How Badly Do You Really Want It?

Take a moment to ask a person about their dreams and they’ll tell you about a fulfilling career, a great relationship, or their own island in the Pacific Ocean.

Take a couple more moments, as I often do in coaching, to ask them what they’re planning to do in order to make their dreams come true, and you’ll often hear the most unrealistic fairytales.

In my experience, most people are simply not willing to do the things which will realistically make them achieve their big dreams, things which happen to also be pretty hard. Thus, they automatically reject the most effective alternatives, they’re stuck with bad alternatives and they eventually abandon their dreams.

Real Stories

Here are three real examples, of people I’ve interacted with in the past few months:

  1. A person who wants to become a top professional in a Fortune 500 company, but is not willing to leave the small town they live in. Why? Because all their friends and relatives are there.
  2. A person who hates their job and wants to go into a new professional field, but is not willing to take the initial salary cut. Why? Because they would have to sell their fast car and take the subway for a while.
  3. A person who wants to have a successful business, but is not willing to work for 2 or 3 years at developing this business besides their regular job, until it becomes sustainable. Why? Too much work.

In all these examples, the path exists. The only problem is that the person is not willing to take the path. They don’t want to make the necessary compromises.

Quitting In the Face Of a Challenge

Now I’m not saying that all compromises are good. Sometimes, the effort to get to a certain place in your life is just not worth it by comparison with the benefits. However, this is not the case I’m talking about.

The real issue in my view is that many people aren’t willing to make even strategic compromises, which in the end would be worth it: the short-term compromise for the much bigger long-term benefits.

In my area of people skills, I see countless examples of people who aren’t willing to accept a challenge and put in the work to improve key people skills, even though they know how much it would enrich their lives. They stop at the level of: “Yeah, I know: I should probably work on this.” And they pay the price.

Reality Check

Let’s turn the discussion towards you. I invite you to look at your life, your career and your relationships, and ask yourself four magic questions:

  1. What are my biggest, boldest dreams in these areas?
  2. What are realistically, the things I need to do in order to achieve these dreams?
  3. Which of these things have I really accepted and decided to do?
  4. Which of these things am I really doing?

If you’re like 98% of people, you’ll find out that your deeds aren’t exactly aligned with your dreams. There is a gap between them which if you don’t face, can become as big as the Grand Canyon.

You may try to find shortcuts and creative solutions to achieve your goals with little effort or struggle. If your goals are high, chances are that you will not find them or they won’t work.

The roads to great places tend to have quite the bumps at some points. The best thing you can do is to accept the bumps in the road and go through them.

In a way, you could say that making those hard, initial compromises to get what will truly enrich your life is the easy way. I say this because if you look at things in perspective, you end up living a much more meaningful and joyful life.

However, the meaningful joyful life does imply an initial level of work, perseverance and sacrifice which only few people are willing to go through. But if you want something big and you want it badly enough, it makes sense to go beyond what most people are willing to do.

If you decide that you simply don’t want if badly enough, no problem. Just make sure that when you’re an old person and you tell stories to your grandchildren about your life, you don’t say that you could have been a great person but you didn’t have the opportunity. It was right there in your face!

Image courtesy of jurvetson


  1. Hi Eduard,

    I like the Real Talk here.

    As you noted take reality checks to figure out what you want in life and the price you must pay to receive it. Realize that sacrifice isn’t all that bad; it’s simply releasing something of a lower nature to make room for something of a higher nature.

    Thanks for sharing your insight.


    • Hi Ryan,

      Sacrifice does tend to have a negative connotation. An alternative word is ‘investment’. It pretty much refers to the same thing, but it focuses on the positive benefit rather than the initial cost.

      Thanks for you timely comment 😉

  2. Your message about accepting the bumps and going through them sounds about right. That might be good to repeat in our head when we see a bump.

    Your three examples make sense as the small walls to success were seen by those people as too large for their taste. They probably were small walls though. Soon after you attack one of those bumps, you might see that it certainly is difficult, but you also see paths to pass it, like example C person starting the side business for 2 months and seeing that another 20 months would put them in a great position.

    When I saw a line that said that dreams are just goals without a deadline, I try to refrain from seeing any items as dreams. It is either a goal or is out of my thinking, because I have to stay bounded to realistic terms.

    • Armeeeeen!

      I think this is very solid thinking: to replace dreams with goals. You either decide to do something about it and turn it into a goal, or you stop thinking about it. Very practical.

  3. Great points. Also, often when we set out to accomplish a huge goal, the initial few months might be exciting but eventually it’ll get boring.. it doesn’t matter how exciting the goal is. If you want it badly though you’ll stick it out, and continue grinding.

  4. Hi Eduard,

    I love the way you put setting personal goals in such an interesting perspective with this.

    Certainly the reality check is great advice.

    – Bert

  5. I love the action steps. I find one of the most frustrating things is trying to help others take action – it is one thing knowing all the theory but if you don’t put it into practise it is pointless.

  6. Eduard: Thanks for the inspirational and motivational post. I totally agree with you that it is easy to decide what your big long term goal is, but then not make the right strategic moves and have the continued dedication and perseverance to turn your dream into a reality. I do think it is all about realizing the ball is in our court and that means we have to continually choose to take the steps we should and work to clear away any limiting beliefs. I thought this was a really great post … that points us all in the right direction of moving forward. Thanks for sharing your insights.

  7. This is so true. We know 100’s of people who’ve complained their entire lives of the gray skies and cold weather. It’s only their self made prison that prevents them from moving.

    I also think it’s work, risk and sometimes exhausting to make big changes. The alternative is the “walking dead.’

    • Hi Tess,

      Somehow, your comment reminded me why I get really annoyed by people who complain all the time. They’re one of the few groups that have this effect on me.

  8. Hi Eduard! This article got me thinking about what I am doing to accomplish my dreams.

    It use to be that whenever I thought about the big picture or the end result, my thoughts would go “how the heck I’m going to get this done.” This thought would stop me from pursuing what I wanted.

    I noticed that lately I have been more proactive at taking little steps to get where I want to go. It’s because I’m not worrying about “how” I’m going to get it done. Instead, I’m focusing on “what” I want to accomplish. The how will be take care of itself. All I have to do now is take one step at a time towards what my dream is.

    Thanks for the inspiring words. Loving blessings!

    • Andrea, I’m happy that I got you thinking because this was the purpose of the article. I like to get people thinking about the stuff that’s worth thinking about.

  9. I push this importance of this very topic on a daily basis. People ask me:
    -What attributes do you lend to your success?
    -What qualities do you have that others don’t?

    My answer is that I have the same attributes and qualities, BUT I DO have different practices. Each move that I make, of meaning, is in someway of benefit to a bigger goal. Anytime I venture from this – I feel like I’m wasting my time. That’s just how I’m wired. I probably couldn’t change it if I tried.

    I put myself in the best position possible and when I’m presented with opportunity – I seize it with overpowering excessiveness.

    Eduard, I’m honored to have found your site. You’ll see me often!


  10. Great post. When I made my decisions about what I wanted in my life, I made a promise to myself that every day I would do something towards those goals.

    Some days I achieved gigantic steps forward. Other days, baby steps, but always moving closer.

    I can know look back from where I came to where I am now, and smile….every action I have taken has opened a whole new horizon.

  11. Wow Eduard. This was right on time for me. I’m at a point in my life where I want something very badly, but I’ve been focusing on the negatives of the path. You’ve really made me think more about this. Like the quote said, the road to great places may have a lot of bumps. That’s a reality check for me!

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