Posted May 13, 2019 by Mark Perna
Hello graduates—or soon-to-be graduates! You’ve accomplished so much and you should be proud. There are so many great things waiting for you. So are you ready to live the dream?
Living the dream—it sounds great. But what dream am I talking about? It’s whatever your dream happens to be. It can mean whatever you want it to mean. So what’s your dream?
Maybe you dream of having a family, traveling the world, buying a house you love, driving the car you want, pursuing a meaningful career that makes the world a better place, or whatever you want your life to look like. You want to live your dream, not someone else’s. And now as you are graduating and moving to the next step of your life, you start on the path toward that dream.
If you don’t have a clear picture of what you want your life to look like, don’t worry. Your dream is out there, and now is the time to start seeking it. It’s not just about your future career, but about the lifestyle that you want to enjoy. Your career is what will make that lifestyle possible. The sooner you determine your course, the faster you arrive at your destination.
Discover what you are passionate about and what inspires you, and realistically evaluate the strengths and weaknesses associated with your abilities. To live your dream, first you have to build it.
Shortly after graduating from college, I realized that we really only do two things in this world: we either build our dream or we build someone else’s. That’s it. It’s that simple.
I started to ask myself every time I watched TV, went to a movie, or attended a performance—whose dream was I building? Yes, that of the studios, actors, producers, and others. Whose dream was I building when I watched a sporting event? That of the well-paid athletes, owners, and TV networks. Whose dream was I building when I put my money down for a video game, played it all night for two weeks, and invested my hard-earned dollars in online gaming fees? Yes, you get the picture. I was building the dreams of the entire group associated with that game, movie, or sporting event.
This meant I had to be conscious of how I spent my time. There was nothing wrong with building someone else’s dream, going to movies, watching sports, or playing video games—as long as I carved out a significant amount of time to build my own dream as well. Building my own dream became more important than building someone else’s. That awareness allowed me to focus, plan, and take action in my life and has led me to the success I now enjoy.
Today I am living my dream. I run a successful and well-respected business and travel extensively for both business and pleasure. I enjoy the time I spend with my family, friends, clients, and coworkers who share my vision for transforming education and workforce development nationwide. I take great pleasure in various hobbies and interests, and have cultivated a genuine passion for making a difference on a grand scale. None of this would have happened if I had not invested the time, energy, and passion early on in my life to build and live my dream.
As you graduate, I encourage you to do the same. And you can! Unfortunately, it’s easy for your generation to spend too much of your priceless time building other people’s dreams and not nearly enough on developing your own opportunities. But today, time is on your side. Make the most of it.
You can choose today to carve out the crucial time to focus, plan, and take action to build the life you want to live. And that’s how you will live your dream, not someone else’s.