Got to get to work…

July 25, 2018

OK, so I didn’t win the big ½ billion lotto drawing last night. I guess the quote that I saw in a recent post to the Jack’s Winning Words blog applies to this situation as well as to life in general.

“The six W’s: Work Will Win When Wishing Won’t.”  (Todd Blackledge)

Many people seem to spend their lives wishing for things, instead of working for things. They may wish that their life had turned out differently or perhaps that they had been born into different circumstances. It is easy to allow wishing to degrade into wallowing in self pity.  Wishing and blaming also seem to go hand-in-hand for those type of people.accountability They wish things were better and blame the fact that they aren’t on things that they feel like they can’t control. Yet others who had the same starting point in life take the path of hard work and a dedication to bettering themselves and their situation. They work at a job and go to school. They work at a job and raise a family. They work. And, it works for them.

There is a big difference between just wishing and pursing a dream. Having a dream of aman daydreaming better future provides the foundation for the desire to achieve that dream. As Napoleon Hill once said –

“Desire is the starting point of all achievement, not a hope, not a wish, but a keen pulsating desire which transcends everything.”

What separates the achievers from the dreamers is the will and determination to achieve that dream.

“You’ve got to get up every morning with determination if you’re to go to bed with satisfaction.”  (George Lorimer)

In between those two quotes is a good place to put today’s thought – “Work will win when wishing won’t.”goal

Well, I’ve got to go now. Got to get to work. I’m still working towards my dream. How about you?

Sometimes achieving your dream turns out to be disappointing…

April 25, 2017

From a recent post on the Jack’s Winning Words blog comes today’s thought –

“It hurts to find out that what you wanted doesn’t match what you dreamed it would be.”  (Randy Milholland)

That quote sort of goes along with the old saying, “Be careful what you wish for, you just might get it.” The origins of that saying are somewhat obscure but may have come from a Spanish proverb.

We often romanticize things in our dreams, seeing only the beauty that we hope is thereman daydreaming and none of the warts that may go along with it. That is often the case when we dream about things, owning things or doing things. Somehow we have this belief that we would be happy, if only we owned that thing that we don’t now have. It could be a car, a house, a boat, whatever; we’re just sure that it and owning it is the key to our happiness. Then we finally get it and guess what; it’s just a thing. Owning it may make us feel happy for a few moments, but then something else out in the distance that we don’t own catches our attention and acquiring that new thing becomes our obsession.

The same issues arise when dreaming about people, or maybe about Mr. or MS. Right. Our fantasies are encouraged and fed by the world of advertising and the entertainment industry, both of which tend to show us only images of beautiful people with apparently perfect lives. Of course the drug store tabloids have headlines that scream out that all is not as it seems in those perfect lives and Hollywood divorces certainly seem to outnumber the success stories of married famous couples. So, it would seem that being married to Brad Pitt or Angelina Jolie isn’t all that we might have imagined it would be.

mother with childHow do we avoid the disappointment of reality not matching our dreams? One could just say stop dreaming; but that is not realistic either.  Perhaps rather than stopping dreaming about some ideal person we’d like to or about things that we wish to possess, we could start appreciating what we already have in life and the people that we already know. Maybe the next step it to see a path to achieving our dream that is comprised of small steps in the general direction of that dream, maybe we could buy a newer car, with some of the features that we’ve been dreaming about; rather than buying that ultimate dream car. Maybe going out with Mr. OK is a step in the direction of finding Mr. Wonderful, and at least you have someone real to talk to and not just another lonely night with a dream. Life is full of compromises and you might even find that Mr. or Ms. OK turn out to be better than you had thought. You might even find love. Dr. Seuss even had an interesting observation about that – “You know you’re in love when you can’t fall asleep because reality is finally better than your dreams.”

So, go ahead and dream; but, dream with your eyes open to the reality of life. Making the most of your life by appreciating those people and things that surround you on a daily basis is much better than moping about those things and people in your dreams that you don’t have. If you find that your commitment to achieving your dreams is strong enoughgoal and persistent enough to pursue as a goal in life, then start turning your dreams into plans and start working away at them. Your dream has now turned into your vision of where you want to go in life and what you want to achieve and you are now on a journey to turn those dreams into your reality.  Mark Victor Hansen put it this way – “You control your future, your destiny. What you think about comes about. By recording your dreams and goals on paper, you set in motion the process of becoming the person you most want to be. Put your future in good hands – your own.”

Let’s hope that you are not disappointed when you get there.

What inspires your hopes?

January 2, 2017

“If you want to be happy, set a goal that commands your thoughts, liberates your energy, and inspires your hopes.”  (Andrew Carnegie) – as seen on the Jack’s Winning Words blog. Jack was writing about New Year’s resolutions and setting your goals for the New Year.

