, and investment, you will not waste time. Ask anyone with a clear purpose if they ever get bored. They will probably say, the only time I am bored is when I have to do things that don't align with my purpose.
Purpose Can Shield You From Loss
In an imperfect world there are things out of our control. Sometimes we experience loss. For example, some people might have a passion for playing the violin. They travel the world with the greatest orchestras. Their passion and joy come from their ability to play the violin. But in an imperfect world we could lose our abilities. This can feel devastating. They might become bitter and feel that life is over.
The good news is, many people that experience loss discover something deeper. They discover a purpose. Maybe they discover their purpose is to bring appreciation for music to the world. They might lose the ability to play violin, but they can bring the appreciation of music to the world in many different ways.
Having a broad purpose can shield us emotionally from the tragedy of losing things and abilities.
Your Dreams Can Evolve
How you get where you want to go, and what you create along the way can change. Don't get attached to these things. They will come and go.
For example, some might say that Elon Musk is passionate about rockets and electric vehicles, but it goes much deeper than that. Elon Musk's purpose (as far as I understand) might be to "save humanity." How he does it can vary. Today he does it by creating SpaceX and giving it a mission to put a sustainable colony on Mars. If a better idea comes along, he might very well choose a different way. But your purpose will always remain.
Purpose Is Positive
Our purpose is always positive. It is never negative or destructive. When we build our dreams, we are creating something new. We are creating something that never existed.
Decide on a purpose so personal and compelling that you are happy to pay the price. You know you have a powerful purpose if you're willing to invest all you have. Our purpose will always remain. However, it can be refined as we learn and grow.
BECOME A BUILDER
We now have a dream, a strong foundation, and the power of purpose. We can now pursue our dreams with confidence! But we have to take action. What are we building?
If someone asked you today "show me what you have been building all these years you have lived," what would you show them? This question came to me as I wrestled with my purpose. I looked at all I had done in my life. I couldn't answer the question, "What are you building?" The only answer was "I don't know!"
What are you building? What should you be building? Are you building what you want to build? This question is something everyone should at least think about and decide for themselves.
When you look back on your life, what do you want to see?
We Are Builders
As human beings, we have so much potential. What if for the rest of our lives we continued to develop our potential? What if we channeled our vision, curiosity, creativity, learning and experimentation into something that could be added to year after year, for as long as we live? What would it look like in 10, 20 or even 60 years?
Having a builder mindset can help channel our energy into creating something we believe in, something significant, something that can be added to year after year, something that endures for a lifetime, and beyond.
What Every Builder Needs
Every builder needs to build themselves, while building their dreams. Start with a minimum viable skill set. Start building. Improve and add skills as needed. Here are just a few things every builder needs:
o A dream. What do you want to build? Write it down.
o A plan. How are you going to build it?
o Lead. It’s your dream. You will have to learn skills in order to lead yourself.
o Skills. Dream building requires much training. Start with a minimum viable set of skills and train for life.
o Tools. Identify the tools you will need. You will discover more tools along the way.
o Time. Allocate time. Start building. Start simple. Build daily.
o Practice. This is a lifelong journey. You will get better.
o Connections. Connect with other builders. Encourage other builders.
o Process. Observe what worked well and learn from what didn't work well. Incorporate what you learn.
Does this sound like work? Yes! Dreams take labor. But it's a labor of love. Take it one day at a time.
Pursuing your dreams and wanting to grow is not something to be ashamed of. This is not a grind or a hustle. There is nothing to crush. This is something we do because it is fulfilling. It makes us feel alive. The effort we invest is worthwhile. It is a source of an ever increasing excitement and awe about life. If you develop your skills as a builder and continuously pursue your dreams, your direction is onward and upward.
Our dreams serve a purpose. They serve as a voice that calls us to a higher experience of life. If we constantly push our dreams aside or treat them as fantasy we are missing the point. Dreams are for building. What dream do you have? Are you living it? If not, what is stopping you?
Practice is belief in action. When you practice your dream on a daily basis you make it real. As you practice your new belief, you might decide it really isn't what you want. This is not a waste of time. We have gained clarity through experience. Push-button success does not exist! We have to overcome our desire to want everything now with little effort. We really do have to live our beliefs over time in order to verify if it is something that truly makes us come alive.
Practicing and refining your new beliefs ultimately causes you to try things you've never done before. This is where growth is unleashed!
History Begins Today
This is super important. Probably way more important than you imagine right now. In order to know you are making progress you have to have a measurable starting point. Your starting point will be something you reference for the rest of your life. It's that important!
Every historian wants to know "When did this begin?” or “When was this built?" It's an important question and an important part of history. A starting point is also an important part of your story!
If your starting point is "someday," then maybe you don’t have a compelling dream. It's important to make this distinction.
Building your dream causes you to grow, so it's important to choose a dream that you can start building today.
If you don't have a clear starting point and a clear destination you are simply wandering. And wandering will quickly lead to feelings of hopelessness and frustration. These feelings give power to the voice of defeat.
End of Book, Time to Take Action
If you do not have a start date for building your dream, here is your opportunity to make history. Choose today!
Create a one page document with the following:
Document your start date.
Define success for yourself.
Choose your purpose.
Describe your dream.
List some action items (a simple plan).
Keep it simple. Keep it one page. You probably won’t be crystal clear! Don’t take more than an hour! Review it each day until it is good enough. Then start building! As you build, you will gain more insight and clarity. Review the plan on a regular basis.
You can study a sport all you like but the first time you play you’re going to encounter the unexpected. You’re going to forget what you learned and go into reaction mode.
Your dream and foundation are just the beginning. There are many principles and practices that can be learned to help build your dreams.
Read Next: "BUILDER - The Practice and Tools of the Builder" This book is a collection of tools and practices that you can add and refine along the way.