When I was small, I would often imagine myself doing and achieving amazing things.
Things that most people would laugh at today.
Acting in adventure films on the big screen.
Going into space as an eccentric billionaire.
Being an animator for big Disney movies.
Being a major science-fiction writer.
Owning and living in an enormous mansion by the sea.
And the funny thing was, I don’t remember ever thinking that any of these dreams were unreasonable. I believed very sincerely that these things were possible, and that they would happen.
It was only a matter of time.
As soon as I entered British boarding school at thirteen, a light turned off.
I was an outsider. I was deeply homesick. I was at the receiving end of a lot of school-boy criticism. My life’s strategy moved from offence to defence.
All those silly dreams were folded away into the dark filing cabinets in the corners of my mind.
Twenty years passed, and I was nudged and knocked by the other prods and pains of life.
Those earlier dreams were now thoroughly leached out; replaced with more ‘important’ considerations, like not falling beneath the financial red-line; trying to impress people I didn’t like; trying not to get hopelessly anxious; fixing my insecurities; fitting in.
Life was complicated enough to get right, let alone achieve crazy dreams like writing best-selling books and being rich.
Being rich. Going into space. Having a mansion. How absurd!
And it’s like this for many of us. This thinking that the only reasonable, realistic and bearable path for us is to follow a trajectory that wavers around the median. The average. Just trying to be like everyone else.
Years of little failures, mistakes and losses made us lose faith in the image we once had of ourselves as majestic beings.
But think of this:
What if the fact that we don’t dream any more is the very reason we view the world as the kind of place that is not suited to dreaming?
Do you get that?
Dreaming, aiming high, visualising huge goals, having big expectations of ourselves seem so preposterous now that we don’t even consider it.
And because we don’t frequently elevate our thinking to a higher realm, we’re not awakened by an inner drive to do something. There is no meaning. No emotional reason to act. To do more, with higher energy and urgency, to be consistent when you don’t feel like it, and to take more risks.
Why bother when it’s for nothing?
When it’s for something, suddenly the process is imbued with life and colour again.
Doing more, with more enthusiasm, with persistence, with more courage — this is where the rewards come.
Without this higher drive, you see fewer rewards, and you will be demotivated.
“Hold fast to dreams, for if dreams die, life is a broken-winged bird that cannot fly.” — Langston Hughes
What if it was ok not to be satisfied?
What if it was ok to want more?
Think again about what it would be like to stand in front of a crowd delivering an electrifying speech.
Or reaching the summit of that mountain, exhausted and giddy, on an idle Tuesday.
Or creating and successfully funding that feature-length film.
That unbelievable partner who believes in you.
Landing that outrageous deal and then celebrating on the beach.
Having that ridiculous mansion with fifty acres.
Making millions a year.
Starting that foundation to help tens of thousands.
What if aiming high wasn’t unreasonable, but necessary?
What if it was the only way?
What if putting obsessive attention on creating a magical life was not just for those with their heads in the clouds, but is the very solution to your lethargy, your doubts, and your struggles?
Maybe it’s not your ‘inadequacies’ that need fixing, but your small targets that need expanding.
Could it be that you struggle to get excited each day because your future looks bland?
Ever since I permitted myself to dream big, I’ve found a renewed excitement to create and be active. Productivity has increased again because I know what’s coming.
Dreaming also has a powerful effect on our insecurities. When we have something big and juicy to aim for, our worries seem less significant. They get smothered by where we’re looking. Our focus is on success, not fixing what is wrong with us.
This idea alone has been monumental for me.
We see ourselves differently, and that is crucial.
When we aim for success in all areas of our lives, we are already a success. It’s your new self-image.
Now I write my goals and dreams down every day. It’s fun, but it must be maintained.
Though I have moments where I’m off, or unmotivated, like anyone else, in general, I do things with greater enthusiasm and more of a sense of urgency.
I know that putting in more energy is worth it, and so I do more.
Get back into action. Be here right now by clarifying your incredible future.
“All men dream, but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds, wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act on their dreams with open eyes, to make them possible.” — T.E. Lawrence