Muscle for life

Why I Hate Fake Dreams (and Why You Should Too)

Why I Hate Fake Dreams (and Why You Should Too)

When someone tells you about their dreams of making it big in Hollywood, building the next killer app, or stretching for some other brass ring, what are you supposed to say?

The universe has your back!

Dare greatly!

You are a badass!

And so you probably do. Most of us do. All the time.

What are we never supposed to say?

We’re never supposed to say something like “That idea sucks moist, open sphincter. You should go back to the drawing board.”

Or “I’m not sure you’re committed enough to pull that off.”

Or even “Is there really a market for that? Have you done your due diligence?”

Why is that?

Why are we supposed to support their ideas unconditionally and encourage them to waste time and energy attempting things that’ll probably fail?

Wouldn’t it be more supportive to say the hard things that need to be said? The things that they don’t want to face?

I receive hundreds of emails and social media messages every day and often face this dilemma.

For example, every week or two someone emails in asking for advice on starting a supplement company.

Almost always, they have no money, platform or following, business or marketing skills, or understanding of the science of supplementation. They just want to own a supplement company because reasons.

Right away, I know that the chances of them merely surviving, let alone thriving, in the supplement racket is roughly fuck all.

What should I do, though?

Here they are, ships sitting safely in the harbor, looking to venture out into the great unknown. Should I blithely set them on a course that will bring nothing but pain, misery, and despair, or should I deliver the truth as I see it?

Well, I give them the best tip I can:

Stay far away from the supplement industry because you’re not ready.

Sometimes they take my suggestion to heart and wonder what “ready” might look like, and sometimes they scoff at what they see as an attempt to crush their dreams or discourage competition.

The latter is laughable.

My supplement company has gone from zero to eight figures in annual revenue in just three years with a skeleton crew, and sports nutrition is a $27 billion industry that’s projected to exceed $45 billion in the next 5 years.

I’m not worried about competition.

And the former?

Fuck those dreams.

That guy that says he wants to be an actor, but all he really wants is fame? That gal that says she wants to build a blog, but never writes? Those people that say they want to start a business, but haven’t read a single book on how to actually do it?

Fuck all of that.

Those are bullshit fantasies, long shots, delusions of grandeur, and by indulging them, we’re doing people a great disservice.

If you see something, say something. If your buddy’s idea is terrible, say it’s a terrible idea. If they’re not good enough yet, tell them they should get better. If they’re trying to be someone they’re not, ask why.

Don’t be afraid to discourage people from making half-hearted commitments to half-baked plans that ultimately make for half-assed lives.

Don’t be an enabler.

This shoe fits the other foot, too.

Why would we want people to mislead us in the same ways? Why would we want them to feed our egos and delusions instead of probing our motives and methods?

Why would we rather be comforted than challenged? Do we really value our feelings more than results? Do we want a participation trophy or do we want to win the day?

People have been saying for ages that you can do whatever you can dream of.

Maybe. Maybe not.

Can you make it as a professional golfer if you can’t average at least 275 yards off the tee? Nope.

Can you become a multimillionaire entrepreneur if you can’t consistently work the kind of hours that would crush most people? Probably not.

Can you get good enough at anything to make an impact of any kind without putting in thousands of hours of deliberate practice? Very unlikely.

My point is there’s nothing wrong with hitching your wagon to a star, but dreaming isn’t doing, and doing isn’t arriving.

If you’re going to dream, then you’d better be ready to do, and if you’re going to do, then you’d better be ready to go all the way.

There’s no feeling like that. It’s the only good fight there is.

So fuck fake dreams. Fuck fools’ paradises. Fuck hand-waving. They’re refuge for the weak, and they rob people–and the world–of their true potential.

What’s your take on fake dreams? Have anything else you’d like to share? Let me know in the comments below!

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I'm Mike and I'm the creator of Muscle for Life and Legion Athletics, and I believe that EVERYONE can achieve the body of their dreams.

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  • Thanks for stopping by and checking out my article! I hope you enjoyed it.

