When speaking about dreaming, I am not using the standard definition of what you see while you are sleeping. A dream is something that you want so bad that you are willing to put forth the effort to achieve it.
I once had someone comment that dreams are not healthy, because he was 45 and dreamed of being a pro football running back, but that was not likely to happen. I countered that he was not dreaming of being a running back, but fantasizing about being one. The difference being that he was not willing to put forth the extreme amount of effort it would take to become a pro football running back at his age. Many running backs aren’t willing to put forth that much effort and they are there.
Because of his circumstances (his age), he would need to work harder than any running back currently in the NFL to condition his body. It is not an impossibility, just not probable that he had what it took to make his dream come true. Hence, he fantasizes about being a running back, because the effort is not going to happen.
Why Dream At All?
Life gets in the way of everyone’s plans. We make plans, set goals and then life says, “Wait a minute, buddy! Your car needs a transmission – NOW!” These things are not planned, they take us off our game for a long enough while to slow down our pursuit. The problem with life getting in the way is that people will take that to mean that their plans or goals were not meant to be. They usually give up, and then fall back into their comfort zone.
A dream, however, is more than just a goal or a plan. In fact, a dream is much bigger. A dream is what you use to set your goals. Your dream should be big enough that you have to set tough goals to get to the next step. Making $1000 a day is not a dream. That could be a goal, but not the dream in itself.
Having a beautiful 2 story house with 4 bedrooms, 3 baths and a 4 car garage is closer to being a dream. In fact, if it is something you are truly interested in working for, then it is a dream worth dreaming. Fantasizing about a house is much easier, since the work is not necessary.
Once you have the dream firmly planted in your head and your heart, it is time to work out the plan to help you get your dream. You first go and see houses similar to the one you are dreaming about owning. Find out the prices, what it costs to maintain, how much the taxes are where you are planning on living. This helps you cement the details of your dream and make decisions about each individual detail, so that the house of your dreams is really going to solidify for you.
Now that you have the dream, it is time to use that dream as the blueprint for your goals. You will set goals for your income, then set goals for how to achieve that income. Next you might set a goal for finding the perfect community for that house. These are goals that you know will be a stretch for you, yet with enough applied activity (some call this work) you will be able to achieve them.
Without the dream, the motivation to work through the struggles will not accompany the goals. When that transmission falls out on the freeway, you might be tempted to cancel all your appointments for the rest of the week. Having a dream that instills a sense of urgency in you will cause you to reschedule the one that is directly impacted by the transmission problem, then find a way to make the rest of them by getting a ride, taking a taxi, renting a car or changing the location of your appointment. The dream motivates you to keep moving toward your goals, so that you can keep moving toward your dream.
Obviously, we are simplifying everything, because nothing happens in a vacuum. When you start to dream , you have to realize that once you get close to achieving the dream, it is time to dream bigger. Once you have broken ground on your dream house, you should then start looking at something bigger.
I am using material dreams for illustrative purposes only. By no means is a dream supposed to be anything material. In fact, having a altruistic dream is also very motivational. Maybe your dream is to stop world hunger. Your overall vision can be global, but you are going to want to segment your dream to first impact one subset of the overall vision. So eliminating hunger in Citrus County, Florida is probably your first dream. Work toward that dream and as you get close to achieving that vision, zoom out and add the rest of Florida to your dream, so that you don’t stop once your dream has been attained.
Having a larger overall dream is great, because you have the ability to plan your local campaigns with the idea that they can be expanded into more global campaigns once you are ready to take the next step.
In the house example, you might start thinking about vacationing in various exotic locations throughout the year. You might start reading up on those locations, find out when the best times of the year to visit would be, how much it normally costs, what you would need to bring along and any other details that accompany these travel plans. These are going to be your details to start planning new goals once your first dream has been achieved.
Don’t Ever Stop Dreaming
The problem with achieving dreams is the fact that many stop dreaming after reaching the first one. I had a friend who had a dream to marry a beautiful woman. He was driven to find this beautiful girl and when he found her and married her, that was it. He figured he would be happy, since his dream was achieved.
Unfortunately, he became complacent, and did not work on his marriage. He eventually began drinking and his beautiful wife left him. He was devastated and went further into alcohol and drugs. I really do not know what happened to him, because he dropped off the radar, and I moved away. I hope he found another dream.
While that is an extreme case, your dreams are what prevent you from falling into decline. As you continue to work to build a business, a career or a retirement, you need something to motivate you past all of the roadblocks. If all you see are the obstacles, that means your dream is too small. Your dream should rise above the transmission problems, broken legs and sick loved ones. I am not saying that you should ignore those obstacles, but you should handle them with the thought that you are still working toward your goals in spite of the obstacles.
Keep on dreaming!
Micheal Savoie writes for Resolve To Succeed as well as many other blogs. Leave a comment if you have an opinion one way or the other.