We went through goal setting for the New Year at my work office back in December and I goalcan remember the years of annual goal setting exercises that I went through at various technology companies that I work for back then. While they might have commanded my attention and thoughts for a while and certainly required my energy, they never really inspired my hopes. If anything the achievement of those goals might have served as an enabling step towards achieving my hopes.

I suppose that one might aspire to be the CEO of whatever company they work for some day, but that is difficult to envision that if you are driving a forklift in one of the many warehouses of that company.  Some might have hopes of having their own company someday, but perhaps that is more of a dream than a real hope. man daydreamingThere’s a fine line between hopes and dreams. I suspect that most people’s hopes are centered more on life goals than on work goals.

Jack also wrote about a little acronym that he came across for making good resolutions – S-M-A-R-T.  S-be Specific!  M-make it Measurable.  A-be sure it’s Attainable.  R-be Realistic.  T-set a Timetable. I wrote recently about resolutions, too. One thing not in the SMART acronym that I had in my post was to make yourself accountable for achieving the resolution by sharing it with an accountability partner and doing regular status checks.

I may hope for the end to world hunger, but the SMART thing to do is to work in a local food bank or serve in a soup kitchen. Am I achieving my hope of the end to hunger in the world? Yes, at least in the small part of the world that I can directly impact. Maybe there is more that I can do to collect money or food for use in other parts of the world and the energy that is liberated by my hopes will find a way to do some of that, too. You see how that hope may command your thoughts.

If you have hopes for finding the right person to spend your life with, I think hopes also Oh crapneed to be proactive and action oriented and not reactive and defensive. You are much more likely to be successful if your start out with the positive attitude that says “I’m going to be open and friendly with those that I meet in hopes of finding Mr./Ms. Right”, than it is to start out by saying” I’m going to be cautious and guarded around others so that I don’t take the change of getting hurt”.

So, what inspires your hopes? Is it all about you, or do you find that making the lives of others better too is in your hopes somewhere? Are your “hopes” really just big pipe dreams or are they SMART? It’s OK to have BIG hopes, so long as you can see how to break them down into manageable and SMART steps that you can work on a little at a time.

When was the last time you really sat quietly and thought about your hopes? What’s wrong with right now, as long as you’re already thinking about it?  What are you hoping for? What’s the SMART way to achieve those hopes? What are you waiting for?

Do you have a plan?

August 19, 2015

“One possible reason why things aren’t going according to plan is that there never was a plan.” ― Ashleigh Brilliant

I love Ashleigh Brilliant quotes. What a great sense of humor and understanding of mankind he displays. Many of us think we have a plan for our lives or maybe even just for the day. Perhaps we start each day with a “To Do” to do listlist, but that’s not really a plan. Perhaps we have even spent some time thinking about the day and the things that we need to do or want to do; but those thoughts aren’t plans either. Maybe we have visualized how the day might go. Maybe we have dreamed about or wished how the day might go. None of those are plans.

So what is a plan? The WikiPedia definition of a plan is –

A plan is typically any diagram or list of steps with timing and resources, used to achieve an objective.  It is commonly understood as a temporal set of intended actions through which one expects to achieve a goal. The definitions in other sources are similar and likely similarly unachievable in life.

We like to think we can plan and that we have plans for our life. We have, instead, some goals in mind andchasing goal perhaps we have considered a few alternatives at a few decision points in the processes necessary to achieve those goals. What we have are dreams and ambitions surrounded by a vague understanding of what is required to achieve them, nestled in good intentions and held together with the gossamer threads of naivety. In fact there never was a plan.  I often say that I had a plan and then life got in the way.

The thing is that not having a clear and firm plan is OK. A dream or a goal provides us with some sense of the direction that we wish to go in. Our plan (an outline at best) gives us a starting point and the rest of the journey towards those goals falls loosely under the category of learning and maturing. Another thing is that the plan changes as we go, or at least it should. Finally, it’s almost useless to try to keep track  (score) of how you are doing in achieving the original plan. As Brilliant put it –

“Please don’t ask me what the score is. I’m not even sure what the game is.”  ― Ashleigh Brilliant
Have you ever met someone who says that they are still trying to find themselves, to figure out what they want to be; what they want to do with their life? You may initially pity them or even be repulsed by their lack of ambition or purpose; but, the truth is, they may be stating more honestly than you what their plan is for their life. They have no plan yet and they admit it. Some of the most famous and successful people the world has known spent a part women dreamingof their youth bumming around the world trying to figure out what they wanted to do with their life. Along the way they accumulated wisdom about people and different cultures that served them well later in life.

