Tired of Merely Existing? Read Bob Goff's Dream Big: Knowing What You Want, Why You Want It, and What You're Going to Do About It
According to Bob Goff, “We’re all looking for meaning, but it’s often lost behind a hedge of distractions, hurts, and disappointments. […] Merely existing doesn’t satisfy most of us, so we pursue inputs that ultimately distract us from our lack of direction. At some point, though, even the distractions aren’t enough.”
Does this sound familiar?
Many of us are sleepwalking through life, simply spinning our wheels without actually going anywhere. And we know there has to be more to life.
Bob Goff, author of the bestsellers, Love Does and Everybody Always, is back with another book to inspire and uplift those who are tired of merely existing. Dream Big: Know What You Want, Why You Want It, and What You’re Going to Do About It is designed to help readers discover their ambitions. It doesn’t stop there.
In signature Goff fashion, the book is full of both humorous and heartfelt stories designed to help readers not only discover (or rediscover) their dreams but also go after them. Along with telling moments from Goff’s life, he provides readers with practical tips to help them pursue their ambitions.
Whether you are a Christ-follower or someone who isn’t sure who or what to follow, Goff’s book is full of helpful information. However, faith is central to Bob Goff and shapes his ambitions and how he pursues them. As God-shaped people, we are uniquely made with an individual purpose. Understanding who God made you to be and how He wired you goes hand-in-hand with your life’s purpose and your big dreams.
His goal with Dream Big is for “you to become fully awake to your biggest and most worthwhile ambitions by becoming fully awake to yourself and your God-given purposes.”
Below, I’m summarizing the main truths from the book Dream Big, but I highly recommend readers purchase a copy of the actual book and read it in its entirety on your journey to discover and pursue your ambitions.
Know Yourself Better
Whether you already have big dreams or think you don’t have any, it’s critical to know yourself better. You can’t discover your life’s ambitions or pursue them without understanding yourself. According to Goff, this “pursuit is a combination of finding answers to the three big questions: Who are you? Where are you? What do you want?” Answering these questions honestly will start you on the pathway to discovering your dreams.
- Who are you? What life choices and behaviors do you tend to repeat? What makes you tick? What motivates you? What do you believe? Self-examination is essential.
- Where are you? Goff suggests, “Instead of thinking geography, I want you to think biography. Figuring out where you really are is a big part of discovering who you really are right now.” Are you stuck in a job you hate? Are you content? Are you holding grudges? Are you in a loving community or toxic relationships?
- What do you want? Get honest and make a list of all the things you want. Don’t make your list about what others want – make it totally unique to you.
Get Specific with Your Dreams
Goff encourages readers to dream big and make lists pages full of ambitions. Then, he tells you how to curate that list and get specific with your dreams. Goff explains, “Don’t settle for what you’re simply able to do; figure out what you were made to do, then do lots of that.” You can do this by taking a good hard look at your list and narrowing it down to the dreams that match your unique design AND what you really want to do. That’s the sweet spot.
Bob Goff suggests using these three questions to clarify which dreams you should pursue:
- It is meaningful? (Does this dream reflect my most beautiful values and hopes?)
- Will it last? (Will this dream stand the test of time? Will it last my lifetime or even past my lifetime?)
- Will it help others? (Is this dream just another feather in my cap or will impact those around me?)
Don’t Stop When the Going Gets Tough
One of the things I love about Bob Goff is that he is everyone’s biggest cheerleader. He lives his life encouraging others, which is especially important when going through a hard time. Goff is honest with readers about the real possibility that there will be bumps in the roads as they pursue their dreams. Even so, he encourages readers to keep going and he also presents readers with realistic obstacles they may face, such as limiting beliefs, an overly committed calendar, and other people.
Moreover, Goff emphasizes the importance of becoming a new creation. Change is hard, but it is necessary when it comes to shifting from a life filled with stuff that simply numbs or occupies us to a life filled with ambitions. Goff writes, “Many of us are clinging with affection to the very things that are holding us hostage. […] You can’t move forward with your new ambitions without sloughing off some of your old hang-ups, and we can’t simply walk away from these hang-ups without understanding them first.” It’s hard work, but it’s good work.
According to Goff, “We’re supposed to be new creations, and there will be nothing new about us if everything remains the same.” Once you get real about who you are, where you are, and what you want, it’s time to take action and make changes. You need to throw off whatever is holding you back, stop planning, and start going after your dreams. Goff writes, “The minute between planning and taking action is the difference between daydreamers and real dreamers.”
Figure Out What God Made You to Do, Then Do Lots of That
Goff writes, “God made us to enjoy each other and to reflect Him, and He derives tremendous joy when he sees us pursuing our unique desires with the skillsets He put in our individual tool boxes.” The Apostle Paul wrote in a letter to the Ephesians, “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” (Ephesians 2:10). We are able to do those good works using the unique gifts He has given us. Goff believes this is true, and he encourages his readers to discover the unique desires and skills God has given them. When those God-given skills and desires are used to pursue dreams, big things can happen!
Moreover, Goff explains that pursuing big dreams requires anchoring yourself to the right things. With all the potential setbacks and failures, you need to be anchored to the rock. Goff explains, “God is often described as a rock – someone immoveable who we can always depend on. The people I’ve known who have tied their lives into Jesus didn’t do it because they thought He’d keep them from falling; instead, they did it because they believed He could handle the weight of their failures when they did.”
Additional Resources to Dream Big
The book, Dream Big, is a fantastic resource for anyone ready to stop sleepwalking and start living a life of ambition. In addition to the book, there are several other Dream Big resources that you may find helpful.
- Dream Big Podcast with Bob Goff & Friends: For audio fans, the Dream Big Podcast breaks down a different foundational principle from the Dream Big Framework and includes a discussion between Bob Goff and one of his friends who has been applying the principle.
- Dream Big Online Courses: There are several different options for Dream Big online courses that include video messages from Bob Goff, along with reflection questions that will help you apply what you heard to your dream pursuit.
- Dream Big Small Group Study: One of Goff’s Dream Big Framework principles is the value of community. Within your own community, encourage one another in the pursuit to dream big by working through the 5-session video study together. It also includes the Dream Big Study Guide to use for personal growth and as a small group discussion guide.
A Follow-Up with Bob Goff
After I finished reading Dream Big, I reached out to Bob Goff. If you aren’t aware, Goff includes his personal phone number in the back of his books. He was out of cell phone reception when I called, but he left his personal email address on his voicemail. I had two questions for him, and he was kind enough to respond.
- I picture you as the ultimate encourager and everyone's cheerleader. How can we encourage those around to dream big and be an encourager like you?
Goff: The best encouragers in my life had no agenda. They just wanted me to know that they saw what I was doing, and it was worthwhile.
- Do you have an update for the boy you helped rescue from the witch doctor that you talked about in your previous book, Everybody Always?
Goff: Charlie is about to graduate from high school and is doing just terrific. We’re hoping to get him into Pepperdine for college!