We all claim to want things. It may be a skill or a relationship. A new house or better behaved children. Money in the bank or a slimmer waist. Some of these things we claim to want a LOT.
But we don’t go after them. Not really.
They’re good goals, worthy of doing. They will improve our lives, no doubt. We love talking about them and planning them, but when it comes to actually doing them… nothing.
We start, but we don’t continue.
We plan, but don’t follow through.
We dream and imagine that one day we will be different. But the dream doesn’t come true.
Because we won’t let it.
Why the heck not?
Sometimes the dream is just too delicious. It’s amazing. It’s sacred. With it, your life will be perfect.
And perfect isn’t possible, so we don’t even try. Or, we don’t want to admit that even our dream life will have flaws. It would be too devastating to get what we want and still be our same small, lame selves.
Sometimes the dream is too big. It’s consuming, and it might just eat you whole. It’s so great – in both content and volume – that you might get lost. So you don’t take the first step toward it.
Perhaps the dream of who we could be is the only thing that makes the pain of being who we are right now bearable. The dream is the only thing that keeps you going in this job, this relationship, this city. If the dream changes you, it will change those things as well and that seems too high a price to pay.
What we want will never become a reality if our fear of it is bigger than our desire for it.
So what to do? How do we make the dreams come true that both captivate and scare us a little (or a lot)?
I wish I had the answer. But these might be good places to start:
- Demystify the Dream – Let’s stop romanticizing the thing you want. It will not save you. It will not be perfect. No pursuit will make you happy every day of your life. (But it might give you a deep satisfaction and joy.)
- Abandon Hope of a Map – Your path will be your own. You can read all the books and listen to all the advice in the world, but you will have to figure it out for yourself. You might get lost. You’ll definitely take a wrong turn or two. (And that might be exactly where you need to go.)
- Move – The worst thing a stuck person can do is stop moving. Whether it’s analysis paralysis or a deep despair of ever knowing what to do, the only way out of it is through it. Take a first step. It doesn’t have to be the best first step, but just a step. Then take the next. Then the one after that. (Great lives aren’t lived in inertia.)
I need this advice as much as anyone. There are things I tell people I want and then I don’t do the things I need to do to achieve them. But maybe by demystifying the dream, abandoning the hope of doing it all perfectly, and simply getting started, those dreams will become reality for me.
And for you.
Picture of the mountains surrounding
Bend, OR, taken by me with a Nikon D3400.