Wake to Your Dreams
Posted March 8, 2021 by ‐ 5 min read
How to engage with your life by waking up
Opportunities. Dreams. Optimism. Shaping the future. These are the brilliant hues of our imaginations. If you can see it, you can make it. Possibilities. This article is a call to wake-up. It’s a reminder to myself and others that we can dream dreams then work to make them a reality.
I believe the motivational speaker industry revolves around the central idea of being awake. They start with questions like, “Who do you want to be?” and “What do you want out of life?” These questions presuppose that in order to wake up we must start with questions which breathe life into our imaginations.
I do not apologize for the somewhat cheesy title. This is exactly the kind of cheese we need and it’s lactose-free. It’s time to embrace our better selves. The selves that write amazing fiction, create beautiful art, fix social issues, help a friend, solve environmental issues, and create dazzling technology. It’s big and it’s small. This is the rarified air of innovation.
Fatalism, depression, learned helplessness, and monotony are the inner monologs of those of us asleep. These regurgitated stories suffocate our dreams into a slow crippling death. Monotony is the silent killer in this list. The tedium of daily life adds up day after day like compounding interest until we’ve forgotten that it was okay to even have dreams at all. Or perhaps it was some former unrequited dream, a dream which never came to be. Maybe it’s the malaise of world news, politics, conflict, social injustice, or environment destruction which has led us to into a restless slumber. Are you asleep?
It’s worth taking a play from the motivational speaker’s handbook: start with questions. But before I get to the questions, I need to address some roadblocks first, if you’ve been asleep, you may have fallen victim to apathy. apathy — lack of interest, enthusiasm, or concern.
We must address our apathy before inspiration may have its way with us. If we are to wake-up our imaginations then we must care about something, we must engage with our cherished values. Some believe that detachment is the key to a happy life. The thinking is that if we detach then we will be free from suffering caused by desire. To me this kind of thinking sounds like a tree in winter, frozen in time. There will be time to not care about anything and that time is when you’re dead. Caring is the language of the living. The living move, grow, and learn. They are the trees of spring.
Discouragement — a loss of confidence or enthusiasm; dispiritedness.
We must also address the issue of discouragement. Perhaps, you’ve failed or things haven’t exactly worked out for you. The interesting thing about those who study big data is that they study a specific past. Remember: the past is gone. A reality to never exist again. Some people believe that understanding the past is the best way to understand the future. But here’s the catch: when something doesn’t work it has no control over the future you. You can learn new things, new approaches, and learn from your mistakes. A past failure has no control over future successes. Yes, learn from the past, it is a great teacher but remember that it only suggests what didn’t work in a very specific situation, it may yet work, you may yet work. Hope again.
I suggest asking these questions at three distinct levels: (1) personally (2) locally (3) globally. Think small then think big. Repeat.
Inspiration — the process of being mentally stimulated to do or feel something, especially to do something creative.
Questions to wake up your imagination:
- What do I value? What do I care about? Who do I care about?
- Who do I want to be? What do I want out of life? What do I want to leave behind?
- What do I want the future to be? How do I want to shape the future?
- What are my plans to make my dreams a reality?
Those who fail to plan, plan to fail.
How do we go from here to there? That’s what a map is for. We need a roadmap for our dreams. This is where planning comes in. We need to break down the big dreams into little steps, turns, and actions. There are many methods one could use. I find making a list to be a great place to start.
- Write out your dream or goal.
- Write out the big milestones.
- Write out all the steps you can think of.
- What could work? What could pose a problem? Become a solutions architect. Find clever ways to solve problems.
It’s not enough to dream dreams. We must act. We must do. We must get up when we fall. We must get better, faster, and stronger. We must toil, we must… work. It’s not enough to have plans. We must act on them.
So, two final questions:
- Am I ready to do the hard work, to trust the process?
- Will I get up again?
Often we find ourselves comparing two choices. Go this way or go that way. Usually we end up with a false dichotomy. It’s false because it assumes there are only two options: left or right. Yet, nothing could be further from the truth. There are yet many unexplored options and possibilities. It takes seeking the third option mixed with a little courage. It’s time to use the squish between our ears and dream again.
Engage with your life for it is the living who move.