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The Secret to Making All Your Wildest Dreams Come True

Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.”

~ Mike Tyson

We all have dreams.

Some of us even have plans to achieve those dreams.

Unfortunately, for most of us, our dreams will never materialize. Even if we have some level of success, our results will certainly never live up to the grand fantasies we originally manifested within our minds.

“Almost” becomes an acceptable result, “good enough,” a safe stopping point.

And so we push the disappointment, regret, and inevitable self-loathing deep down inside.

We routinely break promises we made only to ourselves while whispering little white lies that make another missed opportunity digestible.

But why?

Why Dreams Don’t Come True

I have my own answer. That’s the reason for this essay.

However, I figured there were some commonly accepted reasons, so I asked ChatGPT, “Give me the top 10 reasons people’s dreams don’t come true.”

Here’s what AI believes the answer to be…

  1. Lack of clarity: One of the biggest reasons people’s dreams don’t come true is their lack of clarity about what they want. Without a clear goal or vision, taking the necessary steps to make that dream a reality is hard.
  2. Fear: Fear is another common reason why people’s dreams don’t come true. Fear of failure, rejection or the unknown can hold people back from taking risks and pursuing their dreams.
  3. Lack of belief: If you don’t believe in yourself and your ability to achieve your dreams, it’s unlikely that you will ever make them a reality. Believing in yourself and your abilities is a crucial factor in achieving success.
  4. Procrastination: Procrastination is a dream-killer. Many people put off taking action toward their dreams until it’s too late, or they give up on them altogether.
  5. Lack of motivation: It’s hard to stay motivated when you’re working towards a long-term goal, especially if you don’t see immediate results. Without motivation, it’s easy to give up on your dreams.
  6. Lack of resources: Sometimes, people’s dreams don’t come true simply because they lack the necessary resources to make them happen. This could be anything from financial resources to access to the right people or opportunities.
  7. Negative self-talk: Negative self-talk can be a major barrier to achieving your dreams. If you constantly tell yourself that you’re not good enough or that you’ll never succeed, staying motivated and taking the necessary steps to make your dreams a reality is hard.
  8. Lack of persistence: Achieving your dreams takes time and persistence. If you give up too easily or get discouraged at the first sign of difficulty, it’s unlikely that you will ever achieve your goals.
  9. Distractions: Distractions can be a major obstacle to achieving your dreams. If you’re constantly distracted by social media, TV, or other forms of entertainment, it’s hard to stay focused on your goals.
  10. Lack of support: Finally, many people’s dreams don’t come true because they lack the support they need from friends, family, or mentors. Having a supportive network can make all the difference in achieving your dreams.

These are all legitimate reasons why we might not achieve our dreams.

However, they all seem derivative.

They’re second-order reasons for failure. To reach our dreams, we need to get at the heart of why we never make it all the way.

The real reason is that we forget to fuck around.

…or better put, we don’t make “Fucking around” a habit.

Maybe we should call this, The Fuck Around Method to Making All Your Wildest Dreams Come True.

make all your wildest dreams come true

“No plan of operations reaches with any certainty beyond the first encounter with the enemy’s main force.” 

~ Helmuth von Moltke

The Fuck Around Method to Making All Your Wildest Dreams Come True

You should ask yourself, “What is fucking around, and why am I wasting my time reading an article about it?”

There is an incredible video that has been making the rounds through social media over the last few years, “The more you fuck around, the more you find out.”

Take 50 seconds and watch the video…

Like you, I have plenty of dreams (goals) I’d like to achieve.

Not just little bitty dreams, but big ones. Don’t tell your friends and family because they’ll think you’re bananas big…

…and I have no idea how to achieve them.

This is why I think about “Vectors.”

In mathematics, a “vector” is a quantity with both magnitude and direction.

In terms of its usage in business and life, a “vector” is a direction or trend used to describe how a company or individual is moving or evolving.

When working towards one of my dreams (be it big or small), my first move is to pick a vector.

In which general direction is success waiting?

This is the easy part.

Then I start fucking around.

Because… I’m a dummy.

I have no idea what is going to work.

Now, I know what you’re saying, “C’mon Ryan, you don’t know what actions will lead you to success?”

Sure, I usually have an idea; these are the data points we use to set our vector, including:

  • Gut feeling,
  • Research,
  • Best practices,
  • Mentor’s advice, and,
  • Sounds statistics.

