We’ve all fantasized about being a star in some area of life and doing great things. Whether it is scoring a touchdown and winning the game, becoming Miss America or becoming President of the United States, every one of us has had dreams of greatness when we were young.
Unfortunately, most of us don’t act on our dreams. Our dreams are relegated to fond memories and the goals we begin to move towards have nothing to do with our own desires and aspirations.
The problem is we get caught up in the demands of daily life. Our dreams can seem childishly impractical so we set them aside for adult responsibilities. They can also be unsupported and unappreciated by significant people in our lives, causing us to lose confidence in both ourselves and our dreams.
However, the biggest reason we lose our dreams is that we don’t believe big enough and we don’t aim high enough. Big dreams require a belief that matches. You have to believe in yourself and in the value of the dream. Then you have to aim high. If you do this your dreams will remain in the realm of the possible.
It is a sad fact that most of us set the bar way too low. Believing our dreams to be impossible, we don’t set them as serious goals. Consequently, they remain unattainable and we shuffle through life feeling like we should be soaring but we never got our wings.
Yet dreamers are the heartbeat of human vision and accomplishment. Without dreamers who believed in previously undreamed of possibilities, things we now take for granted wouldn’t exist. The world would be an entirely different place; less magical, less amazing.
In nature, there are many examples of things that by human reasoning should be impossible. According to scientists, bumblebees should not be able to fly. Yet these tiny aerodynamic miracles go against everything we know, and fly anyway!
People who stifle their dreams and become ‘realistic’ are not the only ones who don’t live their dreams. Some people do believe in dreams that are huge, often extraordinary. Unfortunately they do absolutely nothing to make them come true. Those dreams remain unattained and the source of discouragement and disappointment.
If you doubt yourself, you will limit yourself. If you harbor beliefs that hold you back, you will limit your success. On the other hand, if your goals are too high and you don’t know how to reduce them to achievable steps, you will find yourself dreaming the impossible dream.
A good exercise to help you to evaluate how achievable you really believe your goals are is to do the following. Create three headings on a piece of paper: Things I Believe I Can Definitely Achieve’, ‘Things I Believe I Can Possibly Achieve’, ‘Things I Believe are Impossible to Achieve’. Next, under each heading write a list of your dreams and goals that seem to fit best.
The way to build momentum in achieving your goals is to first tackle those you know you can do. Mark them off as you achieve them. When they are all completed, begin on the list of goals that are possible but not definite.
Once you have achieved all the possible goals you can, it is time to rethink the goals you defined as impossible. Now that you have successfully achieved a number of goals, do you still believe that you cannot achieve the rest? If you find yourself thinking that perhaps some of these dreams are not impossible after all, then move them into to your ‘Possible’ list.
This exercise is an excellent technique to help you expand your ideas about what is and isn’t possible. The more successful you become at accomplishing your goals, the more confident you will become that you can do most things you set your mind to.
To achieve your dreams, you need to firstly believe they are possible then set big goals that can be broken down into smaller achievable steps. That being said, you do need to be somewhat realistic. If you are a middle aged farmer in Nebraska, for example, the chances of becoming an astronaut are slim but you could become a pilot.
A dream needs action to bring it into reality. If you dream of being a famous singer and never learn to sing, you will not only never live your dream, you will have set yourself up to be disappointed about your life and its genuine possibilities.
It is important to remember that most of the achievements of the twentieth century would have been considered impossible in the nineteenth century. Space travel, satellite communications, computers and internet communications would have all been ridiculed as impossible dreams. Yet, because dreamers believed they were possible and backed their vision with action, they are all modern realities.
Thomas Edison has been quoted as saying that genius is ninety-nine percent perspiration and only one percent inspiration. However, that one percent has to come first and it has to be a “reach for the stars” type of vision not an easily achieved goal.
The greatest gains of individuals and therefore society as a whole, occur when we dream big and are stretched beyond our comfort zones. When we move beyond our own sense of safety, we can feel stressed and disoriented. We will experience self doubts and road blocks along our way to success. This is normal when faced with big dreams and we must be willing to persist through the pain until the dream becomes real.
So don’t give up on your dreams! Don’t get trapped in self doubt and limited thinking. Dream big, believe big and be willing to do what it takes to make your dreams a reality. As you chalk up small successes along the way to your big goals, you will build momentum towards making your dreams real. Your confidence will increase and you will begin to believe that things you may have considered impossible, are just maybe possible after all.