Are You Living Your Own Dream or Someone Else’s?

As I indicated in yesterday’s post, many people drift through life without a plan. For some, things work out fine. For most, they end up far from their intended destination.

A Pier with Boats in Greece - Photo courtesy of ©, Image #13426165

Photo courtesy of ©

Others, end up living someone else’s dream, the victim of another agenda. This almost happened to a Mexican fisherman in a story told by Tim Ferriss in The 4-Hour Work Week. (This story appears in various forms on the Internet.)

An American businessman took a vacation to a small coastal Mexican village on doctor’s orders. Unable to sleep after an urgent phone call from the office the first morning, he walked out to the pier to clear his head. A small boat with just one fisherman had docked, and inside the boat were several large yellowfin tuna. The American complimented the Mexican on the quality of his fish.

“How long did it take you to catch them?” the American asked.

“Only a little while,” the Mexican replied in surprisingly good English.

“Why don’t you stay out longer and catch more fish?” the American then asked.

“I have enough to support my family and give a few to friends,” the Mexican said as he unloaded them into a basket.

“But … What do you do with the rest of your time?”

The Mexican looked up and smiled. “I sleep late, fish a little, play with my children, take a siesta with my wife, Julia, and stroll into the village each evening, where I sip wine and play guitar with my amigos. I have a full and busy life, señor.”

The American laughed and stood tall. “Sir, I’m a Harvard M.B.A. and can help you. You should spend more time fishing, and with the proceeds, buy a bigger boat. In no time, you could buy several boats with the increased haul. Eventually, you would have a fleet of fishing boats.”

He continued, “Instead of selling your catch to a middleman, you would sell directly to the consumers, eventually opening your own cannery. You would control the product, processing, and distribution. You would need to leave this small coastal fishing village, of course, and move to Mexico City, then to Los Angeles, and eventually New York City, where you could run your expanding enterprise with proper management.”

The Mexican fisherman asked, “But, señor, how long will all this take?”

To which the American replied, “15–20 years. 25 tops.”

“But what then, señor?”

The American laughed and said, “That’s the best part. When the time is right, you would announce an IPO and sell your company stock to the public and become very rich. You would make millions.”

“Millions, señor? Then what?”

“Then you would retire and move to a small coastal fishing village, where you would sleep late, fish a little, play with your kids, take a siesta with your wife, and stroll to the village in the evenings where you could sip wine and play your guitar with your amigos …”

The only thing worse than drifting without a plan is having your plans hijacked by someone else.

You can avoid this unfortunate end and make sure you are fulfilling your unique, God-given calling by answering these three questions:

  1. Am I living my own dream or someone else’s? If we are not careful, we can unconsciously be following someone else’s agenda for our lives. This usually happens because we are unwilling to take responsibility for our own lives.
  2. What is my dream? This can get lost in the complexity of life. As a result, we need to pause and remember our own agenda. What is it that we believe God is calling us to be and to do? What is our passion? What would we do if we were brave?
  3. What can I do now to move in the direction of my dream? The only way to reclaim our dream is to reject all substitutes and begin moving in the direction of our dreams. We don’t have to do anything heroic. We can start small and take baby steps. The issue is to make sure we are making progress toward our goals.

Don’t spend your life fulfilling someone else’s agenda. Accept responsibility for your own life. Pursue your goals and live your dream. Live an intentional life.

Question: Has your life ever been hijacked by someone else’s agenda? You can leave a comment by clicking here.
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  • meiyen chng

    Thanks for sharing this. 

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  • Tunstall

    Mr. Hyatt,
     I enjoy reading your stories and experiences, I am a new subscriber and it is a Blessing to hear from a GOD fearing professional, Keep up the good work, Thank you in JESUS name.

    • Michael Hyatt

      You are welcome!

  • Jeff Goins

    Good, challenging thoughts, Mike. One question, though: Where does serving someone else’s dream for a season play into this? I’ve seen tremendous value from submitting to someone else’s authority and vision for a time to learn how to be a better leader, dreamer, etc. Thoughts?

    • Michael Hyatt

      Yes, I think you must do that. It’s almost like an apprenticeship. But even there, it has to be something you choose because it fits into what God has called you to do.

      • Jeff Goins

        good clarification. i agree.

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  • Larry Galley

    Michael, the encouraging thing to me about this arena of thought is that there is room for multiple approaches.  I am working on project called “DirectionNow”, headed by Life Coach, Jeff Caliguire, ,  which uses as it’s centerpiece an understanding that our true dreams are fueled by our God wired passions.  

