If you are like me, you've heard the mantra before "dream big!". My mental reaction to that was always one of two things.
1. OMG, so cheesy...
2. Thats easy and useless...
I've never understood why I've heard this sort of thing shouted at me in motivational talks, book covers, business articles, successful people, TED talks, etc. I always knew that goal setting was important, but dreaming big?
I'll address #2 first, because thats really the one that maters and it's more fun to do things out of order. Have you ever seen someone really believe in themselves? I'm not talking about the kids book "I think I can, I think I can" sort of belief, I'm talking about that deep seated drive or what I viewed as blind or even reckless faith. Like really truly believe they will succeed despite the possibility that they wont? What keeps someone like that from seeing "reality"? More importantly, why isn't that person afraid of failure when that seems like the most likely outcome from purely logical point of view? I mean, don't most new businesses fail?
Here is how I've started connecting the dots and why I now believe dreams are not just useful, but a necessity for real success. It's all about the why. Why risk, why continue despite the odds, why not give up and try something else! I've been so goal driven, that I've forgotten, no, not forgotten, never even had in the first place! The why, the bigger picture, the why behind it all, or, what I would now call "the dream". Like, at the end of the day, for whatever you are pursuing, why even bother?
The bigger and better dream, the more motivation and excitement around achieving your goals. I've always known that motivation was important, always trying to "find" or "create" motivation. And that is SO backwards! If you dream big enough, motivation is a side effect! Why do we fail? Is it because we truly did our best and outside circumstances prevented success? Not with me, at least not the majority of the time. I believe it's because we don't finish, we don't follow through, and I'm now seeing it's because my dream wasn't big enough, wasn't established enough, or simply never even existed. I'd set a goal to do something and never define WHY it mattered.
Big Dreams = Excitement = Motivation = Success
Now I sound like a cheesy motivational speaker, but think about this. Start a new job and you get some level of excitement, for me usually really high because I find great jobs, but it fades. Start a new relationship and it's very exciting, but it too fades. If there isn't something bigger behind it all, that sort of excitement fades and that is one of the reasons I believe people in my generation tend to change jobs after a year or two. They are looking for that excitement again, that motivation to jump out of bed in the morning. We've all experienced it, and man it's awesome! But I know we've all seen what it looks like to lose it, trying to force it to happen, trying to change things in our lives to fall into it again.
As it's thanksgiving today, I'll say that I am SO lucky to have a wife who I can dream with, who sustains that excites me, and who I'm not dreaming much much bigger with now. It's excited, so exciting that I was awake before my alarm today. I'll get into how we've been dreaming together in another post at some point, also ties to being positive, yet another motivational speakers tool that I always quietly laughed at. Man has my point of view changed.
So isn't dreaming big easy? Nope. Go ahead and dream now for 10 seconds, try and think of what you'd really like. Yea, I'm sure you're probably satisfied with that you have, I'm not talking about what you'd be satisfied, I'm talking about something exciting. Is it more time with family? what, 1 extra vacation day? 1 extra week of vacation? How about a month? How about 3 months? The bigger the dream, the harder it is to come up with, and here's the REALLY hard part. Believing it's possible for YOU. You see a huge amazing home and think "wow, thats amazing, I could never buy that" Why not? Maybe you have a dream car and could even go buy it but it would be totally irresponsible from a financial standpoint so you don't. What if you could buy it in cash?!? Crazy right? People do it. Are they somehow special? Smarter? More talented? My guess is probably not, but I bet they are dreamers, I bet they believed they could, which gave them the motivation to make it really happen despite the struggles and obstacles they ran into. The bigger the dream, the harder it is to actually believe, so no, dreaming is NOT easy. Not real dreaming. Picturing you having a mansion but not believe it's actually possible isn't dreaming, it's fantasizing, and fantasizing doesn't motivate, it demotivates. It takes the dream and the conviction that it will be your reality. And man, once you start to even experience a part of that, it's exciting!
I'm really rambling now, but hopefully you're getting the idea. Goals are a fantastic next step after dreaming, but starting with the what or the how before the why is going to be a constant uphill battle.
So, now that we've covered #2, lets discuss #1 for a second. Dreaming is Cheesy. Well. Yea, it certainly comes across that way when you talk about it. It feels cheesy when you see someone with dreams as an adult. When you see a kid who dreams of being a scientist or a race car driver and has so much excitement about it, it feels natural. As adults I think we've lost that ability ourselves and when we see others doing it, our natural reaction is to find ways to dismiss it so that we don't somehow feel less. Rather than being a sceptic next time you see someone with a dream, stop and remember that it IS possible. Sure, it's unlikely, it will be hard, but it IS possible. Man I sound so cheesy! lol
I think this is the conclusion I've come to. I'd rather be cheesy and achieving my dreams, waking up excited to go to work, than be "realistic" and stuck in a rut.
So. Here is to dreaming. As cheesy as it is, and hard as it actually is, believe in your dreams and that you can and will achieve them, and that is the beginning. Define your why and everything else will become easier. And do whatever you can to keep your dream alive, on your mind, and your belief strong that you will achieve them. Like the quote that started this post, you have to believe you are good enough, you have to believe you can achieve your dream, or I guarantee you will fall short.