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Why Pursuing the Dream IS the Dream

Updated: Mar 9, 2022


Let's talk about the power of the JOURNEY en route to a dream or goal.

This was concept embodied by Kobe Bryant and his “Mamba Mentality.”

Growing up in Southern California, I was in high school when the Lakers did a three-peat with Shaq and Kobe. And let me tell you - it was impossible to live here and not idolize Kobe.

After his death shocked the world last January, I started listening to interviews he’d done and learned more about his approach. This quote stuck with me the most:

“Those times when you get up early and you work hard, those times when you stay up late and you work hard, those times when you don't feel like working, you're too tired, you don't want to push yourself, but you do it anyway. That is actually the dream. That's the dream. It's not the destination, it's the journey.” - Kobe Bryant

It turns out that Kobe was right. The pursuit of the dream IS the dream. And neuroscience backs this up.

The following is an excerpt from a post in Behavioral by Design:

“There are two types of reward systems in the brain. Rewards that make us feel good about the present moment, which are regulated by release of neurotransmitters like serotonin and oxytocin. The other is the dopamine reward system which is secreted en-route to rewards. If you can introduce dopamine rewards in small doses, while pursuing a goal, and then claim a high reward when you reach your goal, you will form neural plasticity to reinforce the action reward circuit.

Oftentimes in pursuit of a goal or a dream, it may feel like we are slogging through mud or quicksand. Progress may be slow. We don’t feel like we’re getting anywhere. Ancient Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu said that the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. In a time where we are accustomed to instant gratification, it can be hard to relish and stick with the steps required to arrive at the destination.

But it’s worth it. Here’s another reason. Jim Rohn said that the greatest value in life is not what you get; the greatest value in life is what you become.” It’s about WHO you become along the way. Your desires will never end - you’ll achieve one dream and have another one. It never stops. The key is to have the kind of dreams and goals that MAKE something of you in the pursuit of achieving them.

So with every setback, remember that you’re building grit and you are making progress, even when you don’t feel like it. You are BECOMING someone you can be proud of. And if you can keep going, one day you’ll be at the top and will set your sights on a new mountain to climb. But in the meantime, enjoy the ride. And all that dopamine.

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