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    • Gary

      I agreed with what you were saying in the article. People need to narrow their focus and go wholeheartedly after what they feel led to pursue. They may or may not reach their dream, but they will learn and develop in the process.
      One challenge for you: can you continue to speak with passion and develop a vocabulary for doing it that offend half your readers. using a word for sexual intercourse over and over again, i believe shows a lack of creativity. Gary

      • Thanks for your input Gary, and I’m glad you like the message of the article.

        Regarding you challenge, yes, I can, but I don’t want to all of the time. That’s why almost all of the articles don’t include swear words. And it’s actually a very, very small minority that gets offended.


  • DeeM

    I want to say the dreamer in me wants to shout awk feck away off Mike. But that’s not the dreamer it’s the delusional lazy kid looking it all but not looking to work for it. Successful people are still dreamers who put the work in. It can be a bitter pill to swallow but the article nails it. And I appreciate the cursing it’s a real personal fucking message 😉

    • Thanks Dee! I’m glad you got past the title and understood what I was trying to say, haha.

  • Brandon Watson

    Man, I love the truth in this article!
    Very well written.

  • Matt

    Stories about people who achieved great success against all odds form the bread and butter of our cultural narrative. I grew up hearing “you can accomplish anything you set your mind to” and “you can be anything you want to be, because they sky is the limit” and “don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do something.” And we’ve all been presented with lots of stories about people who became astronauts, or President, or wealthy CEOs in spite of significant limitations and even after many people told them they shouldn’t try because the would never succeed. For some reason, we continue to tell ourselves this narrative of “you can accomplish anything you set your mind to” even though it’s just plain wrong. I don’t know why we continue to tell ourselves this narrative. Maybe because the truth, which is that we all have limitations and most of us are pretty average, is too painful for most people to face. And it’s extremely taboo in our culture to tell someone that they don’t have the ability to do something, even if it’s obviously true. On a different note, Mike, I’ve been using your BLS program for about 4 months and I’ve gone from 197 lbs. to 184 lbs. (I’m six feet tall.) When I get to about 165 I will probably send a before & after pic.

    • You bring up good points Matt. Survivorship bias is mighty alluring, haha. I do think that most people can rise above mediocrity, though, if they’re willing to work hard at it.

      Awesome, can’t wait to hear from you. Great job on your progress so far!

  • cmacri

    Read Nassim Taleb. Of course all super-successful people share the same traits, duh. It doesn’t naturally follow that having the same traits guarantees you will be one of them. There is that matter of being in the right place, with the right idea, at the right time which most people don’t have complete control over. His advice, concentrate on not being a screw-up. You can’t do anything to absolutely guarantee that you’ll be the next Bill Gates, but there are plenty of things you can do that will definitely result in your being a loser.

    • I agree to a point. Becoming one of the richest people in history requires tremendous luck, but becoming a member of the 1% requires a LOT less. So much less that I think it’s accessible to anyone that’s willing to work hard enough for it.

      • cmacri

        You’re right. Attaining the 1% is achievable if you are willing to work hard enough for it in any area of your life. It could be building your business, developing your natural abilities, or having a great marriage.

  • Laura

    This is why we now have an epidemic of participation trophies and safe places, everyone feels entitled to everything for free, no one wants to work hard for anything, instead of training hard for the real thing, we have people getting muscle implants, its pathetic. And when people succeed after a lot of hard work in any endevour they are then attacked for their successes. Take action. Do the work, work the problem, you must be tenacious, only then can success be a reality.

    • Well said Laura. Generation Y – Y It Gotta Be So Hard? 😉

      • Laura

        Thanks Mike!!

    • cyb pauli

      Who sold the participation trophies and made good money doing it… Boomers. Mike looks pretty young to be Gen X

  • While it’s true you can do anything you set your mind to, it doesn’t mean you will. Most won’t leave the launch pad. Often we’ll drift ourselves along just by entertaining the thoughts of success. We envision without complete vision and plan only in part because we really have no plan – but for many of us these thoughts are enough to carry us through our lives with procrastination and excuses that will bring us to our grave as average.

