Put Your Dream to the Test: 10 Questions to Help You See It and Seize It by John C. Maxwell
It’s time to size and resize your dreams. It’s not enough to dream about something. You also have to know which dreams to follow, and which ones not to. Do you know how to do this? If not, start by checking out some nuggets from John Calvin Maxwell’s book, and our book summary, below.
John Calvin Maxwell is an American author, speaker, and pastor, known mainly for his leadership books, such as The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership and The 21 Indispensable Qualities of a Leader: Becoming the Person Others Will Want to Follow.
RE-SIZING DREAMS/ PUT YOUR DREAMS ON TEST
Put Your Dream to the Test: 10 Questions to Help You See It and Seize It is Maxwell’s third attempt at writing about dreams and the ways to identify and achieve them. And I must say that he did an extraordinary job at it.
Put Your Dreams to the Test is a a step-by-step plan revolving around 10 essential questions. The more affirmative answers we have to those questions, the more chances of success we have.
John C. Maxwell provides a good strategy to help you discover whether your dreams are based on reality, according to your skills. This strategy includes asking a group of people that know you well to answer these questions for you. If most of their answers are ‘yes’, you will know for sure that your odds of success are high.
The main concepts found in Put Your Dreams to the Test are ownership, clarity, reality, passion, pathway, people, cost, tenacity, fulfillment, and significance.
What’s the relationship between these concepts and your dreams? It’s found within the 10 questions Maxwell poses, and they comprise his book’s chapters.
I like the fact that every single chapter illustrates vivid examples of people who accomplished their biggest dreams by answering these fundamental questions in an affirmative way.
10 chapters are waiting for you to discover them.
In the first chapter, “The Ownership Question”, Maxwell deals with the concept of ownership. The question we need to ask ourselves is this:
Whose dream is it?
Maxwell provides clues and hints to help us identify our dream, to realize whether it’s our own or our parents’, or the dream of other significant people in our lives.
It seems that some people avoid fulfilling their dream, and they find different excuses for not trying to achieve it. They may think that dreams are not for ordinary people, or that their dream is not big enough – or too big. For those that tend to think this way, John Maxwell encourages them to stop finding excuses and start acting.
“The timing will never be perfect for you to pursue your dream, so you might as well start now.”
Maxwell provides a step-by-step plan to making your dream come true:
- Be willing to bet on yourself.
- Lead your life instead of just accepting it.
- Love what you do and do what you love.
- Don’t compare yourself (or your dream) to others.
- Believe in your vision for the future even when others don’t understand you.
By following this plan, you’ll get closer to achieving your dream.
At the end of the chapter, Maxwell asks us whether our answer to his question is a resounding ‘yes’. If it’s not, not all is lost. He offers ideas to help us better understand our dream, and how we could say ‘yes’ to the ownership question.
The “Clarity Questions” make up the second chapter.
“You have to see the dream with clarity before you can try to achieve it.”
The next question we need to ask ourselves is this:
Is your dream in focus?
This chapter depicts the story of a person who had such a clear and compelling vision that he fulfilled his dream. According to Maxwell as long as you have a clear vision, strategy will follow.
The dream has to be clearly defined in order to be pursued. Maxwell emphasizes the importance of detailing our goal and teaches us the difference between general and specific goals with a few simple examples, such as:
“I ought to lose weight” (general idea) versus “I will swim for an hour every day” (specific goal).
Maxwell gives us a few tips that will allow us to better define our goals. He indicates that we need to write a detailed description of the dream. The next step is to quantify it, measure it, and write the dream succinctly. Take some time to reflect upon it and make sure that it will be in front of you every single day.
The “Reality” question is the title of the third chapter.
“Facing the reality is like having cold water hit you in the face.”
Another question that’s quite important in order to accomplish our dream is related to the exterior factors:
”Am I depending on factors within my control to achieve my dream?”
When we think about dreams we tend to associate them with fantasy, something that is not real. This is where Maxwell’s theory comes into practice. According to him, dreams and reality must meet.
That means that we need to take a look at ourselves realistically and identify our strengths, what we can and cannot do. Our dream needs to be built on our strengths. As long as we respect this principle our work will not seem exhausting, and it will require less effort on our part.
Is your dream based on your capabilities?
This chapter also contains actionable things to help us build our dream on our strengths, as it helps us identify our strengths and weaknesses.
Besides reality, we need to acknowledge that passion plays a major role in achieving our goal. Passion is what keeps us going, what gives us the energy to continue our journey and overcome any obstacles.
Maxwell created a passion scale to help us realize how passionate we are about our dream. If we are passionate enough, we are even closer to fulfilling our dream.
“How passionate are you about your dream?”
The “Pathway” question is the next chapter. The pathway concept goes hand in hand with the strategy concept.
In order to find your pathway to success, you need a good strategy. As long as you own your dream, and it is clearly defined based on reality, and you work passionately towards accomplishing it, strategy will appear.
Only strategy will set the direction of your dream.
Using the acronym SECURE, Maxwell helps us identify if we are going in the right direction.
Chapter 6 is related to people. We all know that people, especially the ones closest to us, have a great influence in our lives. Some may help us in our journey of fulfilling our dream, while others may influence us negatively.
We need to exclude the naysayers and include positive and inspiring people in our life in order to achieve our dreams.
“It’s not enough to have a dream. You must also have a dream team.”
Maxwell introduces the concept of the dream team, composed of people who are honest and whose skills complement yours. But it’s not enough to have such people on your team. You are the one responsible for transferring your dreams; it is up to you. If you know how to transfer your dream logically to the dream team, you dream can be accomplished.
We can’t talk about dreams without mentioning the cost of one.
Nothing is for free. We need to be prepared to put a lot of effort into our dream. I like the fact that the author warns us of the price we need to pay in order to achieve our goals.
His question is: “Am I willing to pay the price for my dream?”
The “Tenacity” question represents chapter 8. This question helps us discover if we’re close enough to the target we set up at the beginning of the journey.
“Am I moving closer to my dream?”
By reading this chapter I learned that the entire process helps you become a stronger person, the person you were meant to be all along, if you keep going.
Mindset is another concept found in this chapter. Mindset is important in the process of getting what you dreamed of, and Maxwell shows us how to have the right one, how to change our perspective in order to see what’s at the end of the line.
Chapter 9 introduces the fulfillment concept.
Fulfillment is related to satisfaction. Whenever we achieve something that we’ve worked hard for we feel proud, satisfied with ourselves. How do you feel whenever you achieve something that you worked hard to obtain?
The last question is the following:
Does my dream benefit others?
If you also answered this question with a determined ‘yes’, you’ve passed the test. A dream that benefits others, not just yourself, is a dream worth fighting for.
All in all, I must admit that I very much enjoyed reading Put Your Dreams to the Test: 10 Questions to Help you See It and Seize It. I especially enjoyed taking the test, as it gave me real value on my dreams and how they connect to reality. At the end of the test, you’ll discover who you really are.
So what are you waiting for? Take the test already!
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