ARE YOU DREAMING?
Do you have a dream? Are you inspired by your dream? Have any of your dreams come true? Or have you given up on your dream?
As an inspiring vision of the future, the dream you nurture can shape your life. It can amount to an ambition, an aspiration, an illusion or a sheer hallucination but at its best, a dream will energize your mind, will and emotions, empowering you to do everything you can to achieve it. Author and speaker John C. Maxwell has spent a lot of time researching dreams and characterizes them as having a variety of forms, including:
- Daydreams – distractions from the work at hand
- Pie-in-the-sky dreams – wild ideas with no basis in reality
- Idealistic dreams – visions of a better world
- Bad dreams – worries that breed fear and paralysis
- Vicarious dreams – hopes that are lived through others
- Fantasy dreams – belief that wealth or a person, position or possession will make you happy
- Seasonal dreams – short-term targets you try to reach
Any of these dreams can have a positive or negative impact upon your life: it all depends on what you do with them. But any past achievement or future accomplishment begins with a dream. Someone has to come up with an alternative possibility and then decide to turn it into reality. Sadly, however, so many people give up on pursuing their dreams. There are five big reasons why this happens. Do any of them seem familiar to you?
Someone actively discourages the dream – There are people who seem driven to discourage dreams. Perhaps because of their own lack of success, they will work hard to convince you that your dream will surely fail.
You may be hindered by past disappointments and hurts – You may discourage yourself from going after your dreams because of some past unhappy experience. If you associate following a dream with pain and disappointment, you are likely to shut down any future possibilities.
You may have grown accustomed to the status quo – A dream always represents a stretch from where you are right now, and achieving it will require moving out of your comfort zone to some degree. The bigger the dream is, the greater the effort that will be required.
You may need to boost your sense of confidence – It takes a lot of confidence to acknowledge and act on your dream. Most good dreams are ahead of their time and seem a little weird to others. After all, if they were simple and obvious, then others would probably be working on them already. You have to have the confidence to work on your dream until others get on-board.
You may need to strengthen your creative imagination – Dreams begin with an active imagination and like any activity, imagination is a skill that comes more easily to some people. But with practice, anyone can learn how to get better access to the “what if?” realm of dreams. There are plenty of programs, books and websites that can help you reclaim or improve this skill.
Once you have an idea that excites you, then the question is, how do you take it to the next level? In his book Put Your Dream to the Test, Maxwell outlines 10 questions to help you clarify your dream and move it to the action stage:
- The ownership question: is this really your dream? Do you really own it, or is it a dream that you saw somewhere else and thought would be nice to have as well?
- The clarity question: do you clearly see your dream? Can you vividly see the end result and how your life will look at that time?
- The reality question: are you depending on factors within your control to achieve your dream?
- The passion question: does your dream compel you to follow it?
- The pathway question: do you have a strategy to reach your dream?
- The people question: have you included the people you need to realize your dream?
- The cost question: are you willing to pay the price for your dream?
- The tenacity question: are you moving closer to your dream? What can you do today that will get you closer to your dream?
- The fulfillment question: does working toward your dream bring satisfaction?
- The significance question: does your dream benefit others?
Write down your answers to these questions. If most of your answers are strongly positive, you have a very good chance of implementing your dream. And there are few things in life more satisfying than attaining a dream.
QUOTE OF THE WEEK
“Twenty years from now, you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” Mark Twain