So, let’s all continue to make our daily To Do lists. They aren’t plans; just task lists that we may get to in some random order and feel good about accomplishing. As for real plans in our lives, maybe we should just make sure that our moral compasses are set right, let life happen and enjoy the ride. We can still have dreams, because as Brilliant says –

“The best reason for having dreams is that in dreams no reasons are necessary.”  ― Ashleigh Brilliant

I’ve posted here before3 about dreams, see the post What’s in your Dreams?

But as for plans – go back to the top and read the first quote. Don’t spend too much time on a plan that goes out the window the first time things don’t go as planned. You’re better off to prepare yourself to react properly to the things that come your way on your way to your goals. Maybe a re-read of my post on Problem Solving 101 would be a god start.

Let go and dream…

November 26, 2014

“The best dreams happen when you’re awake.” – Cherie Gilderbloom

I’m not sure where I saw this quote, but I knew I wanted to save it and write about it eventually. I’ve opined about having dreams and hopes many times and even about day dreaming; but this quote is really talking about our ability to “see” (to dream) a better future for ourselves.

The dreams that we have when we are asleep are mostly random, unruly and mostly without any point. The dreams that you can conjure up while awake have more context and meaning for your life. They don’t have to be constrained by your current reality, but they usually take that into consideration as a starting point. It’s where you end up in those dreams that really makes them fun.

man daydreamingYou may say that a dream while you’re awake is just letting your imagination run away with you. That’s true that it takes a vivid imagination; but, it is running away with you in a direction that you control. It is a mix of fantasy and reality that is unshackled from the constraints that we normally place upon ourselves. Maybe you see yourself scoring the winning touchdown or slugging the winning home run. Perhaps you envision yourself relaxing on the beach on a tropical island or maybe you’re out on a date with the girl that you could never get up the nerve to ask out. These dreams go one step beyond the visualization that many professional athletes use to “see” their next play or move. You can come very close to actually feeling like you are experiencing the moment that is in the dream.

We often hear people who have just won something – an event, a prize or contest – say that it thinking hardfeels like they are in a dream; maybe the same is true about actually being in an awake dream – it feels like it’s real. It’s fun to think that could be the case; but, I suspect that Cherie Gilderbloom was actually talking about more than day dreaming. She may have been saying that the things that we actually experience in life, while wide awake, are much better than the things that we dream about. While dreams are fun, they are also disconcerting, because you don’t have a frame of reference in them. Dreaming while wide awake maintains a frame of reference that both anchors you and allows you to snap back into full consciousness at any time. In some cases it allows you to fold some reality back into the dream to change its direction if needed. In an awake dream you don’t forget where you left your car.

facing new dayPerhaps dreaming while you are awake is really letting your hopes direct your mind for a while. Hopes often get pushed aside or pushed out into the future. Dreaming about them brings them back to the forefront and allow you to explore them and imagine possible outcomes. Dreams based upon hopes can be a great antidote to a numbing life. Call it escapism if you like, but escaping even for a moment or two into the future that you are striving to reach can be a great motivator to continue the struggle.

dreamsWhatever the case, I think taking a little time to dream, even while you are awake, is necessary for our mental health, just like taking a little time every now and then to be silly or to play or to laugh. We cannot go through life constantly constraining ourselves to the situation at hand. We cannot always be on guard, on the ready, constantly serious and on the defense. We all have dreams that need to get out and breathe every now and then. We have aspirations that we’ve never shared with anyone that need a stage upon which to rehearse. Dreaming while we are wake provides the release necessary to let those hopes stay alive and grow. Don’t stifle yourself when it comes to dreaming.

What do you dream about while you’re awake?

Are you a dreamer?

October 21, 2014

“Every great dream begins with a dreamer.”  (Harriet Tubman) – as seen on the Jack’s Winning Words blog.

You could easily extend today’s thought by also stating that “every great idea began as someone’s dream.”

Dreams allow us the freedom to explore the unknown, imagine things that don’t exist, solve intractable problems, achieve impossible goals, and accomplish the impossible. Dreams remove the barriers of logic. Sometimes that allow emotions to run wild, but most times they just feed off the imagination and then go beyond what can even be imagined.

women dreamingSome believe that dreams are a waste of time; but sometimes dreams are the only way to completely let go of the artificial barriers that conventional thinking or common knowledge have erected. Sometimes it takes a long time for dreams to be realized. Leonardo Da Vinci dreamed of men flying in machines that would allow them to be like birds centuries before the Wright brothers finally realized his dream. Sometimes a dream is more like a wish made when you are not awake. Whatever you dream is something that exists somewhere in the back of your mind and perhaps something that you will turn from a dream into a mission and finally into a reality. Don’t dismiss your dreams, embrace them. They are allowing you to escape from whatever limitations you have placed upon yourself.

