Arizona Team  – 6 Steps To Turn Your Dreams Into Reality

- The School Teacher Who Quit His Job To Become A Ninja

By: Izzie Arkin

Izmael Arkin, a middle school teacher quit his job to follow his childhood dream: To become a Ninja. Read on to see how Izmael went from a struggling life as a middle school teacher in california to becoming a Ninja in Japan.

Enjoy his 6 Steps to Turn Your Dreams Into a Reality.

 

October 2009

I looked at my hands.

They were shaking.

I pulled over to the side of the road. The questions ran through my mind:

What did you do wrong?

How did you get here?

What are you going to do with your life?

Then the tears started to fall…

 

The Depression

I was in my 4th year as a middle school science teacher in Los Angeles, California.

26 years old, getting a masters degree in education. I was moving up the ladder fast,  soon to be running my own school.

I was making more money every year. I drove a nice car. My resume looked fantastic. Everyone was impressed.

But there was a problem.

I hated my life.

I’d lie awake at 2am unable to fall asleep. Anxiety, fear,  and stress  overtook my thoughts.

Night after night the questions, voices, and thoughts kept coming.

 

What Are You Going To Do With Your Life? (The Million Dollar Question)

I thought I wanted to give my life to education. I thought this is what I was supposed to do.

I tried to use logic.

You have a good job.

You should be happy.

You’ve done everything you were told to do.

Logic is stupid… when it leads to depression, anxiety, and stress.

I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life.

For months on end I battled with the million dollar question.

What are you going do with your life?

I made it my purpose to discover my purpose.

I talked with friends and family. I read books. I took personality tests. I tried new activities. I volunteered in my community.

Friends would ask “Izzy, if you aren’t going to be a teacher, what are you going to do with your life?

I’d smile and give a little laugh.

I want to be a ninja.

It was meant to lighten the mood, to bring some humor, to such a serious question.

But one day it clicked… I’m not kidding.

 

izzy eli ninja halloween big

 

What is a Ninja?

About 4 months after that fateful October day, I wrote my dream on paper.

“I want to be a ninja… But what is a ninja?”

It’s a good question, right?

As I explored this question I realized something. I didn’t want to be a traditional ninja. I wanted to be the ninja from my childhood imagination. It’s a childhood dream.

So then I asked the question: According to my 8 year old brain, what is a ninja?

The answer became very clear. A ninja does 3 things.

  1. Moves to a far away land
  2. Trains extensively in martial arts
  3. Challenges the traditional rules of work and life as we know it

As I wrote these down I sat back in my chair with a surge of emotion. It clicked.

This…is…possible…

 

I Quit My Job, I live In Japan, I Train 4 hours a Day in Martial Arts

Over the course of 4 years I would quit my career in education, save money, find work in Japan, and eventually train extensively in martial arts.

I now live in the historical capital of Kyoto in Japan. I train in Aikido (a martial art) 4 to 6 hours a day 5 days a week.

Am I a ninja? By technical definition, no… But that was never what I wanted to be. I wanted to be the ninja from my childhood dreams.

I have now lived in Japan for 2 years. I have given my life to Aikido.

4 years ago, I was a depressed, stressed, overwhelmed 26 year old middle school teacher. Now, I wake up with joy, purpose and meaning.

I share my story for one reason. I’m not magical nor special. My life is evidence that you can follow your dreams no matter how absurd they may initially seem.

Izzy getting thrown

 

 

6 Steps to Identify and Live Your Dream

Below I break down the process to 6 specific practical steps to turn your dream into a reality. I know this stuff works because my life is the evidence.

 

Step 1: Answer The Million Dollar Question

I believe there is nothing more important than to identify your purpose.

The million dollar question is as follows:

If you had a million dollars, what would you do with your life?

Many of us allow money to be our excuse.

We use it as a crutch to slow us from moving towards our dreams. In some cases we even use the money excuse as a dagger that rips right through the heart of our dreams.

Your job above all else, is to identify what you want to do. After that, then you can figure out how to make money doing it.

 

Step 2: Define Your Dream

Once you know what you want to do, create a clear succinct definition for your dream.

Take my dream for example: to become a ninja.

That sounds totally absurd, unrealistic, and crazy. But when I give you the definition (according to my 8 year old brain)

1) Moves to a far away land
2) Trains extensively in martial arts
3) Challenges the traditional rules of work and life as we know it

It all of a sudden becomes possible.