    The process honors the fact God wired each of us uniquely—think DNA— and by understanding more about that wiring we can get a better grasp of how to approach ones dreams given our specific situation.  It’s intriguing, inspiring and can be a godsend to many people.

    It may be that a persons dreams have not been hijacked but rather that the  individual cannot see how to “build the bridge” between their dreams and their present situation.  Help may be available.

    Larry Galley

  • Lenore Buth

    Thanks, Michael. You have the uncommon gift of presenting deep truths in a way anyone could understand.

    • Michael Hyatt

      Thanks, Lenore. That is truly a compliment!

  • Micahiberg

    I love the idea of making your dream your work instead of working just for your someday dream.

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  • Anonymous

    It’s a good story Michael, but the world isn’t always as simple as the stories make out.

    Chapter 2 of the story might go on to say that the Mexican proudly ignored the Harvard MBA, pleasing his wife, family and amigos. 6-12 months later however things aren’t looking so good – inflation has meant that wine is now more expensive, so he’s back to drinking beer; his wife wants to have a child but good medical support is expensive; and worst of all, one of his amigos who also fishes for Tuna has formed a partnership with foreign fishery and is intensively fishing the area – the hero of our story is now finding that he can only get a couple of fish on each trip, he has to spend longer out at see, and the size and quality of the fish in his catch is declining (and that’s all before considering the impact on the local ecology).

    I don’t mean to be pessimistic, and I’m not saying that these things are ‘right’, but it helps understand why the Mexican might be under pressure to consider the Harvard MBAs proposition (not just greed).

    All that said, I appreciate the reminder!

  • Louise Thaxton

    I am SO glad you posted this!  And I will have to re-post – I remember you telling this when I heard you speak but I could NOT remember the details – I have since tried to re-tell it (quite unsuccessfully and without the impact, I’m afraid)!  Thanks for reminding me!

    Oh – and I’m working on living MY dream - MY lifeplan – not someone else’s!   God is good – all the time – even when “life” is hard and circumstances (and people) are not perfect!

  • TNeal

    Kind of reminds me of my brother-in-law’s offhanded comment a week ago. “Your dog’s so skinny. What are you feeding her?” I had to tell my wife yesterday that we don’t need to feed our dog more food. She eats when she’s hungry. She doesn’t when she’s not. Even our dog-feeding schedule can get hijacked by someone else’s ideas.

  • Shallog2004

    Thank you for this..I really enjoyed it. It reminded me of something I heard that goes something like: “Work on YOUR strengths..for if you only work on your weaknesses, you’ll only be mediocre.” Sometimes, we get so caught up in getting better than “he or she” rather than working on our natural talents..its something to keep in mind daily..

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  • Kim Aldrich

    Thank you for this.  I am trying hard to move toward my intentional dream, and feeling discouraged to the point of tears, just read this.  It’s good to have the encouragement.


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  • Lis

    I loved the story!

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  • abdul krishna

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  • abdul krishna

     My name is Diana i am from United States, I was in a relationship with Charles and we loved and cherished ourselves for 3 good years and every thing was going on smoothly but February 14, 2012 a day i can call a lovers day we both had misunderstanding because i answered a call from a guy that is asking me out for a date but i refused,and he told me that the relationship is over and that he is fed up with me and i begged him because i love him so much but he refused me i was so down cast and i felt the world has come to an end for me but my friend told me about a spell caster that helped her sister out in getting her relationship back,a good job and favor in any of her endeavor but at first i was scared but i have to give this man a trial because i love Ben very much and i am not willing to loose him to any woman,so i ordered returning my love spell from this great spell caster that made me a happy woman again to say it all my ex came back to me with much love and a caring heart…i am testifying to this great spell caster Prophet of Goddess. if you need his help you can contact him on or or visit

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  • Denise Dilley

    There was a period of time in my short 30-something life where I was not living out my dreams.  I was working a dead-end job and hated it, although in hindsight, I believe that God had me there for a reason.

    Now, however, I’m living my dream(s).  My passion in life is helping people fulfill God’s purpose for their life & to help them grow closer to the Father.  One way I do that is by being my church’s outreach coordinator.  I love every minute of it!! 

    One of my life-long dreams has been to write a book with my best friend.  Over the years we’ve talked about it and talked about it, but now we’re finally doing it.  We’ve been working on it since November, and I’m very excited to finally fulfill this dream!  (If you’re interested, check out our new blog and follow our writing journey at

  • ConfusedMama

    Love this; I have definitely listened to one too many people about how I should be living life. I would love to chase my passion! Unfortunately, I now have no idea what my passion is, what my dream is, or how to find it. I’ve tried lots of tests and lots of brainstorming exercises, to no avail. Perhaps I need to stop looking to other people, or even to myself, and just pray, pray, pray. And be patient.

