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Think In These 4 Levels To Make Big Dreams Simple And Less Stressful

Will Smith said it better than I can.

“Being realistic is the most commonly traveled road to mediocrity why would you be realistic what’s the point of being realistic? I’m going to do it, it’s done. The second I decide it’s done, it’s already done. Now we just gotta wait for y’all to see.” – Will Smith

And I completely agree, we should dream as wild and crazy as possible. Want to go win a Grammy, go for it! Nobody would have predicted Ed Sheeran, a shy, stuttering, kid from the UK could take over the world of music, but he did.

We can all accomplish wild things. And being “realistic” so often gets in our way.
But, having coached a lot of people on their goals, I will say that having a few different levels of dreams can be very, very helpful to making progress day in and day out.

We Never Know When, Or How

Dreams will never arrive to us in a neat, tidy package.

It is never exactly how you predicted it. And it is very individualized.

A dream doesn’t have anything to do with money. It could, but doesn’t need to.

A dream also doesn’t have anything to do with education. It could, but doesn’t need to.

A dream DOES need to be yours and truly yours!

And it does need to be consciously decided and acted upon.

And these conscious decisions come in all shapes and sizes.
From the “I can get that done today, or this month, to the wildly unrealistic visions Will was talking about.”

And that’s what we’re talking about today, how do we dream in levels?

Why Should We Dream In Levels?

Once we learn to choose ambitions that pass the dream filter (like we did in the previous episode) we naturally begin to question the size of our dreams. 

Am I thinking too small, or is my idea too grand?

We can remove these types of questions by dreaming in a few different levels, or sizes, while still keeping our eye on the wild prize. 

Smaller ambitions and victories help us for three reasons:

  1. They lead to an increase in confidence and momentum, taking care of the chicken & egg argument to success.
  2. They connect to other larger ambitions, by stimulating the brain through an increase in ideas and networks.
  3. They invigorate us to be resilient with the more challenging goals because we know it’s worth it, we can take a long-term approach, while still accomplishing the smaller stuff along the way.

These are the reasons why we should name a dream of all sizes. Instead of second-guessing about choosing one dream, try listing one within your area of passion for each size in our dream size chart. 

DREAM SIZES

To keep things as simple as possible, yet give us a good range of dreams, we will define them as:

Not Challenging.
Kind of Challenging.
Really Challenging.
Impossible.

When ranking dreams, think of the impact that they will have on your life and the life of those you serve. It’s not like a step ladder where you do the little one, then the next, then the next, and so on in a linear fashion. Rather it is maintaining a vision for impact at all four levels.

It would be easy to get the idea of the first level confused with the act itself being “easy”. 

This is not necessarily the case. For example, starting a fitness routine may be extremely stressful, and anxiety-provoking for someone. In fact, I have changed what I used to call EASY to “Not Challenging” to reflect this. It’s subtle but important.

It’s also important to point out again, like all of this goal-setting stuff, this is unique to the one person crafting their dreams. Each level is relative to the individual.

Definitions Of Each Dream Level

Not Challenging – This less challenging, or easier ambition can be promptly achieved. Unless we have something getting in the way, it’s a pretty straightforward path to do it. Either you did it, or you did not and you’ll know pretty quickly.

Not Challenging Examples: Create content on a topic you love, buy a cat, go skydiving, call a different friend every day, play a sport you’ve always wanted to try, start a health, or fitness routine, wear the same thing everyday, donate 50% of the things you own, take a music lesson.

Kind of Challenging –  This will require a difficult decision, intention, sacrifice and commitment, but there is no real excuse, or reason why it won’t be accomplished. We don’t have to worry about lucky breaks, or serendipity to pursue something kind of challenging. 

Kind of Challenging Examples: Start a podcast, youtube channel, or blog that helps entertain, or educate your subscribers. Become an effective public speaker. Complete a Masters Degree. Buy a home. Start an annual conference or parade. Create a charity that brings transgender youth together in a Facebook group making them feel more welcome and energized.

Really Challenging – Many people will say this is unrealistic. Perhaps these are improbable but certainly possible. You will really need to rely on your “why” when times get tough and you feel like giving up in order to keep going. You can’t achieve this alone and you will also need to rely on your heart and gut to take some leaps of faith. A really challenging ambition is a reflection of the legacy you hope to leave because they will have an impact beyond the act of completing them.

Really Challenging Examples: Build an apartment building for homeless youth, start a podcast that is top ten all time in the beauty category, become a scratch golfer, open a successful coffee shop, or start a charity that builds schools for poor children in India.

Impossible – Statistically speaking, let’s be honest, these dreams simply will not happen, but they are no less valuable. This is where the saying shoot for the moon and you’ll land among the stars comes from.

Impossible Examples: Achieve world peace, or make the world completely eco friendly, become the highest paid actor on the planet, or open the first private school on Mars.

Decide Your Own Four Dream Levels

To clarify this concept, we should use the dream level chart for THE SAME ONE Passion, or Dream.

So for example, let’s say you are creating a Not Challenging, Kind of Challenging, Really Challenging, and Impossible as a musician. Record your first song, get 500,000 streams, win a Grammy, and make more money on tour than Taylor Swift, could be your four dream levels.

It’s in the same, single category. Take your one thing and write down one dream for each level. You can create your own chart, or download one from the Just Keep Learning website that you can fill in dreams of all four levels.

We should always have one dream for each level, so if you accomplish one, just add something else that’s on that level and keep going.

Thanks for reading. Your pal,
Justin @JustTries 

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DreamBig, GoalSetting


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