“Be careful what you wish for, you might get it.” This phrase is attributed to both Confucius and Oscar Wilde, although it could well be that neither of them said it. But the message is what counts.
Desire is the prelude to the events that govern our lives. In the seed of a fulfilled life, there is always someone who dared to dream that could do it one day.
When he was studying painting at La Llotja in Barcelona, the teenager Picasso dreamt that one day his paintings would arouse admiration all over the planet.
Stefani JA Germanotta — today Lady Gaga — when they made fun of her in high school, where she participated in musicals, she dreamt that her stage would be the whole world.
Everything great begins with a simple dream. What does it depend on for it to come true? After having helped many people to climb their particular Everest, I believe five ingredients are needed:
- The dream must be one and of long duration. Changing your goal or having great peaks of enthusiasm and then forgetting about the project does not lead anywhere.
- Talent must accompany it. A dream is like an investment that must be put into the right place. Even if I had dreamt of being a professional footballer, I was not born with a body to play for the elite.
- Perseverance and resilience. Talent is far more common than perseverance. Stubbornly staying on track, regardless of accidents and failures, is imperative to achieving something great.
- Surround yourself with the right people. If your circle is made up of people who disempower you — in Catalan, we call them guitar crushers — you will end up convincing yourself that you can’t do it. For your dream to come true, you need high-value peers and mentors.
- A bit of luck. Yes, in the end, to complete your project, you will need to bump into someone who believes in you or to open that door that was closed. But that luck can be brought about by being generous, curious and open to exchange. As Woody Allen said, “80% of success is showing up.”
What is your dream? Do you have those five ingredients to cook it?
Returning to the quote with which I have opened this article, I think my case is atypical. I never dreamt of being a writer, and even less did I imagine that I would have books published in 60 languages. Life has brought me this far, but I had never projected a wish of this kind.
As those of you who have read my biography know, my only dream was to travel. When they asked me what my job was, my answer was: “I am a traveller. Other than that, I can work with almost anything.”
Strangely, that wish that fuelled my youthful imagination is now being fulfilled. With the return of the world to face-to-face encounters, every week I am travelling somewhere to give talks or presentations. One of my next destinations is Istanbul.
Perhaps this was not exactly what I dreamt of, when my eyes were lost in my travel books, one night after another, but that is where the mission that life has for us intervenes. As John Lennon sang in Beautiful Boy, the song he composed for his son: “Life is what happens to you while you are busy making other plans.”