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  • tinoe

    I tried so many spell casters and I should have went to you in the beginning. @persons reading this: go with Dr.Wala instead of other weak or fake spell casters. You will save time and money!!!

  • Andy Sower

     An amazing testimony on a spell caster who brought my wife back to me..
    My name is Andy Sowers,i live in Australia,and I’m happily married to a lovely and caring wife,with two kids.A very big problem occurred in my family seven months ago,between me and my terrible that she took the case to court for a divorce.she said that she never wanted to stay with me again,and that she didn’t love me anymore.So she packed out of my house and made me and my children passed through severe pain. I tried all my possible means to get her back,after much begging,but all to no avail.and she confirmed it that she has made her decision,and she never wanted to see me again.
    So on one evening,as i was coming back from work,i met an old friend of mine who asked of my wife.So i explained every thing to her,so she told me that the only way i can get my wife back,is to visit a spell caster,because it has really worked for her too.So i never believed in spell,but i had no other choice,than to follow her advice. Then she gave me the email address of the spell caster whom she visited.{}.
    So the next morning,i sent a mail to the address she gave to me,and the spell caster assured me that i will get my wife back the next day.What an amazing statement!! I never believed,so he spoke with me,and told me everything that i need to do. Then the next morning, So surprisingly, my wife who didn’t call me for the past seven {7}months,gave me a call to inform me that she was coming back.So Amazing!! So that was how she came back that same day,with lots of love and joy,and she apologized for her mistake,and for the pain she caused me and my children. Then from that day,our relationship was now stronger than how it were before,by the help of a spell caster.
    So, i will advice you out there to kindly visit the same website {},if you are in any condition like this,or you have any problem related to “bringing your ex back.
    So thanks to the supremelovespellcaster for bringing back my wife,and brought great joy to my family once again.

  • Dian

     I was hurt when my man left last winter and through a family member they told me they had help from for there love problems. I order for return my love spell and within six days he came back to me. and he calls me constantly throughout the day. I’m really pleased with for the support and spell that he give me……Dian

  • Monalisa

     I just don’t know where else to turn to when my lover of 5 year broke up
    with me, one day I saw a site about a spell caster contacted him about my
    relationship problem and after 4 days he solved my problem and my lover
    returned back to me…….Monalisa

  • Doctorehoho

    my fiance has propose to marry me

    February 10 is the day to always remember because i cant forget, that day was the day my fiance propose to Marry me, he has been making promises to marry me,but he fulfill his promise as he said, i have no chance than to look for a good spell caster to cast a spell on him so he can marry me, then l meant a great Dr.Ehoho asked me to fast for a week, i carried out his instruction as he told me, the next week, my fiance came to me, knelt down on his knees , putting a ring on my finger, telling me he must marry me and no one can stop him, his action became crazy to me. i wonder what my marriage would have been without this address,


  • Michael Hyatt


  • Berry

    i am berry from uk i want to share my happiness with the general public of what DR cafai of africa has done for me in the last few weeks  i was once in love this guy called mccatty we in love with each other until  travelled out of my state for two year and we promise ourselve to be together forever, but before return from my journey he where now having another lover when i try to come back to he. He told me i should go away i love him so much that i could not let he go just like that then i told a friend about it and she advice me and recommend this man ogun for me when i visit he at he only ask me to buy some items for sacrifices  to help me get my  ex back and he actualy did it and it work well and today i am happy with incase any one is out there with same problem or any kind i advice he or she to contact this man today at and with what he did for me i belive he can also help you thank once again Dr cafai

  • Petrus Matona

    wow…for me is so hard to focus on my dream’s way….do not what to do to stick on it.

  • Jonathan Hatch

    This is a trap that I, a musician, have almost fallen for on many occasions. People have tried to explain to me how easy it can be to obtain “The American Dream,” and then I can use my financial wealth to fund my desires to play bass. It can be an incredibly tempting prospect.

    Of course, that is until I realize I’m already doing what I love, and actually get paid to do it! It’s easy for people to look at us creative types, and say that we’re not taking the right route to success. Fortunately, I’m on the path to prove them wrong.

    I’m currently reading your book, “Platform,” and working on branding myself as a musician. I can’t wait to see what 2013 has in store for me!

