Dreams give us a reason to keep hoping for a better, happier life. Dreams inspire us. When day-to-day reality seems lackluster, having a dream gives today a sense of magic. Dreams are not only important but they are the seeds of every good thing that has ever been manifested on this earth. Nothing gets accomplished without first being someone’s dream.
A dream can be a goal, distraction or an excuse. How can you tell which is yours?
1. Is your dream a singular goal upon which you are focused or is it one of many things you would like to accomplish?
2. Does your dream keep changing?
3. Do you use your dream as an excuse for not performing well in your current position?
4. Is your dream causing problems or stress or making you unhappy?
5. Have you taken any action toward reaching your dream? Do you have excuses for why you haven’t?
Some of us *fall in love with the dream* but lack the true desire, drive and passion it takes to persist in making them happen. Everyone wants to be an author but too many haven’t even written the first draft. Too many would-be actors, artists, business owners, athletes who never take the first real step toward making it happen. There is a saying that the road to success is littered with many talented people who stop before they get to their destination. There is always the “someday” but not it is not today. And today is where everything happens.
Some of us grow out of our dreams and unknowingly create new dreams. When I met my husband, he worked as an office machine repairman during the day and a musician by night. He loves music. He dreamed of becoming a music producer and established a recording studio and produced a few niche industry artists. But soon, he realized that what he spent most of his time doing was not playing or producing music, but taking apart and putting together our PCs. When the personal computer was just becoming a household item, my technically-inclined husband taught himself all the inner workings of hard drives, monitors and memory cards and he grew along with the industry. Today, he owns a successful computer networking business. His dream changed.
What is your dream, anyway?
Ask yourself: “What do I spend most of time doing?” That will reveal your true passion. How do you invest your time? Just because you have talent or skill in one area doesn’t mean you need to make it your focus. If you lack the passion for it, dream another dream.
For decades, I have been working on two novels. The stories, I believe, are enchanting. But I am not a novelist. I don’t really even read fiction. Trained as a journalist, I don’t have skills to write literary prose. Why did I believe all these years that *someday* I would finish these novels and sell the screenplay rights and be on the Oprah Show to promote it and get to visit a Hollywood movie set? Because it all sounded so wonderful. And I still believe these stories are great but I tend to find reasons to avoid working on them and that is a telling sign.
Just this morning, I sat in front of my laptop trying to work on my stories when something occurred to me: what if I never finish them? What if I do and they’re lousy? This isn’t self-doubt creeping in but reality. I lack the skills and talents to make this dream happen and worse, I lack the desire to work at acquiring the skills and talents to make it happen. As much as I love stories, I don’t want to write fiction. There is it.
Setting aside this *dream* is hard and sobering. But it is liberating, too. It definitely will simplify my life.
So what is my dream? I still believe we all need to keep a dream in our hearts. Ask yourself—as I am asking myself—what is it that I do the most? How do I spend my time? I still do write. Just not novels or literature. I write essays and articles that will never earn a Pulitzer Prize and maybe be criticized as being trite, but this is what I like to do most: share my life experiences and hope that someone, even if only my posterity, might benefit from my mistakes and insights. If not, the act of writing this still brought me a great measure of fulfillment. And that is living the dream, isn’t it?
Could it be time for you to feel more peace by letting go of a dream? Maybe it’s time to create a new one. Or get serious about pursuing your dream with passion and determination without excuses. Or perhaps, like me, you're already living it.