  • Maria

    I think motivation is overrated…The only times I really accomplished something was when I felt I had no other choice, as if there only was this one way I could go. As if I had to do it or I would shrivel up and die. Doing it out of any other motivation makes it a hobby.
    Hobbies are fun too, though and important. I’m really, really good at what I do and I want to be at the top in my profession, one of the best of all times. But sometimes it’s great to challenge yourself with things for which you don’t have a great talent or even ambition, maybe even a weakness and that have nothing to do with your big dream. And not just as a child, even or especially as an adult. I don’t like to eat bread and I never baked…but I learned to be patient the summer I was learning how to bake sourdough bread. I’m neither athletic or vein, but I kill myself at the gym 5-6 times a week, just to prove that I can do things without talent, just because I can or want to and never thought I could. Taking the eye off the prize for a moment here or there isn’t the worst thing either…I love reading your articles and you and your book got me started on becoming a fit person. And a friend of mine took it even farther and is now a competitive lifter (your book, which I recommended to her) She had the talent, I didn’t, but I still became fit and get to look good and feel younger and I love seeing how far she is taking it…It can also be a humbling experience to try things you neither have the talent for nor the stamina. You learn to understand and respect others and their achievements.

    • I love it Maria, thanks so much for sharing.

      Why do you feel you have no other choice but to do what it is you’re really good at? What is driving you internally?

      • Maria

        It’s hard to describe, passion maybe…maybe a perfect storm or even fanaticism…my colleagues are like that too…the more talented, the more charismatic the harder they push themselves. It’s also not about wanting to be better than someone else or beat someone. I think it might be a worry that you’ll have regrets one day or that you’re wasting something, not fulfilling your destiny. It’s something that is always with you.

  • JR

    A dream is only a mere fantasy if never acted upon with unwavering diligence, day after day. As always Mike, tell it as it is!

  • J Pyper

    Many years ago the legendary golf pro Gary Player was hitting balls off the practice tee one morning, and the first ball he hit went 280 yards straight as a bullet. A guy in the gallery just within earshot said, ‘Man, I’d give anything to be able to hit a golf ball like you.’ Gary walked over to the guy and said, ‘No, you wouldn’t.’ The guy said, ‘Yes, I would. I’d give anything to hit like that,’ Gary said, ‘No, you wouldn’t. You wouldn’t be willing to do what it takes. You have to rise early in the morning and hit five hundred balls until your hands bleed. Then you stop, tape your hands, and hit five hundred more balls. The next morning you’re out there again with hands so raw you can barely hold your club, but you do it all over again. If you do that through enough years of pain, then you can hit a ball like that.’ Player won more than 160 professional golf tournaments and is a member of “the big three” — along with Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer — who dominated golf through the 1960’s and 1970’s” (Bob Merritt, 7 Simple Choices for a Better Tomorrow, p. 136).

  • Jordan Hidalgo

    Fuck yea Mike, you should write more stuff like this.

  • Jake

    No no Mike stop writing crap like this. Your going to start losing followers. Remember pride always comes before the fall. Focus your energy in reading science literature and improving the stacked app. Why don’t your crest a company that does custom calories and and fitness tracking for an affordable price. Anything but this crap and your last article on the f-word.

    • Jake

      Ya the article is true and speaks volumes but you left the reader with no real solution.

    • cyb pauli

      I think he’s in a libertarian manly man fever again. It will pass.

      • Hahah ALPHA MALE 4LYFEEEE.

      • Dustin Bartolucci

        The only men worth their salt are REAL individuals, and the only true individuals are libertarians (though there are plenty of stupid libertarians). It’s obvious that Mike cares about people, so do i, but spoon feeding and false encouragement will NEVER help others and only will prove you to be dishonest.

