Last week, I wrote about lessons we can learn from our kids. That post really got me thinking. Is it okay to dream big?
How many of us have succeeded in achieving our childhood dreams?
Now, I’m not talking about the fantastical ones taught to us by fairy tales, or the ones that were unrealistic. I mean the simple ones where we thought we could achieve anything we wanted.
Kids have no perspective and very little life experience, so to them, absolutely anything is possible. Unfortunately, we all have hit a bump in the road that may lead us to think that dreams can’t come true. And we let that derail all of our other dreams in the name of being more practical.
Maybe it’s because we can’t deal with failure, so we choose smaller, achievable dreams. Or maybe there were unseen complications that we didn’t address, making the dream impossible to achieve.
Regardless, it all seems like a bunch of excuses.
So, why don’t we continue to dream big? I think we should. And I think that there are a few reasons why it is important to do so.
One of the most vital aspects of dreaming big is that it forces you to do a thorough self-evaluation. And I mean head-to-toe, inside and out.
Strengths and weaknesses
To achieve any goal, you have to know where your individual strengths and weaknesses are. How you then craft your approach to reaching that goal provides important insight.
Do you pick a lesser goal that fits your strengths, thereby not achieving your ultimate dream? Do you stick with your dream goal and hope that you can work on your weaknesses so that they can be achieved? The path that you choose can speak volumes about your sense of self-worth.
Let’s take a simplistic view of this for a moment. What if your dream is to be an aerial acrobat or tightrope walker in a circus – but you’re afraid of heights? Or you dream about participating in a triathlon but never learned how to swim.
Is either of those problems enough to derail you from your dream? Or do you have the fortitude and courage to overcome them so that you can achieve greatness?
This type of self-evaluation and what you realize from it can be helpful in just about every aspect of your life.
Women who are now in their 50s probably have clear memories of Princess Diana’s wedding. It was truly a real-life fairy tale…or so we thought (but that’s another story). Many women dreamed of meeting a prince and living in a castle just like Diana.
What are the chances of that actually happening? Fairly slim, right? However, we can reframe those dreams.
Can a prince simply be a good person who cares for you and who looks at you as a partner in life as you build a family? Can your house/condo/apartment become your castle?
The answer to both of those questions is a resounding “YES!”
Kid dreams are often unrealistic and that’s okay. But we don’t have to completely throw them away because they are impossible. A simple adjustment in perspective can still allow you to achieve big dreams.
Dreams don’t come true on their own. You can read bio after bio of successful business people who recount the amount of hard work and effort they put in to reach their goals.
So, make those smaller steps part of the bigger dream. Here’s another simple example. Say you want to own a house. Unless you have a generous family member who leaves you one in a will, chances are you’re going to have to work for it.
By taking the time to look at the goals you need to achieve, you can set up mini-dreams that are attainable: finding a well-paying job, saving money, researching where you want to live, deciding what features you want in your house…all of those are steps to the bigger dream. Yes, they take varying degrees of effort, but they’re all still part of the bigger picture.
As you succeed in each of them, you get one step closer to your ultimate dream of home-ownership.
I don’t think that any of this means that we should throw away practicality and chase our wildest dreams. But I think it’s obvious that there are still ways to dream big AND achieve those dreams.
Be realistic in your expectations, look for adaptations that are achievable, and take an honest look at yourself – then apply everything you have learned. You might be surprised at how easy it can be to fulfill even your biggest dreams.
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