by Dr. John C. Maxwell

Most of us never see our dreams come true. Instead of soaring through the clouds, our dreams languish like a broken-down airplane confined to its hangar. Through life, I have come to identify five common reasons why dreams don’t take flight.

No. 1 We Have Been Discouraged from Dreaming by Others
We have to pilot our own dreams; we cannot entrust them to anyone else. People who aren’t following their own dreams resent us pursuing ours. Such people feel inadequate when we succeed, so they try to drag us down.

If we listen to external voices, then we allow our dreams to be hijacked. At some point, other people will place limitations on us by doubting our abilities. When surrounded by the turbulence of criticism, we have to grasp the controls tightly to keep from being knocked off course.

No. 2 We Are Hindered by Past Disappointments and Hurts
In the movie Top Gun, Tom Cruise plays Maverick, a young, talented and cocky aviator who dreams of being the premier pilot in the U.S. Navy. In the film’s opening scenes, Maverick showcases his flying ability, but also displays a knack for pushing the envelope with regards to safety. Midway through the movie, Maverick’s characteristic aggression spells disaster. His plane crashes, killing his best friend and co-pilot.

Although cleared of wrongdoing, the painful memory of the accident haunts Maverick. He quits taking risks and loses his edge. Struggling to regain his poise, he considers giving up on his dream. Although the incident nearly wrecks Maverick’s career, he eventually reaches within to find the strength to return to the sky.

Like Maverick, many of us live with the memory of failure embedded in our psyche. Perhaps a business we started went broke, or we were fired from a position of leadership. Disappointment is the gap that exists between expectation and reality, and all of us have encountered that gap. Failure is a necessary and natural part of life…

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Your Achievement Challenge
The words of Paul J. Meyer, the late personal-development trailblazer, continue to motivate others to reach their full potential. “The first step to turning dreams into reality is to write them down—clearly and briefly. Include every adventure, every journey, every challenge, everything you can think of that you would like to do or to become. It does not make any difference how ridiculous a dream sounds. So many times people say, ‘I can’t do that,’ and they never give thought to the possibility of trying. Write down any dream that comes into your mind. Use a whole piece of paper—or an entire notebook if necessary. Then, one by one, month by month, set about accomplishing your dreams!”

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