The Life of Your Dreams Doesn’t Come to You

dim sum

If you want to eat, you better go get it.

I spent a great week in Hong Kong and was so excited to go cause of the food.

One thing we couldn’t wait to eat was dim sum. If you don’t know what it is, it basically refers to a style of Chinese food prepared as small bite-sized or individual portions of food traditionally served in small steamer baskets or on small plates.

Basically it’s damn good.

My wife found one famous local place and told me it was going to be different than what I was used to.

For example, when you enter the restaurant there is no hostess to seat you. You don’t line up waiting for people to leave and then go sit down. You have to walk around looking for people leaving. It’s like trying to park your car at the mall during Christmas time. You’re circling and hoping to see a spot free up.

A strategy we used was to see if people were very close to leaving. Then stand by their table patiently waiting for them to leave. It could be five minutes or more. You just hover around people while they’re finishing up. It might feel like you’re bothering them, but you have to do it if you want to get a seat.

When you do find a table, you’re very likely going to be sharing a table with others. When we went, we shared a table with three other small groups.

Might seem awkward, but if you really want to eat, you can’t be picky about where you sit.

The way most people know dim sum is ladies will push around a steam cart with stacks of small wooden baskets filled with food. They come to your table and open each stack to show you what they have. If you like it, you tell them and they give it to you and make a note on your ticket. At the end of the meal, you take that ticket to the cashier, and they add it up.

It’s very organized and it’s exciting to see the carts come by to see what good food they have. It’s also great cause you can eat within seconds of sitting down.

The Hunger Games

This place definitely was different than the dim sum places I’m always used to going to. My wife said it’s cause it’s more traditional style.

Ladies come out of the kitchen pushing the steam carts, but instead of everyone waiting at their table for them to come by, people rush to the cart and quickly surround it. (see photo above and look for the short lady in light blue and the people surrounding her)

They’re all looking to see what it is. If they want it, they get the attention of the old lady by gently shoving their ticket into her face. Poor lady!

When they have their items, they have to walk through a crowd of people who barely move cause they don’t want to lose their positioning.

IT’S CHAOS!

Eleanor went up many times. She had some success but also walked away empty handed many times too. I tried a few times and had to squeeze my way in if I wanted to get something. Didn’t matter if it was old lady or old guy. I had to stand my ground. Sometimes I had success and other times they ran out of that particular item quickly.

We called it hunger games because it was a battle to get the food. If you didn’t go get food, you would go hungry.

Okay you wouldn’t literally go hungry, but you would miss out on most of the good food.

Sometimes the carts would have leftovers. That happened when the items weren’t as appealing or they made too much of a certain item. This is when the ladies would push the cart around to different tables. Then at the comfort of your table, you can take a look at what’s left and and they’d give it to you.

But that didn’t happen as often.

You could sit on your butt and wait for the leftovers to come around and get full, but if you wanted the really good stuff, you had to take action. Most likely if it was something you really wanted to eat, so did everyone else in the restaurant.

From the time we walked in till we left almost 1.5 hours later, every time a cart came out, the same thing would happen.

This is exactly like life

While sitting there laughing at how chaotic it was and taking pictures, I realized this is like life.

When you want something, you’ve got to get off your butt and go get it. Sometimes you get it, and sometimes you come up empty handed, but at least you tried.

If you sit and wait for it, you’ll never ever get what you truly want.

The life you want isn’t going to be handed to you. No matter how much you wish that would happen, it won’t.

Someone isn’t going to walk around with a cart full of dreams and ask “Would you like to earn more money? Here you go.” or “Would you like to lose weight? Coming right up. Enjoy.”

The point is that you can’t wait for someone to give you the life you want.

Yet that’s what happens all around the world. People want everything to be spoon fed to them. They’re too lazy to take action. They want someone to tell them what to do. They want someone to do the work for them. They want instant results with little work.

Then they wonder why they’re not happy in life. They’re the ones who whine and complain. They try to bring others down in life because they can’t live their dreams.

What happens to those people who wait? They live a mediocre life not worth remembering. They eat the leftovers, while those who take massive action eat like kings and queens.

The $100 Bill

I love the demonstration that best selling author, Jack Canfield uses in his seminars. He holds up a $100 bill and asks, “Who wants this $100 bill?” Of course people raise their hand, wave their arms or shout. But he just stands there calmly holding it until someone comes to get it. Eventually someone jumps out of their seat, runs to the front, and grabs the bill from his hand.

What did that person do that no one else did? Got up off their butt and took action! They took the action that was necessary to get the money. And that’s what you must do to succeed in life.

He then asks his audience why they didn’t come up? What stopped them? He asks them to remember what they told themselves. The usual answers are:

  • “I didn’t want to look greedy.”
  • “I wasn’t sure if you would really give it to me.”
  • “I was afraid I might be doing something wrong and then people would judge me or laugh at me.”
  • “I was waiting for further instructions.”

Those same reasons are the reasons they and many of us stop ourselves in our lives.

The ones that have the life that they want have busted their butt to get it. They don’t wait for someone to give it to them. They don’t worry what others think.

They know, in order to have a life of meaning and fulfillment, it requires taking consistent and massive action.

