Do Your Actions Match Your Ambitions?

Zach Clenaghan
April 27, 2020

Everyone wants to end world hunger, and beauty pageants are full of declarations of the sort.

Everyone wants to be a millionaire by 25, but there’s not many Drakes. 

Everybody wants to lose 10 pounds this year. How many make it stick?

Everyone wants to travel the world, maybe even get paid to do it. For most this remains a pipe dream that fades with age.

Why is this? Why does the vast majority of our society go through life falling short of their ambitions? And why do some people have those same ambitions and make them stick?

Social media certainly has a part to play. We often see the polished end result of a select few who do achieve these lofty goals, making them seem easily reachable. What we don’t see on social media are the herculean efforts put forth in pursuit of them. It’s easy to play voyeur to society’s elite performers in all fields, and think that we can have the same success.

You might be able to, but are you willing to take action to back up your dreams? Because those you idolize were. If you followed them from the day they gave words to their ambitions, you’d find that each day their existence is geared towards realizing their dreams.

Do yours? Or do you spend 5 hours a day mindlessly scrolling through social media? Do you think the 25-year-old millionaires spend 5 hours a day scrolling mindlessly through Instagram? Scroll they may, but it’s definitely not mindlessly. It’s with an end in mind.

The first step to taking the actions required are to define them.

Take a look at what you want to achieve. Goals for the next year, goals for the next 10. Now work backward, all the way back. What do you have to do each week, each day even, to achieve those goals?

Have you been taking those actions? If not, are you willing to? If the answer is no to both of those, relax. Move the goalposts. You’re going to have a miserable existence if you go through life falling short of your goals. It’s okay not to be a millionaire by 25, it’s okay not to end world hunger. What’s not okay, is looking in the mirror and being ashamed of the person you see, because you’ve continually failed to achieve your goals.

Find people who have achieved what you set out to. No, not the social media influencer, or the person selling a course. They have a vested interest in making you think it’s easy, as well as inflating the positives of achieving such ambitions and downplaying how hard it was to get there. They’re also likely to hide from you the element of luck involved with their achievements, which cannot be understated. 

Find real people who have achieved your goals and ask them. 

“Where were you when you were my age?”

“What do I need to do now to be where you are?”

“What mistakes did you make on your path that I could avoid?”

“How hard was it?”

One of the goals I mentioned at the start is one I’m very familiar with. For the past 5 years, I’ve been living nomadically around the world, first as a traveling online student, and then building Edumadic, all from my laptop. Over those 5 years I’ve met a ton of inspirational people who are living a life most people dream of. They only work on projects they’re passionate about. They live wherever they want. They socialize as much or as little as they desire. They are very active, spend a lot of time in nature, and eat very healthily by western standards. And they’re always surrounded by other inspirational people. 

How did these people do it? Well, for a start, most of them are in their 30s, and have spent the last 8+ years of their life building a foundation of skills and experience that have led them here. They’ve become experts in their fields, built personal brands and networks that amplify their voice, and deliberately set themselves up to live life on their terms.

If you followed them on Instagram now, you’d see the highlight reel of their current existence, as with anybody on the platform. Afternoons by the pool, sunsets on the beach, and coconuts for breakfast. 

What you don’t see is the actions taken over a decade to get themselves there. Or the personal sacrifices made and the risks they have taken. 

As a society, we’re so quick to declare our ambitions to the world, and so slow to take action towards them. Don’t join the ranks of the dreamers. Lay down your path and start walking down it, today.