        Be ready to fail in life, but be thoughtful and smart too. As I see it, we have one shot, so try not to waste time, don’t kid yourself, pick yourself up after failing and try a new strategy, this is the only way greatness is achieved. I don’t care about awards or recognition, I strength train, study computer science and math, draw, and play piano so that I can achieve MY standards.

        Self reliance, resourcefulness and the willingness to learn and teach yourself are your greatest assets and they will always pay off if you use your time wisely.

        Mike, keep being a fucking badass because you are one of my real life heroes pal. Your book (and a great childhood of watching Arnold) gave me the push to do great things with my body. Would love to have a cheat beer with you pal!

        • Great comment. Thanks a ton for the support Dustin.

    • Lol. How old are you?

  • Pedro Gomez-Faccio

    315-330 yard drives ;D.

  • cyb pauli

    Hate your own fake dreams (whatever that is) and leave those of others alone. Before you started selling your own supplements you had no experience selling your own supplements. Before Einstein invented physics as we know it he was a moron following Newton. Stupid dreams that you fail at achieving are better than no dreams at all but a lot of reasons not to dream.

    • I agree that dreaming and failing is better than not dreaming at all, but some reasons for failure are MUCH better than others. And in my experience, many people fail for stupid reasons (incorrect estimation of effort, laziness, lack of due diligence, etc.).

      I highly disagree that being weak and mediocre is desirable. I think it’s fundamentally at odds with our biology, actually, and that striving for excellence is one of the primary things that makes life interesting and worth living.

      Lol second place Olympian = one of the best and most driven and ambitious athletes in the world, not some washed-up failure that tells himself that sucking is okay.

  • StrongBacks

    Hi Mike,

    A lot of us reading your articles and buying your books actually want to see results. That being said, I’ve been trying to figure out my macros. I’ve use the online calc and my result for a 20% surplus was 1763 kcal. I feel like this number is whacko, because I feel hungry almost every night. Here’s the breakdown of the macro:

    21% Protein- 91g, 63%Carbs- 279g, 16%Fats- 31 g.

    I’ve followed your guidelines in the book thinner, leaner, stronger to calculate this. Should I increase carbs (plus fiber) as needed, or be patient? If I’ve gain strength but not much weight, should I be concern?

  • Charles

    I’m curious why you decided to write this. What motivated you?

    I think you’re absolutely right about everything that was said.

    Also, your comments made me wonder what you value most in life. Is it professional success? Your body? Your net worth? What would you say is your top priority in life? I respect you and your work a great deal, which makes me wonder about your religious beliefs, priorities in life, etc. I fully understand if you wish not to share on your company website.

    Keep up the good work! I’m making gains quickly with the knowledge I’ve acquired on this site!

    • Thanks for the support Charles!

      Scratching my own itch, I suppose? Haha. I personally like to read and write this kind of stuff and hope that others find it helpful and motivating.

      Hm, what I value most (in no particular order):

      – Physical, mental, and emotional/”spiritual” health and growth

      – Enthusiasm over goals and making progress toward them

      – Meaningful and enriching relationships with others, including my wife, son, and co-workers and friends

      – Being of service to others

      As far as looking good and making money go, sure, liking what I see in the mirror and financials is nice, but they offer little in the way of satisfaction. They’re more like absences of negatives for me (not looking bad or having financial problems) than powerful positives.

      What about you?

      • Charles

        Thanks for the timely response! I think it sounds like you’ve got some good priorities in life.

        As for myself, I am a Christian and I try to keep my priorities in line with God’s Word. That being said, none of what you said conflicts with my worldview. I would only add a couple priorities, like my relationship with God. I suppose that could fit in with the spiritual health you mentioned, though.

        I enjoy reading all your articles, including the non-fitness ones, so keep them coming! I think I may have read just about every article you’ve written on this site. Evidently, reading your articles is a priority of mine!

        • Kevin Kenyon

          This kid fucks^

          • Kevin Kenyon

            He is making some gainz though. LIGHT WEIGHT BABY

        • Ha, I appreciate that! Thanks for the support

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