“20 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”. – H. Jackson Brown Jr.
Nothing is created without dreaming it up first. A thought and desire must come before a dream can manifest, and it’s thoughts and desires that have devised our entire world as we know it. Going back in time, people would have had crazy thoughts about visiting the moon, thinking it the most impossible of dreams. Electricity would have seemed the epitome of supernatural magic and aeroplanes a wild sci-fi fantasy!
What is the seed that planted the extraordinary dream in the first place? A tiny, fertile thought, coupled with a singing heart.
1. Choose Each Thought With Precision
Try a simple experiment on yourself. Think two thoughts, one positive, one negative. If you think, as a positive thought, “I’m going to plan an island holiday,” then, silence your mind and feel the particular emotion the thought has created. It’s likely to be excitement, it feels like a buzz in your stomach, a smile stretching your face, a warm glow coming from your chest. These feelings will inspire further positive thoughts, like, “I’m going to go swimming and eat delicious island food and relax.” And on it goes.
Now think a negative thought, such as, “I will never be able to leave this job I hate.” Your chest may tighten, you might frown, nausea may clench your stomach and your whole body can tense and become rigid. Having allowed one negative thought to infect you, more negative thoughts will likely flood your mind, like, “my whole life sucks, I’m a loser, I might as well just give up, get drunk and drown my sorrows.”
Practice this experiment for a week, every day. It gives us irrefutable proof that we have the ability to choose our own thoughts and therefore our own emotions. Even in the midst of ‘hating your job’ for example, no one can stop you thinking about planning a holiday, and when you do, you get back on track with your emotions, you stay motivated and save your body a whole lot of stress in the meantime.
2. Make Sure Your Dreams Are Your Own
Now that you’re practicing precision thinking, and you can tell the difference between a useful, manifesting thought and a useless, ‘let’s hop back on the boring old mouse-wheel’ thought, have a good think about your long-held dreams.
Or, if you feel you don’t have any, write a list of everything you like, read each item out loud and allow yourself to feel an emotion associated with each one. Maybe an expensive car, a mansion, an executive career or a picket fence are other people’s dreams and you’re chasing the wrong things because you think other people, or society in general, admire them – so your heart hasn’t been singing very loudly.
Keep it simple, use one word items like ‘flower’ or ‘boat’ or ‘creating’ or ‘travel’ or ‘helping’ – your heart will tell you which is most special to you, literally via a physical sensation, every time you intentionally ask yourself what you want.
3. Feed Yourself With Inspiration
Once you decide what your next dream is, stuff yourself with information about it. Surprisingly, this can be difficult as we think it’s a waste of time to indulge our minds with our dreams. There’s always work to be done and chores to complete and achieving to worry about.
But we must water our dreams. We must fertilise them. We must keep them in the forefront of our minds and deliberately engage in wonderful fantasies about how it will feel when we are doing or being or living our dreams. This is what propels us to take action towards them.
4. Be Flexible and Patient With Your Dream’s Processes
As we start taking actions towards our dreams – such as researching, making vision boards, studying, saving money – we can be knocked off track by what we perceive to be random, external events. They rarely are.
We can spend infuriating months on a crashing computer figuring out how to create a website, or weeks in the shed mastering new tools, or hours on re-writing one tiny opening sentence for an article. We wonder, “why is it so hard?” as we smack our heads against the proverbial brick wall. But it only appears to be hard because you’re learning. The answers are there, every time, when you drop the struggle and accept that effort is just a requirement, not an overwhelming hardship.
Most dreams would not, in fact, be very fulfilling without the challenge of learning to master new skills, thereby growing holistically. There’s no hurry; relax into the learning experience and know that each challenge is teaching you valuable lessons (and by all means get some gloves and a punching bag for the infuriating moments; a much better release than unleashing anger in your mind via thoughts!)
5. One Small Step Each Day
I have recently fulfilled some of my biggest dreams, in writing professionally, creating an inspirational website and getting a publishing contract for a novel. Before that, I worked as a professional dancer, which had also, at one time, been my wildest dream. They are labelled as very ‘unsafe’ and ‘unstable’ career choices, but, my heart sang for both, so I felt I just had to pursue my fantasies and I couldn’t help but strive for them (my heart seems to have a very, very loud singing voice.)
But both dreams required many steps, sometimes very long, very steep and very rocky steps. A professional dancing career commences with years of training and writing is only something that results from endless practice. Both paths are littered with the ‘artist’s curse’ (or blessing) of being wide open to opinion and subject to intense criticism, rejection and not making any money. But hard work? No – not when taking one step at a time, keeping rhythm with desire. Truly, when you ‘go with the flow’, it all falls into place.
All of our hearts sing loudly for our desires, when we allow what we love to have a voice, instead of what are fast becoming outdated values within society (commercialism, greed, materialism).
The most important thing to remember in helping to make dreams come true, is that the journey towards our dreams is even more enjoyable than actually achieving them – because once we’ve achieved our dreams, others quickly surface anyway.
Reminding us that the end result is, actually, always just another starting point.