Let’s assume for a moment that the one and only purpose for being on this planet is personal growth. In other words, the forces of the Universe are there to help us work our way through the challenges of this world until we can find freedom and spiritual bliss.

Let’s assume further that the wishes and dreams we conjure up in our minds are like carrots on a stick, sweet temptations that help us find the motivation we need to overcome obstacles.

The rules of the game are this: If you want that dream, you have to do the work.

The self-help industry has been trying to move us toward those dreams for a very long time. It shows us that dreams are possible, we see examples of people who have reached their dreams, and it gives us tools and tips to get there ourselves. So we reach for the clouds, we imagine a perfect world, and we wish for a brand new Mercedes, the perfect Prince Charming, and a mansion in the sky.

As we continue reaching for the clouds, we find that once in a while we can get hold of one. We hang from that cloud for a while and eventually fall back to the earth.

Now, let’s assume that the “earth” is our individual level of personal development, and each of us is standing at our own appropriate elevation. Those who have developed further stand closer to the clouds, which makes it easier to reach them.

Without that knowledge, we will keep jumping from earth to the clouds and falling back down again, until eventually we conclude that the earth is really the only reliable place to be, and give up. People rarely consider that if they climb a higher mountain, they may be able to have earth and clouds in the same place.

What does it mean to climb a mountain? First, it means finding freedom from the emotional limits we have developed for ourselves. Then it means growing up, beyond the average expectations we have for adults, and becoming beings of magnificent character. We transcend ego, discover true happiness and experience divine love, and only then are we qualified to have a balanced conversation with the force that makes all those dreams come true…or maybe we become that force.

If it also includes a brand new Mercedes, then so be it.