Gutfreund draws on examples from five famous dreamers and the lessons we can all take from them.
For those who have experienced heavy snow, they know it is not possible to make out the path from A to B, until the first person has walked it and left their footprints.
This is what dreamers do - they carve a trail for us and leave "dream footprints" in the snow. If we learn from their courage, perhaps we can make it towards our own summits.
1. Act As If
Not everyone knows that Steven Spielberg was rejected from film-making school. As an English student at California State College at Long Beach, one day he visited Universal Studios and met an executive in the editorial department who invited him to come back to visit. He dressed in a dark suit and carried his father's briefcase, which carried his sandwich and a candy bar. He returned each day during the summer and spent time with directors and writers, hanging out, dressed in his dark suit. He even found an empty office and wrote an entry with plastic tiles in the building directory, "Steven Spielberg, Room 23C".
When we "act as if" we are already where we want to be, we come much closer to getting there.
2. Get Back Up
Did you know that the first time Jerry Seinfeld went onstage, he froze and forgot his jokes? After a minute and a half he was jeered off the stage.
The important part is what he did next - he returned the following night and this time left the stage to wild applause.
Falling on the way up the mountain is inevitable, but it is how we pick ourselves up that makes the difference between winners and losers.
3. Write on Napkins
JK Rowling was so poor when she wrote Harry Potter that she used to write on napkins, sitting in cafes to save money heating her home. Her mother died, she divorced her first husband and was raising her daughter on her own and yet, continued to write down notes whenever she had a chance.
Her script was rejected by many publishers. When it was finally accepted and published, she became the first billionaire solely through writing.
When we focus on our dreams, we will want to use anything, anywhere to take those dreams a step closer to coming true.
Write on napkins.
4. Ignore Criticism
Thomas Edison was told by his teachers that he was too stupid to learn anything and as a result his mother homeschooled him. He famously made thousands of attempts before he finally invented the light bulb. Each time he did not succeed he said that he had not failed but merely found another way that it doesn't work.
To keep going despite the difficulties and against the odds requires us to tune out the criticism.
The person who says that it cannot be done should not be allowed to interrupt the person doing it.
5. Keep Your Eye on the Goal
Michael Jordan has often said how his failures have motivated him to keep going. A Nike ad quotes him saying, "I've missed 9,000 shots in my career. I've lost over 300 games. 26 times I've been trusted to take the winning shot and missed. I've failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed."
He acknowledged that on the road to achievements there will be roadblocks. But obstacles shouldn't stop you. When you run into a wall, don't turn around. Figure out how to climb the wall, or go through or around it.
If we know what we want in life, we can make sure that those goals and dreams stay focused in our minds. When we stay focused on the summit of the mountain, the obstacles become mere stepping stones.
Sometimes we are fortunate to have "dream footprints" to follow. Sometimes we are creating the footprints for others.
There is something about daring to dream that makes us want to climb higher.