“Success seems to be largely a matter of hanging on after others have let go.”
– William Feather
If you have a dream, you’ve gotten on the train.
This train eventually takes you to the destination you’ve always wanted – the place where you can live a sustainable life with exactly the amount of things you want, all while doing what you love every single day. Unlike conventional trains, this train doesn’t operate on one way tickets, it charges per day.
The price per day is low so in the beginning, thousands and thousands of people decide to get on board. On the train they find all sorts of room, great food, free drinks and lots of beautiful people to hang out with. It seems almost too good to be true. The train leaves the station and everyone stops to listen to the conductor as he addresses the passengers.
“Welcome the Dream Express, we’re on a very long journey but when we reach the end, you’ll have found and accomplished exactly what you’ve been dreaming about.”
Everyone cheers because moving toward your dreams is exciting, so you feel full of life and energy. It seems everywhere on the train there are aspiring artists and entrepreneurs talking about how great it will be when they become successful. The train’s first stop is at a small town in the countryside. The conductor tells everyone they can get off if they’d like but to be back on the train in the morning. The town is quiet with not much to offer, but it has an old time charm and the next day when the train starts up again the passengers notice that there are a few people missing. Surprised, many of the people say “I guess they didn’t want to stay on board”. Before the train pulls out they see some former passengers standing at the train stop. One passenger shouts “why aren’t you getting back on the train?” To that, one of the men responds “we like this town, it’s nice here and we’ve decided to stay”. The train rolls on and they wave good bye.
The next stop is a bigger town and as the train comes to a stop one girl on the train shouts out, “They have a casino, let’s go have some fun!” All the passengers get off the train and head into the casino, and some lose too much money gambling. When the morning comes a few realize they don’t have enough money for the train, so they stay behind.
As the train rolls on, the passengers realize the food isn’t as good anymore and a few of them start to get aggravated because life on the train isn’t as nice as when they first got on board. The train rides for several more days and now some of the passengers are very restless. The next stop is at a town that is known for it’s amazing food and relaxed life-style.
The train stops and the passengers get off, but this time there is a different feeling than before. Many of the passengers see what the town has to offer and begin to say to the others “this town has everything we need, and the food isn’t like what we’re getting on the train, let’s stay here”. On top of that, a local business man offers jobs to anyone who would like to stay. The next day, less than half of the people return to the train. As the train takes off for the next station the passengers who decided to stay now see a large group of people waving good bye to the train, most with food in hand and big smiles on their faces. They hear things shouted like “you should have stayed with us, this town is great!” and “you’re passing up a great opportunity!” The train rolls on.
As the train begins to cross the plains the conductor informs the passengers that the air conditioning has broken, a long moan is heard from the cabin as the passengers that are left start to say things like “we should have gotten off at the last stop”. The train that was once buzzing with people talking about becoming famous and reaching their dreams was now quiet and many passengers began doubting whether they would have enough money to ride the train much further.
The next stop is at an affluent town and as the train comes to a stop the first thing the passengers notice is that this town is full of prosperity. The men are well dressed and the women are beautiful. The passengers head out and many of them fall in love with this lifestyle. Tired of the train and excited by the idea of spending time with the locals many of them have trouble deciding whether to go back to the train at all. The next morning the train boards, and there are even fewer people on board. As the train leaves there are people waiting at the train stop as the train pulls out. The passengers that decided to stay on board see the men and women, some with companions they met last night, and they wave as the station slowly fades into the distance.
Life on the train is getting worse and worse. Not only is the food scarce and the air conditioning broken but the train engine has begun breaking down, leaving many people to believe that it may not be able to reach it’s destination. Even with all the problems, there is still a group of passengers that have stayed. They aren’t the most talented, although they certainly work hard at their craft, and they aren’t the best funded, although they spend their money wisely. What they all seem to have in common is their desire. They want their dream more than anything and no amount of short term happiness will distract.
The passengers sense they are nearing the end of the journey, but still see no true end in sight. The train pulls into the next station and the passengers are overcome with awe. They see bright lights, a vibrant city and the conductor tells them of the lavish parties that are held here. After getting off the train they quickly realize this is the best stop out of all and they could certainly make an excellent life here, one that many people would be jealous of. They ask the conductor if this is the last stop and he says no. The passengers go out into the town at night and many get offered work that is very close to the life they desire. They see that if they decide to get off the train and accept any of the offers they are given they would certainly be happy.
The next morning there are only a few passengers left. As the few passengers that decided to stay board the train they are shouted at by the people who stayed in the city. “You’re crazy!” “Where do you think you’re going?” The passengers board the train and once again continue on their journey.
The train pulls out of the station and many of the passengers fall asleep from exhaustion. As they wake up they see the sight they have been dreaming about every single night. They’ve reached their destination, and the few remaining passengers debarked the train, fulfilled and proud to have made it this far.
Years later they would look back and when asked how they achieved such a high level of success, they would all say, “just stay on the train”.