It’s a noble idea to pursue your dreams. All of us have received inspiration from the time we were born to go after our dreams. We have heard that we should chase our most sacred dreams, from our mentors, from books and from the movies.
Yet so few of us actually go after our dreams. After high school or college, we pass on our dreams and opt for a paycheck. We would rather do what pays the bills and helps us get by than step out of our comfort zone and live the life that’s possible for us.
Living your dream is no easy feat. In fact, in the pursuit of my dream, I’ve lost relationships, a marriage, a 6-figure career, a house, friendships, family and jobs. In the pursuit of writing, I gave up free time, weekends and a social life. Over the past few years, the keyboard has become my muse and the computer screen my teacher. My editors have been my guides and my audience has been my encouragement.
While anyone can go after their dreams, not everyone will. The people who have only dreams without action we’ll call “dreamers.” The people who take action on their dreams we’ll call “doers.”
Here are 9 differences between the “dreamers” and the “doers” in the world:
1. Dreamers talk, doers do
Ask a dreamer about their dreams and they will paint the most inspiring and grandiose picture of what they envision. They will talk about every aspect of what they think is possible in the future. The doer, on the other hand, will talk little and walk a lot. The doer will forsake talk for action. They will wake up early, work late, sacrifice their weekends and keep going when they face failures.
2. Dreamers postpone, doers start
Dreamers will allow roadblocks to distract and delay them. They will come up with reasons for why they can’t start today. Doers will start before they are ready. If they can’t start immediately, they will prepare, gather resources, find mentors and figure out what needs to be done so they can start.
“A dream doesn’t become reality through magic. It takes sweat, determination and hard work.” – Colin Powell
3. Dreamers speculate, doers experiment
Dreamers contemplate all the pros and cons of a situation. They hypothesize, theorize and philosophize about what’s possible. They plan for situations that can come up. While some planning is good, experimenting is better. When you do something, you’ll know what works and what doesn’t. When something you’re working on fails, you’ll have the opportunity to improve upon it. Doers keep trying, failing and trying again until it works.
4. Dreamers find excuses, doers take action
If something doesn’t go their way, the dreamer will blame and then delay. They will find reasons why their ideas aren’t working. They will find excuses as to why they can’t continue and why it’s someone else’s fault. The “doer”, on the other hand, is solution oriented. They are constantly looking to fix problems, come up with new solutions and get creative with the problems they face. They opt for action, even the smallest kind, instead of letting excuses as to why something can’t be done paralyze them.
5. Dreamers listen to fear, doers work through fear
Fear is natural and everyone will face it. Fears will come up when you are doing something extraordinary or when you are outside your comfort zone. Dreamers will think about fears and let it paralyze them. Doers, on the other hand, find ways to push the limits of their fears. Doers also face fear, but they are able to move forward with their fears in tow. They ask what’s the worst that can happen, know the worst won’t happen and move forward anyway. They know that overcoming one set of fears will position them to better manage the next set of fears.
6. Dreamers focus on the destination, doers focus on the journey
If you think about simply getting to the destination or arriving at the dream but take no action, you’re unlikely to get there. Dreamers love to visualize the destination, which is important, but they take no additional steps. Doers supplement their dreams with action. They actually believe their dream is alive today, not in the future, so each day they focus on getting to the place they desire.
7. Dreamers compare their dreams, doers construct their dreams
Dreamers will think of their dreams and then compare themselves to other people who have achieved their dreams. They will compare themselves to people around them. They will compare themselves to people who tried and failed to achieve their dreams. Doers do less of the comparison game. They simply work on building up their dreams each day regardless of what others have done. They look to others for lessons and guidance, not comparisons.
“As soon as you start to pursue a dream, your life wakes up and everything has meaning.” – Barbara Sher
8. Dreamers stop with failure, doers are inspired by failure
Dreamers will fail once and call it quits on their dreams. Doers will see a failure as a way to improve and get better. Dreamers will believe that failure is a sign to stop. Doers believe that failure is a sign to take it up a notch. Doers know that the more they fail, the closer they get to success.
9. Dreamers stop, doers keep going
Along the same lines, dreamers stop after obstacles, failures and setbacks. If you don’t believe enough in your dreams, you’ll give up on them easily. If you don’t put effort and energy into achieving your dreams, you’ll have little incentive to keep going. Doers, however, are a resilient bunch. They don’t want to fail and have their efforts go to waste, so they’ll keep pushing forward. They know that every setback will help them get closer to the destination.