“The biggest adventure you can take is to live the life of your dreams.”
— Oprah Winfrey
About 40 years back, a guy named Chris was just an ordinary salesman trying to raise a family with his son. Chris had a rough childhood with his parents divorced and then having to deal with an abusive stepfather. His mother was also falsely convicted because of his stepfather’s allegations. So Chris and his siblings had to stay at a foster home when he was just 8.
He started off as a medical equipment salesman but that ended pretty badly and his girlfriend deserted him because he wasn’t exactly financially stable so to speak. He even spent a few days in jail for collecting a lot of parking tickets which he couldn’t pay off. Chris had to stay with his son at parks, airports, motels and even in a public toilet once. He later got a job at a brokerage firm and worked his ass off just so his son could have a roof to sleep under at night. Studying for it late at night after work, he passed a licensing exam for stockbrokers and became a full-time employee of the firm. He established his own firm pretty soon after that called Gardner Rich & Co of which he sold a small stake in a multi-million dollar deal and became a millionaire.
You probably caught on who this “Chris” actually is. Yep, it’s Chris Gardner, the C.E.O and founder of Christopher Gardner International Holdings, and a multi-millionaire. And if you’re not sure who that is, you might remember him as Will Smith’s character in the critically acclaimed movie, The Pursuit of Happyness.
Chris had just one dream. To give his son a better life. And he was able to do just that despite the crazy amounts of obstacles in his life that would hold anyone back. Chris is just one of many famous success stories of our generation. And most real life success stories and the people who make them who we admire so much, they all follow a very similar process and it can be shortened up as “IVPER”. And I’m going to tell you exactly what “IVPER” is so you can one day be a part of a success story just like they were.
When I started this website about 6 months back, all I had was a dream to help people change their lives for the better and help them get rid of their worries and stress and learn to tackle life head on. Most of what I do to reach that dream is following this process and from personal experience, I know that it can truly be a life-changer.
At the end of this article, begin to apply the following and you’ll be on the road to your dream.
What if you’re still trying to find your dream? I had the same problem back when I was around my late teens and early 20s which I’ll get to in just a bit.
Have you seen the movie Yes Man with Jim Carrey. Jim Carrey plays a pretty pessimistic guy who goes to a motivational seminar. There he’s forced by the seminar director to promise to always say Yes to every opportunity, request, or invitation that presents itself. Pretty much anything and everything. Even if he doesn’t want to do it. Cue Jim Carrey giving rides to complete strangers, attending a Korean language class, bungee jumping off a bridge and more.
The movie does go on to mention saying Yes to everything isn’t so smart. But it does have an important thing to think about at the heart of it. Don’t be afraid to try new things. Or don’t be afraid to say yes if you don’t have anything to lose. Jim Carrey’s character finds love because he said yes for the before mentioned stranger hitch-hiking, something he would never do otherwise.
Which is why don’t restrict yourself only to things you’re comfortable with. Branch off and force yourself to try it. You don’t lose much of anything if you do.
What do you want?
You know what, no matter what people say, it’s OK to not know the answer to this question!
You want to hear my story? I wanted to be an animator after I graduated from school
(even if I couldn’t draw if my life depended on it) but got roped into doing engineering, which I had absolutely no interest in. So during the long course, I dabbled a little bit in learning and making music during the weekends and after classes. I wasn’t very good but I did make a few tracks which I posted online (and which are still there somewhere). This was about 7-8 years back. I then got a job as a software developer and then looking for something better, I applied for courses to learn special effects and VFX.
And now, many many years later, I realized the life-changing idea that my life isn’t just about me. It’s how you can help others. Which is why I started this website, and now we’re here.
Yeah, it was a crazy many years but I don’t really regret any of it. Because all those experiences, some of them more than others, all helped me get to where I am now.
There are thousands out there who don’t know where to take their life and that’s OK. To find it out, all you have to do is work up the courage, and say yes. You get to know what you’re good at and not so good at. Seriously, you get to learn so much about yourself it’s crazy!
And with time, you’ll know where life is calling you.
Now, if you have a dream in mind, before you do anything else, I want you to think about it. What do you want at the end of it all? A new job, a promotion, lose weight, write a book, start a business, be in a relationship, learn something new, get a raise? Don’t think about the details just yet.
Now close your eyes for a minute and visualize it.
Try to imagine that you’re actually there. You’ve reached where you wanted. After all the hard work and all the effort, you’ve done it. Imagine how it makes you feel. How happy you are. How satisfied and fulfilled do you feel.
Go ahead. Close your eyes for a minute and try it.
Okay, so how did it feel?
