7 min read

Dreams vs Goals

Dreams vs Goals

An introduction to 🌊 Project Oyster- the journey of my life

My favourite place in the world is a small German island, which is currently 6,796.14 km away. When I moved to the USA, I decided to make my dreams become a reality, but I have failed to take any significant steps so far. It is a problem haunting me for years: I have ideas with great potential (at least, I think so), but they never become more than a dream.

I tried to analyse why this is the case, and while doing so, I remembered a simple phrase I once heard. Sadly, I forgot the source, but it goes something like this: “is it a dream or a goal? “.

The Difference

A dream is the idea of an amazing future I’d love to be a reality. It is not more than an image in my head, yet I spend hours imagining it and get sad when it eventually doesn’t come true.

A goal is also an image of a potential future that is not a reality yet, but there are two essential differences:

  1. A defined result
    While a dream is a vague concept of how I’d like things to be, a goal has a clear output I can work towards with parameters I can define.
    I’d love to work from wherever in the world vs. I need to earn $2000/month with an activity that doesn’t bind me to a location.
  2. A path
    When I have the desired result, I can think about the necessary steps I have to take and set milestones along the way. I split the goal into smaller, doable sub-goals.
    I would love to be a lawyer vs. I will go to university to study law, take the bar exam, and then be a lawyer.

Dreams will always stay dreams, but I can turn them into actionable goals by defining the desired outcome and the steps that allow me to work towards them.

So, in order to make my dreams come true, I just have to turn them into goals by defining the desired outcome, filling in the necessary steps I have to take, and then following them one by one. Sounds easy enough, so let’s do it.

My Dream

I will set sail with my Oyster 595 in my wife’s hometown in the USA to cross the Atlantic Ocean all the way to this small island, where I will set anchor and enjoy a glass of Bourbon I brought from Kentucky with a chaser of Jever I bought on the island. I can do that because I achieved the financial freedom to work on my projects from wherever I am in the world.

I like to give my goals a name, and this big project, which sets the framework for all other projects, will be called 🌊 Project Oyster ( I’ve always been in love with Oyster Yachts).

Sounds ambitious (and narcissistic), doesn’t it?

I am 28 now and have not only the opportunity to dream big but also the time to make these dreams become a reality. However, that also means right now is the time to put all my efforts into them; otherwise, I will wake up one day and realise that my time has run out (the big fear of my life).

(Shouldn’t I pick a more achievable goal? To be honest, the chances of this happening seem … slim)

Why should I dream small and achievable? That sets me on the path of unambitious work that, in the end, maybe gets me halfway to a mediocre goal. When dreaming big (like sailing over the Atlantic Ocean in my own sailing yacht), and then turning this dream into a goal with steps I can follow, I am motivated to put effort into reaching this life, and even if I don’t get there all the way, I will still be happy with the results (at least that’s my theory).

Dream big or go home.

“Only” reaching the first milestone would be a huge success and would enable a life I’d love. Also, I will know that I tried and didn’t give myself an easy way out.

Someone realises these dreams; why shouldn’t that be me?

Actionable Goal

My journey
The finish line for my big dream seems well defined, but the crossing of the Atlantic is merely one part of my dream. To take the right path, I need to set a few more parameters.

Additional Parameters

  • Turning my ideas into a reality
    While I like working, I don’t enjoy working for someone else. The time I spend at work always feels wasted because I spend more than 40 hours a week working towards someone else’s vision instead of my own.
  • Making my own hours
    Life is about making memories, and in order to do so, I have to be able to invest time. When my brother decides to make a trip to the alps, I want to spontaneously take off for a week and go with him.
  • Financial Independence
    My goal is not to become rich, but it is apparent that I need money to reach it - a lot of it. Even while I am still working on my dreams, I want to contribute to our household and wish to have the possibility to fly back and forth between Germany and the US. Therefore, I need a steady income.
  • Location-independent
    That steady income shouldn’t bind me to a location because otherwise, I couldn’t visit my parents for longer times.

If there is one thing that is already clear, it is that a traditional full-time job doesn’t fit. While I like working in an office with other people, I see that these routines won’t get me to the life of my dreams. Now, I have to use my knowledge about my goals and the other parameters to think about the path I have to take.

The Path

There is a rule I try to follow: always KISS (keep it simple stupid). More complex doesn’t equal better; it is not professional if I plan every detail, write long concepts, or use complicated tools. Keeping things simple with a focus on output is more difficult but leads to faster, more precise, and, therefore, better results. The challenge with simplicity is to decide what not to do.

Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.

Leonardo da Vinci

I only need a few milestones that guide me on this impossible journey. I have no idea how I am supposed to reach any of them, but when I split things up into sub-tasks and work on those step by step, I will eventually reach the end.

An Anywhere-Income
I want to achieve an income that is not bound to any physical location. This milestone is reached when the income can substitute my full-time job and allows me to put all my efforts into my projects.

(My first milestone is some peoples dream - isn’t that fun?)

Project Pan Am ✈️

Founding My Company
One step in realising my goals is to start a business, which is a long-time dream. I want to decide on an idea I want to make a reality and then go through the stages of a startup.

Project Apollo 🚀

The Company Blueprint
The execution of an idea is far more important than the idea itself. It helps to start with a reasonably good idea, but it is only a tiny part of a businesses’ success. I think that there are modern ways of starting a company that take advantage of our connected world. I have to understand how to use all the available parts best.

I want to use my future experiences to build the document I’d love to have right now - a detailed guide on building a perfect and lean startup out of an idea; a business blueprint.

Project Scranton 📉

A Business Portfolio
The modern entrepreneur does not only have one business he is working on. Startups, side hustles, and passive income streams all come together into one portfolio, and my company blueprint can help me build this portfolio. In the end, I want to see all my ideas in this portfolio.

(not all of them have to be huge)

Project Swan 🦢

Nobody Needs Me
The ultimate step in the perfect modern business: automated workflows that eliminate the need for any work from me. I will have ideas and do the setup, but the company will run itself. This is the last step I have to complete before shopping for a yacht.

Project Bill 🦀

The Voyage
🌊🌊⛵️🌊🌊

Project Oyster 🌊

All these milestones, my checkpoints along the way, represent immense achievements. “Just” reaching an unbound income would mean a dream life for me, and let’s be honest here: everything still looks pretty unrealistic.

Rules

Along the way, there are a few rules I will follow. They’ll help me (I hope) to reach my dream and will guide me when I have to make a decision.

Rule 1: Enjoy the moment (the journey is the destination)

Rule 2: Be authentic and honest ( always have a good conscience)

Rule 3: No shortcuts

Rule 4: Focus on the goal (eliminate distractions)

Rule 5: Action > Motion

Rule 6: Always KISS ( simplicity is the ultimate sophistication)

Rule 7: Save the world

Rule 8: Never give up & always stay positive

Rule 9: Results come of my work (more time working = more results)

Rule 10: No secrets (share everything)

Right now, sitting on the couch, I think these are the things that can keep me on the path and enable me to reach my goal - I am probably wrong. That is why I set up a page for my rules & secrets to success and will update them over time.

Lets Go

Maybe you read this because you saw me crossing the Atlantic Ocean, and you want to know how I reached my dream … or you found a deserted blog and want to know how not to do it. Regardless of what the future holds, I will share every step I take and every secret I uncover to help you on your journey.

Right now, I only know three things for sure:

  1. For years, I spend too much time thinking about rather than working on my dreams (Rule 5).
  2. I am incredibly excited to start
  3. I love that you are on board

Let’s shoot for the moon!

Markus
🌊