Following your dreams isn't always all it's cracked up to be. Watch a movie about someone following his/her dreams, and the conventional narrative formula leads you to believe that, after one or two hiccups and a couple of hours, you'll eventually get exactly what you wanted. The real world operates somewhat differently; for some people, this dream path may pan out, but for most of us, the road to our dreams is long, challenging, and unexpected.

Of course, none of this means that the pursuit isn't worthwhile--in fact, the experience of pursuing your dreams is often more rewarding and more enlightening than the achievement of your dreams themselves.

In trying to put the pursuit of dreams into perspective, below is a list of insightful, inspiring, and in some cases, amusing quotes:

1. "You have to dream before your dreams can come true." -- A. P. J. Abdul Kalam.

Some people throttle their potential by refusing to think "what if?" and ignoring what's truly important to them in life. You have to start dreaming before you can achieve anything.

2. "I have lots of things to prove to myself. One is that I can live my life fearlessly." -Oprah Winfrey.

Fear is a limiting factor, and it's present in all of us, but moving past that fear is essential for success.

3. "Don't give up on your dreams, or your dreams will give up on you." -- John Wooden.

The moment you believe you can't do it, everything else begins to crumble. Never stop believing.

4. "You will never find time for anything. You must make it." -- Charles Buxton. M

any people convince themselves they'll have time for their dreams in the future--but there's never a better time than now. Make time for your dreams.

5. "Never be ashamed! There's some who will hold it against you, but they are not worth bothering with." -- J. K. Rowling.

If your dreams are big, people will mock you for them. Forget those people; they will not help you succeed.

6. "To be a human being is to be in a state of tension between your appetites and your dreams, and the social realities around you and your obligations to your fellow man." - John Updike.

Our dreams are often at odds with our realities, demanding freedoms and resources we may not have. But this doesn't make them impossible to achieve.

7. "Press on. Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent." -- Ray Kroc.

Persistence is much of what separates the successful from the pure wishful thinkers. Distinguish yourself by staying motivated even in the toughest of circumstances.

8. "Once in a while it really hits people that they don't have to experience the world in the way they have been told." -- Alan Keightley.

This is the realization that fuels most people to follow their dreams relentlessly. Staying complacent never led anybody to greatness.

9. "I can't imagine a person becoming a success who doesn't give this game of life everything he's got." -- Walter Cronkite.

You can't follow your dreams at a leisurely pace. You need to give them 100 percent of your effort if you want to achieve them.

10. "When you reach an obstacle, turn it into an opportunity. You have the choice. You can overcome and be a winner, or you can allow it to overcome you and be a loser. The choice is yours and yours alone. Refuse to throw in the towel. Go that extra mile that failures refuse to travel. It is far better to be exhausted from success than to be rested from failure." -- Mary Kay Ash.

Following your dreams is an exhausting, draining effort--but the rewards are well worth it all.

11. "Love what you do and do what you love. Don't listen to anyone else who tells you not to do it. You do what you want, what you love. Imagination should be the center of your life." -- Ray Bradbury.

Ignore everybody who tries to tell you what to do or think. Follow your own instincts and goals.

12. "I don't focus on what I'm up against. I focus on my goals and I try to ignore the rest." -- Venus Williams.

It's easy to get lost in thinking only about the challenges and obstacles before you. Instead, think only about your ultimate destination.

13. "It is better to risk starving to death than surrender. If you give up on your dreams, what's left?" -- Jim Carrey.

This quote may be a bit extreme, but it carries a great point; your dreams define you. If you abandon them, what else could possibly motivate you?

14. "Remember to celebrate milestones as you prepare for the road ahead." -- Nelson Mandela.

Every milestone is a miniature victory in the road to achieving your goals. Don't neglect or underestimate them.

15. "The only thing worse than starting something and failing... is not starting something." -- Seth Godin.

In some cases, failure is inevitable. Don't let that stop you from starting something new.

Be sure to consult this list the next time you feel challenged or disillusioned in the pursuit of your dreams. By adopting the perspectives of people who have already achieved their dreams, you can wrap your mind around the challenges you face in your own life, and remain resolved in accomplishing your goals.