It requires taking risks because that’s where the greatest rewards come.

They create opportunities and luck instead of relying on it.

My life has changed cause of action

At first I didn’t want to go get the food, cause I’m used to sitting at the table while a server would take my order and bring my food. If the restaurant had a self service counter, I’d go up and pick up my food when my number was called. I didn’t want to be in a crowd of people trying to get food.

I thought, “That’s stupid.”

I quickly changed that attitude because Eleanor got tired of going and if we were going to keep eating, I had to go. Plus there were some things I wanted to eat and if I wanted them, I had to go get it.

Old Benny crept back a bit at that restaurant. Before 2010, I kept waiting around for that one opportunity that would change my life. I just needed that one idea that’d make me money or the one secret to everlasting happiness.

I kept expecting it to happen any day now. Just like waiting for a package to arrive from Amazon.com.

Until then I would be sitting on my desk chair watching TV and using my computer.

What I was waiting for never showed up. I’m not the least bit surprised now but back then I always would wonder why.

Why was life like this? I thought I’m a nice guy. I treat people with respect. I say please, thank you and you’re welcome. I graduated from college, don’t do drugs, and am fairly smart so why isn’t good karma coming my way? Where’s my lucky break? Why does that person have success and I don’t.

If I could take a Delorean that went back in time, I’d slap myself on the back of my head. (If I slapped myself too hard, it might cause a concussion and I wouldn’t want that for my future self.)

The point is I was so stupid to think like that. I was too immature and conditioned for things to be just given to me in life.

If I never decided to take control of my life over two years ago, without a doubt my life would still be on that same unfulfilling and boring path. I would still be hoping, praying, and waiting for a better life.

What about you? Are you sitting on your butt looking around to see what’s coming your way? Or are you out there put your life into your own control and doing what it takes to live the good life?

There are only two choices so choose wisely.

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  • I really liked this post because it’s tempting to wait. This is particularly true in the new age community when you talk about “divine timing”. Divine Timing is this idea that there’s a specific time when you can have something and you can’t get it before that time has come. Which means that people often accept unfavorable circumstances because when it’s “time” then they’ll have what they want. So there’s a lot of waiting. A lot of doing nothing.

    But I think divine timing is total bullshit! My life is a canvas onto which I paint my desires. I create my life. I pour my own energy and intention into my life. I will have exactly what I work for and exactly in what proportion I work for it in.

    The Universe isn’t going to hand you anything without work. Period. Because you haven’t proven to YOURSELF that you deserve that thing. So you’ll keep waiting and waiting and wondering why things aren’t working.

    Get off your ass. Get to work. Then the Universe shows up and you’ll be like, “What took you so long?”

    • Your comment made me smile when you said “I think diving time is total bullshit!” You summed it up very well. Thanks for your comment Tatiana!

    • Hypebabe1

      I love your comment so much. U hit the nail on the head – I too once fell under the ‘divine’ trap using the law of attraction but the truth is you have to act first then the universe backs up your action with more.

      Great Article & Thanks so much Benny for sharing

      • You’re welcome!

  • What a great analogy Benny! Different cultures, different ways.

    I personally cannot take the chaos that ensues with some places in Asia for food. I’ve been conditioned to stand in line, not cut in line and yell. Drives me kinda nuts actually!

    • Thanks Sam! It was quite an experience. Not something I’d like to do every week even. I like it the more civilized way when I eat dim sum. 🙂

  • Great analogy here – I also like the example with the $100 bill. Timidness can definitely cause you to lose out on opportunities that you could have otherwise gotten…and that’s one of the things I struggle with as well. It’s EASIER to sit down and let someone else be the “guinea pig” and try something new, but it’s the risk takers who get rewarded in the long run.

    Thomas

    • Hey Thomas! Great to hear from you. Risk takers have the scarier path, but if they succeed they’re looked at as pioneers and innovators. But it is good to go from point A to point B by learning from what others have done though. Once you’re there, the biggest leap comes from being a risk taker.

  • Meron Bareket

    Love this post Benny. Great analogy are tested by speaking for themselves, even before being explained. Yours did just that.

    At first, I was horrified by the idea of this restaurant? Why would anyone pay to go through this, I thought. “Surely the food can’t be THAT good”, was my immediate reaction.

    Then it hit me, exactly like it hit you (proves good writing, btw!). This is life. This is exactly life. Get the left over dim sums or move your butt and make something happen! Amen 🙂

    P.S. I did the $100 bill thing on a talk I gave at a local high school. It works amazingly well. 🙂

    • Thanks Meron! I haven’t written many posts like this so I’m happy to hear the feedback about it. I might have to do more of these now. 🙂

      That’s awesome you did that at a talk! I had a reader email me who knew he does that at his conferences. So if she had the chance, she would get up and go get it. Well she went to another one of his conferences and she had her chance. When he held up the money, she ran up there and got it. After she sat down, her friend was embarrassed for her cause she looked so greedy getting it. Safe to assume her friend didn’t understand the lesson. 🙂

  • Great analogy Benny! Anything I’ve ever accomplished has been because I’ve decided to take MASSIVE ACTION. I realized a long time ago that no one was going to hand anything to me. Thanks again for your amazing insight.