  • Harmony Davivd


    It all started with a small arguement after that he stopped picking my calls and replying my sms was so sad one day he finally called and said it was over.I tried every thing possible to get him back but it did not work until i meet dr igodo and told him my problem he told me all my problems will be solved within 48 hrs which i thought was impossible until the same man that told me its was over came to my office and begged for my forgiveness publicly with roses in his arms it was the happiest day of my life having the love of my life back in my arms.

    we have been together now for 6 months and the love between us is now stronger than ever.

    if you are a woman or a man and you are facing any kind of problem in your relationship or marriage quickly contact the great man of spells directly on email: or Tel:+2348169138446.

    Harmony Davids


  • Rebecca


    My Husband has returned home after many months. No one thought that there was hope. My friends and family urged me to move on and get a divorce. Every time I was close to giving up, I did not feel releasing me from my marriage until when my cousin introduced me to Dr. Igodo who helped her when she had problem with her lover. Dr.Igodo made the impossible possible within 48 hours after I did all that he told me to do. Here is his contact e-mail if you need help too and tel +2348169138446.

    Rebecca, USA

  • Cynthia

    my name’s Cynthia i want every one on this site or forum to join me thank this for what he just did for me and my kids . my story goes like this i was married to my husband for 5 years we were living happily together for this years and not until he traveled to Italy for a business trip where he met this prostitute who be witched he to hate me and the kids and love her only so when my husband came back from the trip he said he does not want to see me and my kids again so he drove us out of the house and he was now going to Italy for to see that other woman. so i and my kids were now so frustrated and i was just staying with my mum and i was not be treating good because my mama got married to another man when my after my daddy death so the man she got married to was not treating i and my kids well so i was so confuse and i was searching for a way to get my husband back to me and my kids so one day as i was browsing on my computer i saw a testimony about this MAN DR CAFAI of shared on the internet by a lady and it impress me too so i also think of give it a try at first a was scared by when i think of what me and my kids are passing through so i contact him and he told me to stay calm for just two days that my husband shall be restored to me and to my best surprise i received a call from my husband on the second day asking after the kids and i called Dr CAFAI and he said your problems are solved my child so this was how i get my family back after a long stress of brake up by an evil lady so with all this help from DR CAFAI of i want you all on this forum to join me to say a huge thanks to DR CAFAI and i will also advice for any one in such or similar problems or any kind of problems should also contact him for help Good bye

  • Sarah Andrew

    At the end of the day a dream is a dream – however big or small. The most important thing to remember it is unique to the person who owns it, and is up to them with what they do with it. Thanks for sharing Michael.

  • Brian A Holmes

    I find myself really exploring this in this season. Life seems to swallow you up, and environments often dictate our focus and drive. Those of us who struggle with performance orientation and people pleasing find ourselves living to gain the approval of those we respect, rather than being true to who we are, and what God has put in our hearts to do.

    Thanks, Michael, for bringing this to our attention, and challenging us to be intentional about our lives, and to get back to the ‘one thing’; the original dream.

  • Brian Mittelstadt

    Excellent post, while I can’t relate a specific example of me living someone elses dream, I can’t help but feel working a JOB is not off topic. Working a JOB is merely punching the clock in, as Seth Godin would put it, “factory work”, which is helping that business owner live their dream, while zapping away our opportunity to live ours. Please don’t misunderstand me, there are many people that love their jobs, and it fits nicely with their dream, those are not the JOB’s I’m referring to. I’m referring to the JOBs where people are working simply for a paycheck without any emotional reward for the work they’re doing.

  • Guest

    Absolutely! I come from a very impoverished, poorly educated, and dysfunctional background. I have been introduced to things through you Michael and so many other wonderful people that I’ve met through you that shows me that my life was literally hijacked on so many levels. Yet I do not blame anyone but myself, because as I look back, I can see where there were many signs along they way–many ways of escape place by God which I chose to ignore. But no more! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!! for all that you do!!

    Taking those subtle steps each day to get to my desired haven!!

  • Keith L. Bell

    Absolutely! I come from a very impoverished, poorly educated, and dysfunctional background. I have been introduced to things through you, Michael, and so many other wonderful people that I’ve met through you, that shows me that my life was literally hijacked on so many levels. Yet I do not blame anyone but myself, because as I look back, I can see where there were many signs along they way–many ways of escape placed by God which I chose to ignore. But no more! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!! for all that you do!!

    Taking those subtle steps each day to get to my desired haven!!

    • Michael Hyatt

      You’re welcome, Keith. I love watching our progress!

  • micahfoster

    This is perfect.