DorMyre 08-01-04  

My Reality Check Bounced!

The Twentysomething's Guide to Cashing In on Your Real-World Dreams


Jason Ryan Dorsey

Broadway Books, 2007, 236 pp., ISBN  978-0-7679-2183-1



Jason is an audacious twentysomething who believes anyone can achieve their dreams.  His books shows how others have done it and you can too.  It is written for all twenty-somethings with "a determination to create success on your own terms.  You don't want to play by someone else's rules."  You don't want to be like Tiffany who, "At twenty-four years old, …felt she was running hard but going nowhere." (2-3)


This is a distinctly 21st century American bootstraps book.  As you read, do you respond by thinking, "Get real!" or "Go for it!"?  Why?


"Your vision of a meaningful, fulfilling life can conflict with an impersonal real world that does not want to accommodate your needs, ambition, personality, background, and perspective.  It expects you to accommodate it!" [Welcome to the real world. dlm]  The author suggests that you do have to give in to this unfortunate state of affairs!  Tiffany said, "I never saw how much control I had over my life until I used it." (5)


The message of the book: "You choose your own path.  You choose where you work.  You choose whom you date.  You choose where you live.  You choose what you study.  You choose what you do in your free time.  You choose, and those choices strung together become your life."   You can make it happen by courageously standing up for yourself. (6) 


Many twentysomethings feel frustration and discontent, unexpectedly uninspired about their place in the world.  "They were expecting the real world to bring them happiness, meaning, and purpose; but instead it brought confusion and second guessing." (12-13)


"You can free yourself to do what you've always wanted by creating and then locking on to a personally meaningful picture of the future you demand to live."  "Be honest about what inspires, delights, and excites you." (21)


Call this your "Future Picture.  It's an emotional, mental, physical, and spiritual molding of what your life would be like if you could wave a magic wand and make it just the way you want it." (22)


Picture your future in four snapshots: career, family, personal, and purpose. (25-6) "I challenge you to find a way to taste, touch, smell, hear, and see it right now." (33)


"Passion is the simmering energy inside all of us that boils over when we are living our greatest, mot authentic purpose."  "Passion is burning desire that drives dedication action." (39)  "Finding your passion will change your life, too.  Finding your passion will push you to dream big and act on those dreams." (40)


"One small step toward your passion is a giant leap toward making it a reality." (43)


"Differing perceptions create conflict between people, because personal perception determines what you believe to be true and permits you to believe only evidence that reinforces your time-tested opinion.  This happens because your super-powerful brain automatically adjusts what you smell, hear, taste, touch, and see to fit your deeper beliefs about what is right, wrong, and possible in the world." (56)


"With time and practice, you can refine your perception to become virtual radar for discovering all sorts of opportunities."  "Start by telling yourself that opportunity is everywhere.  When you have an opportunity state of mind, every problem is a possibility for greater achievement…." (57)


Coach yourself.  "Start by inserting into your internal conversation thoughts about all the incredible opportunity that exists in the world." (60)  "What you repeatedly tell yourself becomes what you think, and what you think becomes what you believe, and what you believe becomes what your mind sees.  When the voice in your head tells your eyes opportunity is everywhere, your eyes will adjust to see it so you can then live it." (62)


"Surround yourself with people who push you to reach a higher level of success." (63) 


Six Questions of Opportunity: (68-70)

1.      What specifically is the opportunity?

2.      What are the measurable outcomes from this opportunity?

3.      Do these outcomes move you closer to your Future Picture?

4.      Are you passionate about this opportunity and its potential outcomes?

5.      What resources do you need to act on this opportunity?

6.      Who can help you research this opportunity and possibly play a role in pursuing it?


"Every quality person you add to your network brings with him his entire network.  With the right people in your network you can get through to pretty much anyone imaginable." (73)


"You send and receive signals in two main ways: physically and verbally.  You physically send and receive signals by the way you carry yourself, smile, laugh, listen, frown, cry, walk, shake hands, stand, make eye contact, dress and so on.  You verbally send and receive signals by how you talk, ask questions, debate, joke, e-mail, instant message, interrupt, offend, gossip, profile yourself on a site like, and so forth.  To get plugged in and stay connected you must fine tune your signals to match the Future Picture you desire."  (77-8)


"Image is the bundle of signals your physical actions and presence send into the world." (84)  "Keep your head up."  Dress appropriately ("What message does your billboard sell?"  "The part you dress for is often the part you get.")  Leave a paper trail. ("Looking good on paper says lots about you and how you see yourself in the future.)  Keep your home, office, and car organized, clean and in order. (84-88)


"Left to run free in your imagination, your past can make you hesitant to dream big and live life to its fullest…'s all in your past--not your future.  What you do from now on is your future." (117)  


"You become what you choose to carry from your past."  Define the three strongest memories (defining moments) from your past: up to age 10, age 11-20, age 21-30, after 30.  "These are the events in your past that, decade by decade, shaped who you are today." (122-24)


Try following three steps to move beyond your toughest memories. 1.  Add perspective.  2. Find the good within the bad.  3. Write a new ending. (125)  "For every minute you spend learning from your past, you save hours of future frustration." (127)


"The final step toward putting your past behind so you can reach for what's possible is tying up your loose ends.  Loose ends are the unresolved relationships that keep you from sleeping worry free at night."  Here is a rough sketch of the four steps.

1.      Identify the five people with whom you have the most unresolved issues.

2.      Contact each of these five loose ends.  Tell them you want to apologize for allowing things to get crosswise between you.

3.      Show up on time and thank each one for being forgiving enough to meet with you.  Tell the person you want to apologize for whatever you did that hurt him.  Listen to each issue that is raised and try to see it from their perspective.  Don't interrupt.  Apologize for each thing they think you did wrong.

4.      At the end of the conversation, thank each once again for talking with you. (129-30)


"You can create excuses or you can create solutions, but you can't create both at the same time." (134)


"You cannot outrun your fears.  To demolish them you must run through them." (158)


"What you do with your time shows what you most prize." (178)


"As long as Sara stayed in a hurry, she felt as if she were on top of the world or fast approaching it."  "She was in the eye of an adrenaline tornado."  "It was only in the rare moments when she stopped sprinting that her spirit dropped." (181) "I had been running so fast I didn't notice I was running on a treadmill." (187)


"She was starting to see that being in a hurry wasn't necessarily success, but being happy with your life was." (182)  "The truth is, fulfillment comes from having a life not from a twenty-four-hour job." (183)


"Being busy rarely equals success." (186) 


"The most powerful word in any language for refocusing your schedule to match your life priorities: no." (188)



"If you can't tell your mama about it, you probably shouldn't be doing it." (195)  "Just one ill-conceived or ill-planned or ill-timed unethical choice can set you up for years of painful consequences that would otherwise have been avoidable." (195)


"If your decision made newspaper headline, would you be jeered or cheered?" (206)  "In my experience, even the smallest white lie can take on a monstrous life of its own." (207)


Theme of the book: 

"Take a chance and explore other opportunities.  If you can't see those opportunities, go create them!  You don't have to punch a clock every day if your most inspiring dream is to travel the world.  Go do it now." (212)


"By opening myself up to different possibilities and a more authentic path, I can experience more meaning than I ever dreamed possible." (214)  "The sky is no longer the limit." (224)




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