Dream Big Dreams

by Lejouack

How to Really Achieve Your Childhood Dreams. Never be afraid to see the bigger picture, dream big and go after your goals.

When I was a child, barely 9 years of age, I decided that one day I was going to be an explorer. Just like Christopher Columbus in his voyages across the Atlantic Ocean, I dreamed of finding New Worlds and buried treasures on distant shores.

Many lazy afternoons were spent holed up in my room, thinking of dragons, bandits, knights, and ships…and cannibals crouching around a stewing pot.

As the years wore on, these dreams became delusions. Along the way, I lost track of my goal because it seemed too farfetched, too unattainable, and too whimsical.

Carpe Diem

Sieze the Day

In the last decade or so, there has been an influx of positive psychology movements across the globe. Self-styled gurus began making their first millions selling the dream of happiness to an unhappy world, and I ignored them.

The gurus told people that the way to happiness was to seize the moment…

to relish the moment…

to smile when they glass was half-empty, to cheer because the glass is now half-full… to laugh out loud when no one was looking… and to manifest the power of dreams.

 

I’ve been a dreamer my whole life, and all that “feel good” therapy felt to me just like phony-baloney.

Manifesting Dreams

Is This all Just Phoney-Baloney?

I tried laughing hard, I really did, and I tried so hard in manifesting my dreams (whatever that meant, anyway)… But still, the kick-in-the-butt came one day while hard at work, sitting behind a bank counter; I realized that my heart just wasn’t in it.

I knew what I really wanted all along was what I had always been dreaming about – to be a traveler, an explorer. And explorers weren’t people who were stuck in stinky offices 5 days a week with a chain of bosses to answer to.

I began spiraling into a sort of madness.

For starters, how many actual “explorers” are there left in this day and age – and just how many people are being paid to explore the world? The photographers at National Geographic magazine? Or journalists who travel to far-flung corners of the globe in order to write about how delicious the lion’s head meatballs are in some remote village in China?

Dreaming became dangerous. It resisted the urge of sticking my head too high up in the clouds because I knew I wouldn’t be able to drop back to reality after that.

 

Be an Explorer

Find Your Freedom!

I began thinking hard about why I wanted to be an explorer, and what it was that was drawing me to such dangerous territories. I started figuring out why I was so passionate about my dream, and I started jotting down my thoughts and motivations.

I remember holing up in my room once again, building scrapbook after scrapbooks of places near and far that I wanted to visit.

I remember making up poems about distant lands, and scribbling down my thoughts into my diary before they evaporated away into thin air.

I remember printing posters of beautiful landscapes and plastering them around my room.

I remember collecting a bunch of quotes and pasting these quotes onto my bedroom ceiling.

In between this madness, I began understanding myself.

You see, there wasn’t really a passion to explore the world in the first place. It was the feelings I associated with being an explorer that appealed to me.

At the back of my mind, explorers were embodiments of freedom, passion, strength, and people who found the courage to face the unknown. That was what I really wanted, and I wouldn’t have been able to come to such a conclusion if I hadn’t started defining my motivations.

I finally began setting goals to help me achieve this dream.

The long-term plan was to be happy, but the short-term goals were what ultimately determined if I was able to make great things happen out of my life.

On The Right Track

Will Rogers, the famous actor, comedian, and radio personality once said, “Even if you’re on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there.”

With no intention of getting hit by a train, I started setting personal goals. I created small, little checklists of things I wanted out of my career, family life, education, finances, and physical attributes – aspects in life that mattered to me.

I dug deep into the “why” behind why I wanted to achieve certain goals. I asked myself what my dreams really were. Would the dream I was chasing make me happy?

If the answer was yes, I wrote the goal down. If the answer was no, I crossed it out. And if the answer was “maybe”, I still wrote the goal down – but on another list so that I could refer to it after thinking through the rest of my other goals.

Occasionally, I would refer to my personal mission statement, and would cross out goals that did not appear to be aligned with it. Other times, I crafted new personal mission statements when I decided that the original one wasn’t good enough.

There was a lot of de-cluttering going on in my brain, and it was strangely therapeutic. For once in my life, it felt like I was actually doing something productive towards achieving my dreams.

Be SMART

I also began looking for resources online that would help me set goals, and the SMART mnemonic was something I found immensely useful:

 

  • S – Specific
  • M – Measurable
  • A – Attainable
  • R – Relevant
  • T – Time-bound

 

With the SMART objectives in mind, I began de-cluttering my notebook and re-wrote my goals.

Now, instead of writing down vague goals, I began jotting down specific goals that were SMART.

Setting a specific goal for a personal achievement can be tied in to the bigger goal of making an impact in the world, and that is what makes it so powerful.

With a set of realistic, precise, and measurable goals on hand, I was able to set priorities and focus my attention on the goals that were most important at that point in time.

Throughout the years, I have always gone back to my little checklists and owe every success I have today to them.

Never be afraid to see the bigger picture, dream big and go after your goals.

 

Updated: 09/02/2014, Lejouack
 
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