JKLTip Learning to dream is turning the analysis off and letting your brain wander
Do you believe me when I say learning to dream is the most important skill we can learn?
When I use “dream” in this sense, I don’t necessarily mean the REM, rapid eye movement science. What I mean when I say “dream big”, is envisioning all of the possibilities for your life.
Is it too simple to say “don’t think, just dream?”
By nature we are dreamers. While it’s true that simply allowing our mind to wander is the best way, there are some strategies for learning to dream big.
Dreams Are A Preview
Dreams reveal the things you would love to do, deep down, beneath all of the things getting in the way. When we have thoughts pop in our head, they often begin with things like “Imagine if” or “I wonder what it would be like”.
These are often associated with an idea for a business, passion, or hobby, and often prompted by seeing someone else do something. Dreams strike at any moment.
Maybe you’re at a concert and think you would love to do set design, or heck, be a lead singer. You may be in the shower thinking how dancing with the stars would be cool or driving in your car when you envision starting a custom watch brand.
These don’t have to be fantasies. Like a trailer to a movie, they can be previews to your coming attractions.
Tips For Learning To Dream Big
The biggest mistake when learning to dream is worrying about strengths, weaknesses, or interests. It’s not about that. That comes later. The incredible thing about dreaming is you don’t have to try. Once you practice letting your mind wander, you just have to be open to the thoughts.
There are ways to prime our mind for dreaming. We can remove our fears. Find ways to recognize what’s getting in the way. We may fear our parents, teachers, coaches who don’t believe in us. We may be worried about what friends will think. At times, before we even try, we start to ask if the competition is strong. Stop worrying about others, just focus on you.
It also helps to look at other incredible stories of dreams coming true. In terms of tangible steps, try the opposite of meditation. Create some dreaming time. Simply sit and think about life. Allow dreams to enter and if you need prompts, try some questions like:
- What are the values I need in my life?
- What is the biggest problem in the world?
- If I set one crazy life goal, what would it be?
- What am I most inspired by?
- Who am I most inspired by?
- What would be the coolest job in the world?
- What would I buy right now if I could?
- Who do I want to help the most?
- What are the 5 most important things to me?
Why Is It So Difficult?
Everything we want and desire is for one simple reason. We think it will make us feel better for having it. So many people suffer because they don’t realize that these so called finish lines will always move.
The key is to learn to feel better first. Yet, there is a certain resistance that we all face when trying to dream big. It exists when we fill our minds with unnecessary thoughts tied to our past, or future. And it continually gets in the way of balancing gratitude with goal setting.
The key to overcoming this is realizing that we don’t actually want all we can ever dream of right now. In fact we can’t ever have it all now. Because the act of healthy dreaming is always a big goal in our future. It will never be with us now. What we want is progress. We want meaning, and momentum toward our future self, our future accomplishments.
So What’s The Solution?
You know the saying, stop and smell the roses? Like any cliche, if you actually do this you will be able to be present. But, it’s one of those things that is very simple to explain, and can be difficult to execute.
Focus on the joy and wonder all around you. Focus on the exciting opportunities in the moment that you can experience. The planets, the clouds, the stars, the laughter of children, the company of those in your presence, even if it’s your pets. Focus your energy on the present sensations and moments.
If you can bring yourself back to the present, then you will have a sense of “I am where I am, and that’s exactly where I need to be, for now”. Reflect on the past to learn. And look toward the future to plan. But, otherwise just appreciate the moment.
Over time, work to evolve your visions and dreams. Ask what do I want? And how am I going to get it? Come up with the plan. And when you have moments dedicated to work, put them into your plan.
But, always be asking one focused question, “What can I do, or think to appreciate this present moment? This will help maintain the contrast between “pursuing success” and “contentment” that brings us true vitality.
Never Too Young, Or Old
When it comes to goal setting, it can be valuable to assume a “child-like mind”. Think of how a kid goes about life. They come up with ideas and try them. Children are some of the best at thinking of something they would love to do and taking action toward getting there.
As we age, we tend to add things like “be realistic” to our dreams. We start crunching numbers of why something may or may not work. As “grown-ups” we have a tendency to get lost in the challenges, rather than focusing on solutions. Even worse, we put this pressure on youth to be “smart” about their goals.
The opposite happens too. People have an idea and think they’re too young. But, there have been plenty of stories of young kids taking up a sport, or starting a business.
The point is that age is only a number, and what matters is how you feel. Remember, a goal that brings satisfaction is nothing more than a dream acted upon. So, step one, go forth to wonder and think.