Project Dreamcatcher: The Value of Hard Work


I am behind on Project Dreamcatcher, forgive me. What’s Project Dreamcatcher? Click here. And you can join in at any time: it’s not too late 🙂

I liked the Ted Talk about hard work. It’s given by an Olympic athlete, who kayaks 5,000 km a year for one good km race. This concept of spending many hours doing something to increase your level of excellence ties into Malcolm Gladwell’s theory that you don’t become truly skilled at something until you’ve spent 10,000 hours at it. (From his book Outliers.)

Yesterday I was listening to Trey Anastasio (of the band Phish) being interviewed by NPR and he was asked what advice he would give to aspiring musicians. He said they should know that being a musician is extremely hard work. Just because you love it doesn’t mean you can coast and cruise into a recording contract or become a famous pop star. On the contrary, actually. He noted that The Beatles famously honed their skills and became a super tight band because they had a regular, frequent, long-term and demanding gig schedule at a nightclub in Germany.

This concept of having to work hard to complete your dream resonated with me. I think often we think that something we love to do is a treat we pursue when we have the time or inspiration hits. But people who make dreams come true: they spend a lot of their time and hard work making it happen.

In the Ted Talk, Adam van Koeverden mentions that professional athletes who work hard and focus narrowly on their pursuit of winning a race or completing their best time tend to be more spiritually full and happy.

“Hard work creates value.” Adam van Koeverden

So pursuing our dreams should be hard work, but it should also lead to us becoming more happy!

This week, I wanted to highlight some Project Dreamcatcherers who are actively making their dreams come true.

First, Esperanza is in the midst of creating a beautiful backyard oasis for her daughter and her son (who will be born in the Fall) to enjoy. She has been literally digging ditches to make this oasis work, digging up long-lost relics of homeowners past. She’s almost halfway done and you can see the tremendous progress she’s made in these photos.

Second, Little Chicken Nugget has been working really hard to stop putting herself last. She’s the very busy mother of two under three, and I find her progress treating herself well to be very inspiring. And a great example to all busy moms out there!

Third, this is so cool. April has turned her “Have Dones” into a beautiful collage. This pretty collage is a physical reminder to her to remember all of the awesome things she does and things she should be very proud of.

Lastly, I am so touched by Pam’s project: creating a suburban farm for her family to enjoy. Pam’s best friend passed away a month ago from breast cancer, and Pam is finding spending time on this project, building beautiful container planters, planting a wide variety of produce and making something beautiful and useful for her whole family to enjoy, is soothing her grief. You should check out her Instagram. She has the most beautiful photos of the progress the whole family is making.

Reading all of your posts makes me teary-eyed. I am so proud of you all for making small or big changes. I really do believe these changes help us become happier people. Y’all rock.

Do you think hard work can lead to a happier state of mind? Do you agree with Trey Anastasio that hard work is essential to making your dream come true and to making it doing something you love?



Filed under Project Dreamcatcher, writing

3 responses to “Project Dreamcatcher: The Value of Hard Work

  1. SRB

    I really do think that for me, hard work helps me with through things and feel a greater sense of well-being. After my second miscarriage, I stayed home from work for two weeks and painted our entire apartment. The physical exhaustion (and pain) of the task gave me an outlet for my grief, and seeing my accomplishment daily made me feel like a little less of a failure.

    I’m actual jealous of Esperanza’s project because gardening/yard work is my go to for this and our recent housing failures don’t allow for that this summer. I’d love to dig up her backyard and with out some of this shitty year in the process.

  2. Ah shuck! Thanks for including me. I have to admit, I’ve gotten enough done now that I really want to keep going and finish before the summer is over. I will be very proud if I get it all done. Heck, I’m already very proud. Thanks for creating this project. It’s been so inspirational.

  3. If it weren’t for hard work, I wouldn’t be here today. So yeah, it’s pretty essential. Hard work can turn something you like into something you love. I know that the better I get at something, the more I enjoy it.

    I’m glad you like my collage. 🙂 It’s so cool to look at the progress others have made on their own projects as well!

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