Why do we stop dreaming? It is a shame, really. We are given this great mental capacity to envision a future which is better than our present state, yet many of us fail to engage in the practice. A powerful question to ask yourself is “When did I stop dreaming?” I am not speaking of the pictures that fly through our peaceful slumbers at night. I am referring to a deliberate wide awake practice of conceptualizing our futuristic state.
Dreaming when we were young was easy. Did you notice? When you were a kid, it was easy to imagine the picnic table as a boat or the tree as a space ship? Dreaming of possibilities was as easy as breathing. What did you want to be when you grew up? I now believe part of the secret is to never let parts of us grow up. Being an adult or being mature does not have to = stuck.
What about how life is? Life tends to be more about what you decide to commit yourself to than about external influences. Many people wait a lifetime for an opportunity to present itself. Others out in the arena of life are fully involved with and consumed by what they perceive their dream to be; they are the ones who are much more likely to achieve their vision.
Some easy steps to go back to dreaming
Journaling. The best dream-catching/starting practice I know. Bringing your intangible thoughts into the physical, tangible world is something everyone should do. The Chinese say, “the faintest ink is better than the strongest memory”. Take the time to be alone with your thoughts and commit them to paper systematically.
Develop Courage. Slowly but surely begin to face your fears. What are the things you have previously feared to even think of doing? Make new friends? Speak in front of a small group or perhaps share with people you hardly know? Let’s be simple. Developing courage does not mean you have to do high-risk things at the start. Do not put life and limb in danger to feel courageous. I say start slow and small. Celebrate the little victories of faith you achieve prior to tackling an elephant of fear. So, expose yourself to a couple of little situations which will stretch you.
Develop a disatisfaction with the status-quo. People who dream are inherently unhappy with the way things are. They always believe things can be better. You must, of course keep up with your current commitments and obligations, while at the same time, feel a sense of anticipation of change for the better.
Read biographies. Ah, one of my favorite things. A really good friend just gave me the new biography of Joesph Kennedy for my birthday. When you read the lifetime exploits of other great leaders and entrepreneurs, it helps develop your dreaming capacity. When you read these great books, take notes on things which move you or resonate with your own life and situation. My favorite biography is “Titan, The Life of John D. Rockefeller” by Ron Chernow.
Remember this. Dreaming is only the beginning and is there to be a stimulus, not the finale. Dreaming is a fabulous start to a process of planning to take you to new panoramic experiences your life can provide for yourself and those you lead.
Please feel welcome to add to my thoughts and list. If you are interested in some of my additional thoughts on this subject follow the links below: