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6 Productivity Myths, 6 Dream Blockers, And How To Pick Your Big Dream

I love creating content about goal setting and clarity for our big dreams. But even with a lot of tips and tricks, people still get stuck. I find when we have trouble brainstorming an idea to focus on, then there is something getting in the way.

When something is getting in the way from letting us dream big, it’s often the case that we need to reset our personal operating system.

You know how we reset our devices by adding updates and upgrading the current operating software? Well, our minds need updates too. But we often fail to see it this way.

Also, if you’ve ever been prompted by your device to update now, or remind me tomorrow, if you’re anything like me, you almost always hit, “update later.”

This is not the end of the world, but with our own minds and goals, it’s important not to put it off.

Upgrading Our Mental Operating System

In an early episode of Just Keep Learning, Ben Yeh shared this concept beautifully.

And I’ve seen many other content creators, thought leaders and coaches say similar things about the need to upgrade our personal operating systems.

Picture it like this. Our mind is like the operating system of our personal goal-setting computer, right? And just like a trusty laptop, it’s gotta get with the times and get spruced up to run smoother, adapt, and get the latest and greatest features.

But, a bit different than a computer, as humans, we kind of need to know what the old operating system is, and why it’s not working first.

In order to add new software so to speak, we need to remove the old one, put another way, we need to drop off our old baggage, before we can pick up the new stuff.

Such old operating systems, or baggage show up in two forms.

We may have dream blockers holding us back. We may believe in some myths about productivity. Or both.

Make Sure You Don’t Have Any Dreamblockers

We block ourselves from big dreams for a variety of reasons. While this list could be extremely long, here are six of the reasons I see a lot and one way to overcome each.

  1. Thinking.
    Our imagination is running so wild that we can’t calm down to take patient, consistent action.
    Learning some calming techniques, perspective and slowing down will lead to patience.
  2. Mentors.
    Well-meaning family, teachers, coaches, friends, or people we don’t know tell us it’s unrealistic.
    By leaning into people who support us unconditionally we can start to believe in ourselves.
  3. Dreams.
    Not understanding the definition and checklist that makes up a big dream.
    Checking off the elements that must exist to count as a big dream leads to clarity.
  4. Comfort.
    Settling because we like the safety and comfort we have.
    Practicing new things quicker than we’re ready for will create optimal stress levels.
  5. Doubt.
    Lacking the required confidence to believe and take action toward progress.
    Not putting others on a pedestal, because we all start somewhere equals freedom to be vulnerable.
  6. Mix.
    Struggling so much with a combination of these that we’ve lost our imagination altogether.
    Appreciating our potential increases with age allows us to take a step back and brainstorm.

Understand The Myths Of Productivity

There is nothing to celebrate about being busy. Being busy is easy. But being efficient and directing our energy at the right things is a challenge. The book The One Thing offers six productivity myths that similar to the dreamblockers, can hold us back.

  1. Everything matters equally.
    Actually, the Pareto Principle reminds us that 20% of our efforts generate 80% of our results.
  2. Multitasking gets more done.
    In reality, multitasking leads to greater stress, divided attention and confusion.
  3. We must live a disciplined, motivated life.
    In reality, motivation shouldn’t be a challenge, because we actually just need to turn off the overthinking brain by creating powerful systems, habits and growing with consistency each day.
  4. Willpower is summoned when needed.
    Truthfully, willpower gets depleted with each use, we must use it sparingly and rely on our values, systems and schedules to put in the work.
  5. We should live a balanced life.
    Actually, a balanced life means compromising in every area. But success comes from full focus and dedication within the habits. So, instead, we need to apply counterbalance, allowing ourselves to go out of balance, while still addressing our key areas.
  6. Take Baby Steps Because Big Is Bad.
    In reality, big thinking and huge leaps tend to drive more valuable actions and results. It’s worthwhile to push our limits and imagine huge outcomes as soon as possible.

Why Pick Just One Priority?

A lot of people, teens especially feel pressure to decide what they want to do for “work”.

The stress that this puts on people really pisses me off.

But it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t pick something. We definitely should.

What it does mean, is that we don’t need to worry about how long that remains our one thing.

We can always plant new seeds. We can always adapt, pivot and change.

None of us know how life will play out. We shouldn’t even stress about whether or not our goals will come true.

Don’t Worry About How

I love what Marcia Wieder said in an early episode of the JKL Podcast, where she said “This is going to be great, but promise me you won’t worry about how, or when, just trust that it will be and keep going.”

Now that’s true, we can’t control any outcome, and in reality, we may end up on plan C, or plan D, E, F, and so on.

But the reality is, we can’t even go to plan B, if we don’t at least have plan A.
The momentum that comes from picking one thing and sticking with it for a while is super valuable.

Remember, you can do anything, but you can’t do everything. So what is the most important thing, at this moment that you do want to do?

This is the fun part. It is so simple, yet so challenging at the same time to pick your one thing.

It’s like going into a magical restaurant with a menu that is hundreds of pages long and includes every meal in the world, yet you have to pick just one. We could become paralyzed by thought.

Now I’ve recently shared some strategies for brainstorming and selecting your one thing, but in case you’re still stuck, here are some extra ways you can figure it out.

BONUS: A Few More Ways To Come Up With Your One Thing

If you struggled with picking one thing, here are three additional questions to help you take a different approach to fine-tuning the decision that you want to try.

  1. Brainstorm all of your past ambitions that you did not pursue. Circle one or two that you would still consider in the future and ask why you have not done it yet?
  2. Another great strategy is to do the opposite. List all of the things, that given your dream life exists, what things would NOT BE part of your life? Our time is precious and even though it may seem like a waste to put energy into thinking about things you don’t want, sometimes this way of flipping the question around, asking what we do not want, helps us narrow down the things we do want.
  3. As you debate and sort your passions with the goal of narrowing them down to one thing, take part in a reflective activity such as walking, sitting in a hot tub, or sauna, taking a shower, riding a bike, going for a run, a drive, yoga, or simply sitting and ask yourself the following questions:

    What do you care most about?
    What would you give up if you were able to achieve your dreams?
    Why do you think you are hesitant toward chasing audacious goals?
    What worthwhile, lasting ambitions would serve your purpose, values and bring you great joy if you could do more of them?
    If you were to succeed in one big thing, such that by succeeding in it nothing else would matter in terms of work, or success, what would that accomplishment be?
    What do people you trust say when you ask them about what they think you would enjoy doing in life?
    What things do you think you would be willing to work on for the next twenty-five years?
    If you could go back in time, change things, or simply start earlier, what things would you do?

Alright, there ya go.

We know we need to hack into our minds and upgrade our operating system, or drop off our baggage every so often. You’ll feel free if you let go of the outdated stuff and come up with new ideas.

Make sure there are no dream blockers, or productivity myths getting in the way. Every so often, do a check-in with yourself to figure out your current one thing.

As we install this brain clarity update, we’ll boost our mind’s horsepower, which keeps us fired up for the game of life. So if you haven’t already, stop putting it off until later, just hit that “update now” button.

Thanks for reading. Your pal,
Justin @JustTries 


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GoalSetting, Productivity

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