“It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.” ~ E.E. Cummings  [Tweet this!]

I noticed that I’m pretty close to living my dream right now. I have the woman and family of my dreams, I do what I love, I earn enough, I live where I want to live. And all in all I’m feeling pretty good.

It wasn’t always like this, especially not when I was a teenager. So I made quite some transformation in my life.

And I’m thankful for that. Because I know that there is only one constant in our universe. And that is change.

But what does it really take to live your dreams?

If you take two people who start out in their life with the same conditions, one could live up to the fullest potential and the other one could live a life in pain and quiet desperation.

What makes the difference? And then, how can you be the first one?

1. Courage

The biggest difference is that the person who lives the dream has the courage to do so.  [Tweet this!]

Taking courage means to venture into the unknown and expect to come out better than before. In a way it has something to do with trust. Trusting yourself, in your abilities and in the fact that you will find the right way for you, even if you can’t see it yet. But you move forward.

In practice you will find yourself at a crossroad in life from time to time. That is the moment of decision. It’s the moment when you can exercise your courage muscle and make the right turn.

Or where you can stall in indecisiveness and let the opportunity pass, staying on the “safe path”. Which really is the unsafe path. Because by making no decision, you actually make a decision – to make no decision and hand over your responsibility to the circumstances in your life. When what you really have to do is take responsibility and design your next step proactively, with all your heart.

2. Follow Your Heart

Whenever I’m faced with a potentially life-changing decision I drop the analytical mind and throw away the decision-matrix. I always listen to what my heart is telling me.

“Have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.” ~ Steve Jobs

It’s true. Somehow your intuition is the sum of all your knowledge and it can guide you to what is right for you.

You have to listen very carefully to the little insights you get, that can take you forward. Those are your opportunities in life. And then you have to take the courage to act on those.

You just don’t want to mix up your intuition with fear. I noticed that when you listen to your heart, sometimes fear creeps in and tries to convince you that you better stay on the “safe path”. When you feel tense then it’s not your intuition. Your intuition will relax you when it shows you the right way.

3. Search for the Good in Everything

There are always two sides of the coin. If you focus on the negative side, that will manifest more in your life. If you focus on the positive, you will move more into this direction. This is the law of attraction.

That doesn’t mean to ignore your problems. You have to solve them. And to solve them you need to see the solutions, which come for seeing opportunities – even in your problems. There are always ways to grow and learn something. Even – or especially – in your darkest hours.

4. Notice Where You Are Now

One way to live your dream is to notice and appreciate where you are right now. Living your dream does not mean living “in the future”.

Even if you are following your dream by going after your goals, the most important part is to live your life now. Your life is always happening in the present moment. When the future comes, it will also come as the present moment. Future in itself does not exist.

That’s why you can only realize your dream by living in the here and now.

5. Conscious Personal Development

Don’t settle. Try to grow and improve yourself continuously. There is a law with personal development:

The better you are, the better your life will become. [Tweet this!]

So when you invest in yourself, it’s really the best investment you can ever make, because that one will always pay off.

Consciously looking to improve yourself by doing personal development is the best way in invest in yourself. Your life’s circumstances will be transformed when you are transformed internally first. It will take some time, but the outcome is certain.

And the way you do that is by taking one small step after another.

“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” ~ Winston Churchill