None of these will lead you to success. This is a common misstep. These are the macro data points that, left without further examination, lead us to all the derivative failures mentioned above.

We must go deeper.

We must learn, on our own, the micro lessons that lead to our wildest dreams.

This is where fucking around comes in (see the video above if you skipped over it).

The Agile Manifesto

In 2001, a group of developers embraced the “Fuck Around” concept with the now infamous Agile Manifesto.

While the concepts outlined in the Agile Manifesto are specifically designed to address computer engineering and software development projects, 22 years later, this battle-tested philosophy has much to teach us about personal and business growth.

Here are the 12 principles behind the Agile Manifesto.

  • Our highest priority is to satisfy the customer through early and continuous delivery of valuable software.
  • Welcome changing requirements, even late in development. Agile processes harness change for the customer’s competitive advantage.
  • Deliver working software frequently, from a couple of weeks to a couple of months, with a preference to the shorter timescale.
  • Business people and developers must work together daily throughout the project.
  • Build projects around motivated individuals. Give them the environment and support they need, and trust them to get the job done.
  • The most efficient and effective method of conveying information to and within a development team is face-to-face conversation.
  • Working software is the primary measure of progress.
  • Agile processes promote sustainable development. The sponsors, developers, and users should be able to maintain a constant pace indefinitely.
  • Continuous attention to technical excellence and good design enhances agility.
  • Simplicity–the art of maximizing the amount of work not done–is essential.
  • The best architectures, requirements, and designs emerge from self-organizing teams.
  • At regular intervals, the team reflects on how to become more effective, then tunes and adjusts its behavior accordingly.

You could rewrite each of these 12 principles into Twitter-worthy self-development memes retweetable by all the finest Twitter gurus and philosophers.

I’m not going to do that, but you could…

Agile software development put succinctly, “Fuck around until you figure it out.”

If “Fuck around” works for the best software developers in the world, why wouldn’t it work for you?

Ego is a Motherf*cker

The reason we don’t embrace the “Fuck around” methodology is ego.

Ryan Holiday (and the Stoics) have it right, “Ego is the enemy.”

Our ego forces us to have an answer before we begin. Not a vector, but a plotted course of action we pretend to be supremely confident will work.

If we pretend to be confident, we’ll receive less criticism. Even better, we’ll get all the likes on the socials as Internet friends wish us luck and success using a series of emojis.

Our ego feeds off attention and positive reinforcement.

Think about what people might say if we were ever to admit we didn’t know exactly what we needed to do in order to be successful:

  • “It’s too risky”
  • “It’s too expensive”
  • “It’s not practical”
  • “It’s been tried before”
  • “It goes against tradition”

When we step out into the unknown, we jeopardize our status in the tribe(s) we belong to.

This goes against the core directive of our ego.

Our ego would always rather play it safe than risk our status in the tribe.

We don’t do things we don’t know how to do, and we certainly don’t admit that we don’t know what we’re doing.

So we never fuck around.

We never figure out the micro.

We never reach our wildest dreams.

A Good Place to Start Fucking Around

I will assume that at least a few of you are offended by my use of the “F” word in this essay. To protect your sensibilities, let’s agree to use the word “Tinker,” as a synonym for fuck around.

Start tinkering.

Tinker with your hobbies.

This could look like trying a new grip in golf or adding a push-up to your next vinyasa.

Then see what happens.

Tinker with your relationship.

This could look like giving one seemingly random but thoughtful compliment to your partner every day for a week.

Then, see what happens.

Tinker with your work.

This could look like asking a young associate to shadow you and brainstorm ideas or giving an ambitious subordinate a little more rope to try something new.

Then see what happens.

The Rub

Don’t tell people you’re fucking around (excuse me)…don’t tell people you’re tinkering.

Just do it.

Your ego will be screaming at you the entire time anyway; telling people will only make it worse.

Here’s one thing I know for certain…you, me, none of us…we don’t know shit.

We think we do, but we don’t…not until we’re in it.

We “know,” only once we’ve been out there, in the wild, fucking around, getting beat up, figuring stuff out.

That’s when we know.

And once we KNOW…then, maybe, we have a chance, of making all our wildest dreams come true.

Now get to fucking around.

This is the way.

Hanley

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