    • Hey Ralph! Thanks for your constant reminder about taking massive action. I’m always telling people who read me they not only need to take action, but massive action like you say. And I can hear your voice saying it in my head so I make sure to get off my lazy butt when you’re talking! 🙂

  • Great post Benny. As an Asian American I can relate. I love Dim Sum although I think I prefer the American style. Aside from the serving style was the food much better than Chinatown here? Nevertheless, great points on getting what you want out of life. Very inspiring.

    • I prefer the American style, but I had to put aside what I was used to and comfortable with if I wanted to get some food. There are so many dim sum places in Hong Kong. Of course HK is famous for their dim sum. The food here was good, but not great. I’ve had better in different restaurants. Wish we had more time to try other dim sum restaurants. Had a couple others I really wanted to try.

  • Thanks a lot for this post. This is a lesson that I must confess I have been slow to learn. If you’re someone who was used to seemingly easy success at an early age, someone who’s been lauded for having talent and ability from your youth, it can be difficult to get used to the idea that in the real world, things don’t just happen; you have to make your dreams happen. I’ve also come to realize that in order to achieve your goals, you must be aggressive without being unethical or obnoxious. Timidity simply doesn’t cut it. You have to decide that you will create your opportunity instead of waiting for it to fall into your lap. And you have to be willing to fall flat on your face, to look foolish, as you step out and take a risk.

    • My pleasure Chim. We have to be action takers. We have to go out and create our own luck for sure. A great comment!

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  • Gwan

    Thank you Benny for sharing this story! I’ve been to a few of those Dim Sum places in HK so i know of the chaos you’re describing. I would love to know what, if any, the difference was like between the first time you went up to get food and the last time. Did you go in each time with the same confidence and assertiveness or did this grow after each successful/unsuccessful attempt of getting the best dishes?

    I ask because i totally agree with your message but i for one believe that it sometimes takes a few attempts of successes and/or failures to get to a point where i can just go for it. Both in life and at dim sum restaurants.

    (sorry if you’ve already answered this question in a previous post, i’m new to your blog)

    • Welcome to the blog! Great question. Of course at first I was a bit timid, but after a few times I grew more and more assertive. It’s the same way in life. The first time we attempt something, we’re unsure about it. The more we do it, the more comfortable and confident we are about it.

      The example I can think about is a guy going up to a hot girl. It can be nerve wracking at first. However, once they approach a woman they get more comfortable with it. They’re not scared to approach a hot girl and have much more confidence to do so, regardless of the outcome.

      So yes you have to at least try. You might fall flat on your face, but you get up and you go try it again.

  • seyshiya

    Great post Benny.As an Asian I have so many similar experiences in life, but at so many times i used to think what other people would think if i do like this and that, finally I ended up with nothing and again trying to think that these people are so greedy and they are not civilized.When looking back i realized that scolding other people,waiting someone else to get it for you, is no more applicable nowadays.nice way of thinking and relating day to day practical situations to make a change in life…Benny

    • Thanks for your comment!

  • Tony

    Great post! I’m definitely the 2nd option – I’m such a go-getter that I can’t stand around doing nothing.

    • Great to hear that! We need more people like that.

  • fitri

    Great post Benny. As an Asian American I can relate. I love Dim Sum although I think I prefer the American style. Aside from the serving style was the food much better than Chinatown here? Nevertheless, great points on getting what you want out of life. Very inspiring.

    • I found the dim sum to be okay at the restaurant. Wish we had more time to try other dim sum restaurants there that were on our list. I’ve had better in place like Las Vegas and Vancouver. I haven’t found a good one yet in NYC. Any recommendations?

  • Lee

    Hi benny
    Great post you have to take risks sometimes to get ahead unfortunately a lot of people are scared to get out of their comfort zone this is why they will never get on.
    A little saying that I try to adhere to is……… It is to easy not to do something…..

    Usually does the trick great post lee

    • Simona

      I loved this one: “I would still be hoping, praying, and waiting for a better life.”
      You could not imagine how many people like this. And they end up old, waiting for happiness…
      Not me, I am trying to get the best out of life, I travel a lot, when I can. I just wen to South Asia, more exactly India. Hong Kong, Japan, Vietnam is still on my list…

      And from my travelling I agree that each place has it’s own culture!

      • Great to hear that’s not you! Great places you’ve been. It definitely is fun to see and experience other cultures.

    • Hey Lee, thanks so much. A great reminder to adhere to. Good to see you and hope you’re doing well!

  • Lee

    Hi benny
    This seems like a mad business model for a restaurant who would run something like this. Unless this is normal practise there and the locals are used to the game and no how to play it. As you and others are saying in life as in this restaurant you cannot sit back and wait for success to come to you. You have to go out and grab it with both hands. You don’t expect to have to do this for your food though.

    Great post thanks lee

  • Angie

    Oh my god this is what i needed. I just graduated from college (6 months ago) and I’m just sitting on my behind. Waiting, wishing for something great to happen to me. I don’t want to keep living this ordinary boring life. Thank you Benny I’m glad i found you.