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“Dreams are the touchstones of our characters.” Thoreau. For many people, as they age they tend to let go of their dreams. I know, I have been one of these people and as I look back over the years I wonder why I had them or why I let them go. Were they too ambitious or did I lack the necessary skills to achieve them? For many of us, we may never have answers to these questions but one thing life has taught me is when you have no dreams in front of you, life tends to lose its meaning, purpose, passion, and often even activity. Yes, as we get older our dreams may change and we may let go of some and replace them with new ones but in the end to live each day without some dream in your heart, well all I can say is I have known a few people in their later years who had lost all of their dreams for any number of reasons but the results were the same – the purpose, meaning and value of life seemed to decline into routines that lacked any sense of value or drive. I don’t care if your dream is to help people who are living in “old folks homes” or being a mentor to someone whose life is just getting started – in the end, life is not about what you have, where you live, or what you own but how is your life in some way contributing to the lives of others who cross your path. Dreams don’t have to be to sail around the world or end up in some Hall of Fame – they just need to give you a reason to start each day with passion and anticipation and end each day with a smile on your face.

“Don’t be run so much by what you lack as by what you have already achieved.” M. Aurelius. We all have a long list of past achievements whether raising great kids, starting a new organization, contributing time and resources to some worthy charity cause, or saving lives. The problem for many people is their attention often seems to be more focused on what they still don’t have, have not achieved yet, or some other goal that they have worked towards for many years. In the end, in my opinion, stuff doesn’t matter. OK so you drive a fancy car, live in an expensive house, and go out often to expensive restaurants but what is on your list of achievements and not the things you still don’t have or want? We will all leave here with some unfinished business and stuff in our “in-basket” so the question is, is your focus on what is still missing, you deserve, you want, you need in life to give your life meaning and purpose or can you just review your list of “have done’s and/or are doing’s” and smile?

“Genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration.” Edison. This is one of the most repeated and well-known quotes of the past. It has been part of people’s goals, mission, and plan as well as on the wall of many business leaders’ offices. If you are familiar with it or if you have never heard it before, let me ask you – what does this short quote mean to you? Think about it . . . Does this mean that genius has nothing to do with knowledge or experience? Does it mean that all you have to do is work hard and you can achieve anything or everything you desire? Does it mean that genius has nothing to do with education etc? Quotes whether an opinion or a question can all be interpreted uniquely and differently. So, here’s my response to the above question – If you don’t consistently work hard toward whatever it is you desire, dream, or hope for no matter how smart you are – it’s unlikely that you will achieve your goal, purpose, or mission. Success, in the end, requires effort, sweat, sacrifice, pain, disappointment, frustration, and even failure but if you have passion, courage, confidence, and effort you will overcome, you will achieve and you will succeed. It also depends on how you define success.

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