Defining your dream makes the ‘impossible’, possible.

 

Step 3: Determine The First Step

Once you know exactly where you want to go (your purpose) and you have a clear definition then you need to identify the first step.

Do not be concerned with step 9, step 29, or step 109. All you need to do is focus on the next step in the process.

 

Step 4: Take The First Step

Action is the great differentiator. This world rewards people that ‘do’, not people who ‘think about doing’.

Everything comes down to execution. You can have the greatest idea in the world, but it don’t mean a darn thing if you don’t take action on it.

 

Step 5: Start Saving Money

Yes, I mentioned above that you cannot use money as an excuse. And that is correct. But here is the other reality.

Money matters.

As soon as I identified my dream, I started saving money every month. I called it “my dream fund”.

By doing this I was gaining momentum on my dream. Every month it felt like I was getting closer.

How much you save isn’t near as important as saving. Choose an amount and start saving today.

 

Step 6: Reflect, Adjust, Act

As you take action, you’re going to learn incredible things about yourself. But here’s the simple reality: you’re going to make mistakes.

It’s critical that you learn from these mistakes. After you take action it’s important to set time aside at minimum weekly to reflect. There are 3 specific questions I always ask myself:

1)  What actions did you take in the last week that are moving you towards your dream? (keep doing those)

2)  What actions did you take in the last week that are preventing you from moving towards your dream? (stop doing those)

3)  What actions do you need to start doing to accelerate your progress towards your dream? (Choose one of these and do it).

 

Then based on your answers to these questions, adjust your plan and take action.

Repeat this “reflect, adjust, act” approach every week and you will be amazed by the impact it has on your life.

 

Izzy with students 

 

Identify Your Dream, Then Take The First Step

At the core of all of this are two very simple concepts.

To turn your dream into a reality all you need to do is know exactly where you want to go and then continuously take the next step.

This sounds simple because it is simple. But simple does not mean easy.

If some former middle school teacher can quit his job to become a ninja, you can follow your dream.

What actions are you going to take today to start turning your dream into a reality?

 

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Arizona Team reviews how to wake up with motivation. This article shares 15 ways to do that.

Through all of the stories of great successes, it’s the men and women who found their motivation and consistently used it as their main drive to reach success.

Motivation and excitement about your vision, your ambition, your goal, give you energy and an ability to do what others can, but won’t do. If you’re motivated, you work longer hours, but are also more productive and focused in those hours you work. But what if you’re not internally motivated day after day to hustle, work, and trudge through the daily tasks that make-up the path to your end goal?

15 Ways To Wake Up With Motivation

 

wakeup

 

1. Have your biggest dreams written on a massive white board

Your dreams and audacious goals should be written where you can consistently see them. I use a big white board next to my desk. On the white board are my big goals, my weekly goals, and motivational quotes. This helps me keep the eye on the prize, maintain focus, and ward of the distractions that make their way into my day.

 

2. Focus only on TODAY

We can get lost in thinking about the future or regretting the past. What’s terrible about this is that while you’re worrying and wishing you were in a different position in life, someone else is working.

Worry does no good. If you truly want to succeed you need to learn how to focus your mind only on the present. Do what you can do in the moment, work on the project at hand, accomplish your daily goals and tasks, and you’ll do the same with your bigger, lifelong goals and dreams.

 

3. Have only 3 things on your to do list that MUST BE accomplished

Don’t try and fill your day with too much. Sure, you’d like to get a lot accomplished, but there should be 3 (only 3) important tasks that NEED to be accomplished. Focus on these first. When they’re completed, and only when they’re completed, are you allowed to move on to other things.

Too many people spread themselves thin. What ends up happening is they get overwhelmed, which crushes their motivation, and nothing gets done.

If you’re focused, you’ll stay motivated, you’ll get more done, and you’ll be where you want to be a lot faster.

 

4. Practice discipline

Discipline isn’t sexy, but it’s necessary. It’s in discipline that we gain freedom. We gain freedom to get more done, to improve, and to remove regret from our lives.

When you’re focused only on today, doing only what needs to be done in the now, nothing else matters. But discipline needs to be practiced everyday.

When a reporter asked two-time MVP point guard Steve Nash, how often he trained growing up, he said (and I paraphrase) Everyday. I never missed a workout, because I knew that if I missed one, I’d give myself a reason to miss another.

