The best way to make your dream come true is to Wake up – Paul Valery
Just yesterday I happened to meet my childhood friend who recently turned forty. As we chatted up reminiscing about old times, the topic veered to career, love, money, fame and the many dreams that we dream about.
My friend turned misty eyed as he spoke about some of the curve balls that life had thrown him. Unsure about whether to regret or be thankful for his unfulfilled dreams and in anticipation of making most of his life post forty, he said that he often wondered how to get about ensuring he realizes his much cherished bucket list.
I find a lot of my life coaching clients echoing similar doubts and fears. ‘So many dreams and so little time’ say some while most others confess ‘it all seems so clear in my head but turns so hazy when I get to defining it’.
Clarify that Dream
Psychologists have been studying the phenomenon of dreams since ages and have arrived at various theories. Conscious dreams, subconscious dreams – those we see with our eyes closed as well as open. Let us however begin by ascertaining that the kind of dreams we are relating to are ‘the ones you are willing to work towards’.
I would like to quote Henry David Thoreau’s famous words on the subject “Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.”
Even here there seems an assumption that you know the direction of your dreams, and that you have clearly imagined a life different from your current one. Hence clarifying your dreams is utmost essential.
How are Goals different?
A dream is a goal without legs; it is the very process of clarifying a dream, recognizing and defining it that gives your dream the essential vehicle to move forward.
The good news is that most dynamic and innovative people in any endeavor–business, science, athletics, politics or the arts are visionaries. And a vision many a times has been defined as nothing but an ‘upscale dream’.
Point to note is that a vision is somewhat abstract in nature and needs quantification to be converted into a goal (meaningful dream).
When you say ‘I want the world to be a more peaceful place’ the output is rather abstract. For giving legs to your dream/vision, you will need to clarify it and make it more tangible. ‘I want to lose 10 pounds in the next 3 months’ is more precise and tangible making it an apt example.
Four Powerful Keys To Making Your Dreams Come True
1. Believe – It is Possible!
Often people think of dreams as luxuries reserved for people who are plain lucky, privileged, rich, or well connected.
It is true that some people have more advantages than others. What takes one person five years of planning and saving could be achieved by another by simply selling a stock and making a phone call!
The point is: We are all starting from different places, for different reasons, with different levels of work required to get from A to B.
In some cases, if your dream is something you are physically incapable of doing, it may be improbable (but not impossible – we have come a long way with technology!).
There is no denying that certain dreams are more difficult to achieve than others however most of the things we dream about are normally things that we could do if we were willing to work towards it, align our choices to support it, and stay flexible in terms of fulfilling it.
You do not need to believe that it will be easy, happen quickly or even turn out exactly like you visualized it. You just need to believe in the possibility – which really means you need to believe in yourself.
2. Take Baby Steps
Working towards your dream involves aligning with the right people, disregarding discouragement from people who don’t support your growth and taking baby steps to move towards your vision.
“The right people” are those who help you, support you, encourage you, believe in you, and guide you on your way to this dream. It may include people who have done what you want to do, people who also want to do it and even people who just find it simply interesting.
You may share your enthusiasm and progress with them. They will mostly keep you excited and help you stick to your plan.
There could also be those who do not support your growth. Some may have malicious intentions; these people might ridicule your efforts and even belittle your purpose.
Be aware of the negative impact they are causing and avoid sharing your dreams with them.
Even some well-meaning people who are not able to do step one for themselves believe that they are doing you a favor by discouraging you. Politely decline that favor!
And as for taking consistent steps, they can be really tiny. Simple actions like making a call, bookmarking a site, or sending an email may not seem special but the little things do add up over time and because they are doable, they may inspire you to do more.
3. Make Choices That Support Your Actions
Most of our experiences stem from our choices. Not all of it; there are some things that we cannot control.
This does not mean that if you make all the “right” choices, everything will line up and magically work out. It is just that you have more power than you often realize and that power lies in your choices.
Whatever your dream, the first choice is to “prioritize it”. As you are able, dedicate time to it, money to it, attention to it, love to it. Give what you can, as you can, and back that giving with belief, passion, and enthusiasm.
The other side of this coin is realizing the choices that do not support your dream – when you are doing too much or pursuing other dreams that conflict.
4. Stay Flexible
Dreams are normally personal and private treasures that we are passionate about. Hence it is tempting to be rigid about a dream; when it needs to happen, how it needs to happen, and who it needs to include. But sometimes when we are too busy clinging to a specific vision, we miss an opportunity to experience it in different shades.
This is not meant to discourage you from reaching for the stars. It’s just a reminder that there are a lot more of them than you may realize at this moment – some far closer than others.
Being a singer may include a local music club and not a fan-packed stadium. Writing a book may entail self-publishing, not a six-figure advance and traveling may include teaching abroad and living on a slim budget.
It may not be the “ultimate dream”, but in fact reflections of it. In that moment when you are doing something inspired, passionate and in line with your deepest intentions, you will feel two things that you may not have realized – You will feel Alive and Proud!
Remember – To Start Living Your Dream, Stop Living IN the Dream!