Don’t stop dreaming; start planning

What do you want to be when you grow up? has to be the all-time most popular question adults asks kids, right behind Why can’t you be more like your sister?  This question is cloaked in the foundational significance of our ability to dream, to visualize a better reality for oneself.

Most of our early life is spent in this pursuit of what could be, however, for some of us, somewhere along the way, the question of what can be changes to what is.  Life happens, marriages and kids happen, jobs happen, mortgages happen, and before we know it, our time is not our own.  Our time, like our paycheck, is already accounted for before the day begins.  As hope fades, our dreams cease to exist, and we often exclaim that it just wasn’t meant to be.  We stop dreaming because it seems meaningless to waste time thinking up a life that will never exist.

The problem, though, lies not in the dreaming, but what happens next.  I’ve heard it said that a dream without a plan is simply a wish.  Most of us spend our time wishing for more out of life, but some actually make it happen, and the difference lies in the planning and execution.

So, to get more out of your life, here are three steps to get you moving in the right direction:

  1. Start dreaming again.  Take some time to think through what it is you want to do with your life, what type of person you want to be, and what you want to achieve.  Take a couple of hours on your next day off, go somewhere will you will be alone and undistracted, and write down anything and everything that comes to mind.
  2. Develop an action plan.  You don’t have to have all the steps to achieve your dreams, but you do need to know the next steps.
  3. Adjust, but don’t quit.  Without a doubt, there will be times when things won’t go to plan.  Distractions will come, people will let you down, problems will persist.  In those moments, adjust the plan, but don’t let go of your dreams, for this will end up as one of your greatest regrets in life.

In failing to act out our dreams, we lose that which makes us unique from everyone else.  So start dreaming again, but make sure that in the end your dreams aren’t just wishes that never come true.

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