If you practice laziness and distraction, that is what you’ll be, and you’ll be left with nothing but regret and failure. Practice being successful by doing what successful people do everyday: they remain disciplined.

Remember, take it one day at a time. Don’t get overwhelmed with eternity when the present should be your only concern.

 

5. Create an inspiring environment

Your environment HAS TO inspire you. Surround yourself with images that motivate you, but also in a clean, clear space. Clutter truly does clutter the mind, but it can also be depressing to be in a messy area.

Pattern your work environment as you’d love it to be. Spend a little money on a nice desk if that’s your thing, but make sure your work space inspires you and motivates you. This is where the magic happens. This is where you should be spending most of your time. So make sure it affects you positively.

 

6. Have a quotes list near your desk, and your bed

It’s not the critic who counts… The famous quote by Theodore Roosevelt is always close. Be it in my notebook (one of the two), or handing from my bathroom mirror, or next to my bed, I always have inspirational quotes that keep me focused, upbeat, and aware that success isn’t immediate. That success takes hard work, dedication and much sacrifice.

If “making it” was easy, everyone would have made it. That’s why I respect all entrepreneurs, it takes guts to be in the arena.

 

7. Workout everyday

Part of staying motivated is warding off depressive thoughts. Being physically fit helps with that not only from an image and an energy aspect, but hormonally as well.

For men, being physically fit will help raise your natural levels of testosterone, which leads to diminished likelihood of depression. So get in the gym at least 4 times a week, and get outside and get active.

 

8. Set mini, measurable goals

You’ll have your big goals – and make sure they’re as clear as possible – but they need to be broken into smaller goals as well. Make these goals measurable and attainable in the near future (like “to-do’s”).

Everything should be measurable so you know where you are in relation to where you want to be (EVERYTHING).

 

9. Work in 90-120 minute intervals, interspersed with active breaks

Your work should be intense, purposeful, and focused. Studies have shown that we can do so for a 90-minute period, but tend to lose focus once that 90-minute period is finished.

One of the best ways to regain focus is to do something active. The endorphins release by a quick jog or set of sprints will help you not only gain energy, but regain focus.

 

10. Don’t work on small projects

That is, don’t set small goals that don’t excite you. You NEED TO BE excited about what you’re trying to accomplish. If it doesn’t excite you, how are you going to be motivated?

 

11. Clean once a week

Clean your house and work space once a week. Keep clutter and mess out of your life if you want to keep consistently motivated.

 

12. Take mini-vacations monthly

While the hustle and grind of creating something – i.e. the life of an entrepreneur – can be arduous and necessary, it needs “mini jolts”. Nature, for myself, is the best way to give me the jolts I need to stay focused, hustle daily, and accomplish big things.

You don’t have to spend a lot of money, but you should unplug once a month. Go local, but do what you gotta do to get out of your routine. You’ll not only be re-energized, but you’ll find that nature can enhance your creativity.

Bring a notebook and a book to accompany you on your adventure.

 

13. Read voraciously

Great people read. Books are their companions. Check out The Gates Notes - it’s Bill Gates personal website, filled with his personal notes on whatever he’s reading.

In all of my study of great people, be they politicians, entrepreneurs, or conquerors, knowledge was something they all craved. If you want greatness in your future, read in your present.

 

14. Journal daily

Spend one week making notes about when your energy levels – and motivation levels – are at their highest. There should be patterns. Use these patterns to your advantage.

Put your most important tasks in the times when your energy levels are at their height (I do all of my writing in the wee hours of the morning, or late at night, when no one is awake to bother me, and I can focus on one thing).

A journal will also help with clarity. It’s far easier to be motivated when your mind is clear, and the road to your goal is as well.

 

15. Win your mental battles

In his book, Think and Grow Rich, Napoleon Hill consistently refers to the battles we have in our minds. The rich think a certain way, and it isn’t necessarily a greedy way, but a positive one.

The thoughts that fill your mind should only aid you in your journey, they should detract from it. Now, you may think, How can I control all of the thoughts that come in to my head. You may not be able to control what comes in, but you do have the power to control which ones you pay attention to.

Fill your mind with creative, positive, and ambitious thoughts. Don’t give energy to your fears and worries. They do nothing but move you further away from your goals.

Author: Chad Howse

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