If you’re like me, you probably would’ve almost broke in happy tears. It feels like finally finding that missing piece, you know. That one thing that our whole life was leading to.
Hold on to that feeling! It’s going to push you through all the setbacks and problems just like it did for Chris.
Elon Musk practically does this every day. How else can he still keep investing in SpaceX despite the many failures. Or like when Tesla Motors was started, market experts initially told to sell Tesla IPO because it’s doomed to fail.
He sticks to it because of his vision. He imagines a brighter future for all humanity. If he just gives up to live a fancy life with his hundreds of millions of dollars, well how is he going to get the feeling he got when he imagined his goal.
So try to put all your trust into your goal that it’s going to change your life or of the people close to you. Or if you’re insanely ambitious like Elon Musk, change the world.
Okay! You have a dream figured out now.
Now it’s time to break it down. Or break it down into its most basic elements.
If your goal is to lose 10 pounds, break it down into 1 pound a week or whatever time-frame you’re planning on. But for this scenario, let’s go with that. If you want to lose 1 pound, what would you have to do in that week. Take a morning walk for 2-3 days maybe for an hour each? How about a couple of rounds on the treadmill before work
(don’t worry about how good you are. You’re much better than me). Or if you’ve no time, what about a short 15-minute intense workout for some quick calorie burn?
Or if you want a promotion, what all stuff do you have to nail to get it? Maybe some kick ass presentations to your boss(es)? Making the right calls to potential clients? Tackling the right high-priority projects? How long do you have to do it to grab your boss’s attention?
Get a pen and paper and write down a list of each item. This is where we’re really diving into the specifics of our dream. Think of each element as a cog in a very large machine.
And now, here’s the fun part: Make a rough plan on how you can meet each item.
This isn’t about trying to reach every single item, because some of them will help you get to your dream faster, some will take ages. It’s about deciding what’s important from that list and then setting your schedule around it. Your plan should be something that can realistically be done by you. Not something like what I’ve set “Do 10 push ups every day! This is going to be a piece of cake!!”. Yeah, not so much….
That plan of yours is your own personal roadmap. And don’t worry if the plan is not too good. The main thing is go ahead and start immediately and worry about refining the plan later if you feel you can handle it.
When you start on the way and keep ticking off each of your mini goals, it’s equally essential to stop and congratulate yourself each time. Where’s the fun if we just look at it as a long list of goals where you have to finish off every single thing asap. Take the time and take it slow based on your plan and appreciate yourself each time. The entire experience, not just the result, becomes memorable and worthwhile.
If you’re actually killing it and you think you can handle it, change the plan and increase your limits a little bit at a time but that’s enough. No need to rush yourself. Enjoy each moment.
If I wanted to run a marathon, I couldn’t realistically expect to be able to do that within a week even if I crammed in a lot of practice sessions within that week. And if I don’t congratulate myself each time I take a short 1 mile run every day, I’ll just be beating myself that I can’t run an entire marathon sooner.
And when you do achieve your big dreams, you’ll have a sense of appreciation of how you got there in the first place and how it transformed your life.
Stick to your plan. Everything else will come naturally.
This is pretty self-explanatory. And the most obvious and challenging one out of all the listed steps above. Push yourself through and through no matter what.
Don’t settle for anything else than your plan. While everyone else just sits around watching YouTube videos and watching Netflix, you’ve to be the one to stand out. True visionaries always put in the effort and they’re the ones we remember many years later. They never sit around but always keep taking those small steps every day to what they dream of.
Sometimes, not everything is going to work out. And that’s OK! If something bad happens, it’s actually one of the best things that can happen.
That means it’s a golden opportunity to know what works and doesn’t work. Now you know exactly what can be done better the next time. Which in effect means each time you’re inching closer to the right solution. And it could very well be something only you could find. Everyone else probably gave up long ago after the first time it didn’t work out. So each time you push through each setback, you’re one-upping yourself over your competition.
This website had very few visitors when I started it back then but I tried a ton of different things. Some of them pointless, some of them incredibly helpful. Now there’s a big improvement in readers compared to back then.
So always stay determined and keep working on it., each step at a time.
And remember, when you feel like you can’t stick to your plan, remember that feeling you had when you imagined your dream. It’s an absolutely amazing inspiration.
And that’s all we need to push through, really.
Apply these 5 steps or “IVPER” to whichever dream you have, no matter how complex and impossible it seems at the beginning.
“All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them.”
— Walt Disney
You’ve got big dreams and ambitions and want to make your life better. Now it’s time to take action and take control of it. I’d like to invite you to subscribe to The Sum Of Life and join other fabulous fabulous people who have the same wish to make their life better.
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