Keeping the Dream Alive

The dream comes in waves. It washes over our lives and swells through our veins. It’s an unparalleled feeling; the wave can’t be ignored once it crests.

For the lucky ones, the dream was never nebulous, but always a known truth.

For others, the dream moulds itself into different shapes; gives us permission to dissect, tear apart, reconstruct and then demolish again and again, until we discover our true purpose. We begin with this process of trial and error, somewhat of a limbo, until we uncover our heart’s desire.

For everyone, the dream is different; but once unearthed… it ignites this meaningful drive rooted deep within us: to transform vision into reality.


We like to think the dream has an identifiable culmination – “once I accomplish this, all my worries will be resolved” – when, in reality, the dream is constantly evolving; giving rise to new objectives along the way.

It’s human nature: we’re never completely satisfied, but we do know when we’re onto something great.

It’s a rowdy weeknight. My friends and I are arguing about whether or not a ‘Plan B’ can help you on the way to achieving your dream. Opinions are being thrown around, voices rising. It’s a classic scene from Everybody Loves Raymond.

Amidst the chaos, I turn to my left. One of our friends, Davies Selasie, is perched up on his seat, poised to jump into the debate. There’s a resonance and strength to his voice as it booms across the room, filling our ears with his coveted opinions. He believes there cannot be a Plan B when trying to attain ‘the dream’. Instead, he tells us that anyone who endorses this mindset, is setting themselves up for failure.

“Every thought and second you put into your Plan B, is a second you take away from your dream,” he bellows.

While this sentiment isn’t particularly revelatory, it is nonetheless intriguing, and I am keen to chat and flesh out his views.

We meet at a local café, and upon arriving, I can see the curiosity in his eyes.

A couple of minutes later, and we’ve dived right in.

“A dream is where you’ve always seen yourself,” he posits.

Davies explains to me how he always thought he would attend university and study law. But, his plans quickly changed when he wasn’t able to secure a HECS (Higher Education Contribution Scheme) loan.

There’s a slight pause before he muses; “I think the best thing that happened to me was not receiving that HECS loan”.

This triggered Davies to reconsider what it was he actually wanted in life. His dream then took on a new form: that of opening a consulting agency and providing those less fortunate with legal facilities they couldn’t otherwise afford.

Still, the journey to fulfilling the dream was a wholeeee other story. Society is privy to the aired achievements of entrepreneurs, entertainment figures, sports figures (… and the list goes on); but, it doesn’t really know the sacrifices ‘the accomplished’ are compelled to make in order to achieve their dreams.

This, in turn, sees some of us feelings as though we’re alone on our path to dream-attainment. There’s an interesting juxtaposition: on the one hand, we feel liberated and contented in having something ‘bigger’ to instil drive and purpose, but conversely, that ‘dream’ can begin to feel like a burden.

As if on cue, the negative thoughts roll in.

“I’m not good enough.
“I’ll never achieve this.
“I can’t do this.
“I wish life was easier and I could feel satisfied with chasing something more tangible.”

We’ve all been there! It’s the very pitfall of having a dream. Our psyches take something pure and imbue it with unadulterated pressure, mutating it into an experience plagued by self-doubt, self-loathing, fear and anxiety.

When enduring these ghastly side effects, it is important to recall the ‘why’ component, Davies says.

It’s easy for people to get caught up in monotony of perpetually seeking something-better than what they already have, in that it can devoid them of any real sense of specific purpose geared toward a specific dream. “If you don’t have clarity on why you’re doing it, quite frankly, you will crash pretty hard, which will leave you nowhere”.

We speak about his sales job, which sees him door knocking every day.

“I fucking know why I do it … get up every day and knock on doors, I know…”

“I don’t burnout because I have clarity,” he says.

Everyone has a different motive, but the key is encouraging an inner dialogue. That will assist us in clarifying – again and again and again and again – why we need to simply keep on keeping on.

We must unremittingly remind ourselves of why we’re doing the same activities on the daily; jogging at 5am, waiting on tables, trudging to the same crappy job. Staying mindful of our visions and missions can help alleviate the pain; can help remind us that it is only a fleeting discomfort the universe mandates while we’re on the path to something greater.

Every day, we take a leap of faith with our decisions. We experience the good and the bad and everything-in-between that comes with having – maintaining, cultivating and refining – a dream. Nonetheless, as Davies reminds us, “A dream fulfils you, but doesn’t define you”.

Truly, just because your dream may not be unfolding exactly how you envisioned it, does not mean you’re a failure. The dream is what we want to do in the future, but everyone must remember: the dream does not solely make up the complex fabric of who we are.