May I ask a simple question? Why do you think you exist? What is it that drives you? What do you love most about life? What keeps you from achieving your dreams?

In working closely with young adults in some charitable causes, I often ask them “How do you intend to change the world?” They look up at me, stop face booking or texting and have a look of wonder in their eyes—like “Dude, I’ve never thought of that”.

If we don’t intend to change the world for the good, then what good has our existence been? These are deep questions, I know, but they can also be empowering if we can figure out a bridge from our dreams to reality. I believe I have stumbled upon the FORMULA, it has sunk in deep, and was given to me over 30 years ago by my mentor. Are you ready? Behold, rocket science reduced to the most common denominators.

1. Get up early. That’s right, don’t twitter your day away. This is a habit of those who realize their dreams and make the   existence worthwhile.

2. Work hard. There is no free lunch—hard work has been a main tenet of every successful person I’ve known.

3. Get your education. Find what you love to do, and get all the education that enables you to love properly trained; be a constant learner. This may be formal, real-world, internships, etc.

4. Find your oil. This is a term from J. Paul Getty, meaning, everyone has to build a better mouse trap or provide a superior service in your fields of endeavor. That becomes the person’s “oil”. Discover your strengths and magnify them to change the world for the better.

5. Make your mark. This will require stepping out of your comfort zone. So you have decided to get up early, work hard, get as much education as you can, find your oil, and now—making your mark is applying all of that to make a positive contribution in the world. HOW will you be remembered? Will Rogers said “You can judge a man’s greatness by how much he will be missed”. How much we will be missed will determine if we have made our mark.

6. Get prepared to be of service. The truth is, service opportunities and giving back are the richest experiences of life. If we apply the preceding five steps of the FORMULA for success, we put ourselves in a position to serve and give back freely.

So what does this have to do with dreaming? Sometimes, making a difference in the world can be in our own life. While we try avoiding the concepts of self-gratification, it is OK to work to LIVE and not LIVE to work.

So when I took this picture of a sail boat on the Pacific Ocean, between islands in the Vancouver area, I remembered that living the FORMULA, which I strive to do, allows me to dream; to actually connect my existence to my dreams. Living the dream is NOT a pipe dream if we apply the correct principles.