What do you dream about? Places? Things? People? How do your dreams affect your life when you man daydreamingawaken? Are they quickly forgotten or do you pursue them? Do you feel a sense of loss or a sense of having not completed something or accomplished something in your life because you did not follow your dreams? It’s never too late. If you have a dream, follow it; do something about it. Maybe you’ve just dreamed up “the next big thing.” Maybe you’ve just dreamed about your next great vacation or meeting Mr/Ms. Right. See how easy that was; now go make it happen.

Are you a dreamer? Why not turn those dreams into a reality?

Hope leads to great memories…

September 3, 2014

A strange thing is memory, and hope; one looks backward, and the other forward; one is of today, the other of tomorrow.  Memory is history recorded in our brain, memory is a painter, it paints pictures of the past and of the day. – Grandma Moses

If, as Grandma Moses said, memory is a painter, recording pictures of our past, then hope is a dreamer, imagining exciting new paths for our future. Eventually memory will paint the picture of the path that we have chosen to take.

Hope enables us to look past the darkness of a gloomy or sad situation and see a rainbow on the horizon. I wrote about hope in an earlier post about the four candles – peace, faith love and hope. Hope was the last candle burning and as long as it was still alive the others could be relit. The YouTube video in that post is a good watch.

man daydreamingIf you start rummaging around through your memories you might recall some of the hopes that you had at the time when those pictures were painted. How did that work out? Which of your hopes and dreams did you pursue and did they come true? Sometimes an old hope or dream can rekindle a passion that you once had and lead you off into exciting new directions. Maybe you had to delay things for a while, but you don’t necessary have to abandon those dreams. Many times they are actually more reachable now than they might have been years ago.

My wife had a dream of finishing college (I interrupted her academic life with my proposal) and, after raising our two children, she finally went back to school and a couple of years later got to walk across the stage and accept her degree. She never gave up her hope to one day accomplish that goal and she did. She also rediscovered the joy of learning. Are there still unrealized hopes hanging around somewhere in your head women dreamingthat you still have time to pursue? What’s holding you back?

So, take a quiet moment sometime soon and revisit your old hopes and dreams. Some of them you may now realize just weren’t right for you; but many of them might just have been put on hold, due to life circumstances. Drag them out, dust them off and see if they still excite you. If they do, then go for it. Find the way to stick with them this time and make them come true. Then you’ll have some great memories to paint pictures of in your later years.

Have a great and hopeful day.

What’s in your dreams?

May 21, 2014

“Dreams are the mirages of hope” – as seen in the Graffiti comic strip.

When I saw that on the comics page of the paper, I thought “how profound”; then I looked up the term mirage and thought some more about it. Dreams may be mental mirages – mere illusions that our sub-conscience plays out in our unguarded moments of sleep.

However, dreams can also be a fantasy achievement of our hopes; and as such they are not so much an illusion, butman daydreaming may be a road map concocted in our imagination to show us how to achieving those hopes. Dreams allow the constraints that we place upon ourselves to drop away. Fears that hold us back while we are awake can magically disappear in our dreams.

The term “mirage” is actually a well understood naturally occurring phenomenon that involves seeing things in the distance that aren’t really in the places that they appear. It is in most cases and optical illusion, but the key thing is that it does involve real objects somewhere.

women dreamingA dream based upon hope is sort of like that, too. It is not all just made up; it involves real goals and aspirations that you have and hope to achieve. So perhaps dreams, like mirages, allow us a closer view of a distant object (or hope). If so, that’s not a bad thing.

Do you have dreams based upon your hopes? Do they help keep those hopes alive? If so, they’ve served a good purpose.

Perhaps Aristotle had it more right when he said – “Hope is a waking dream.” 

Three little words that can change your life… in your dreams.

April 17, 2014

Sometimes the simplest little things can have big impact on our lives. In this series of posts I examine very short sentences or phrases (each just three words long) that can make a difference in your life. If you have a three word sentence or phrase that changed your life somehow, share it with me and I will share it with the world.

Today’s three little words are a phrase, rather than a complete sentence. Like a few other recent examples it can and has been used is a derogatory manner from time to time to discourage people from hoping for something or trying something; but, I’d rather take a different, hopefully more positive look at it.

I watched the Masters Golf Tournament last weekend, as I’m sure millions did, and was happy to see Bubba Watson win again. He’s a pleasant enough fellow; and, who doesn’t like a golfer named Bubba? One of the things I took note of was a report by one of the key TV commentators who had interviewed Bubba two years ago when he first won. He said that he asked Bubba in the interview after his win if actually winning the Masters was everything that he dreamed it would be. Bubba answered, “I don’t know, I never got that far in my dreams.” How telling was that about Bubba -the humble, and likeable young man who dreamed of getting to the Masters but never had dreamed of actually winning it? How far do you get in your dreams?

women dreamingDreams are important to us as humans. They allow the subconscious mind to explore things that it cannot explore when under control or the rationale, conscious mind. Dreams can take you places that you’d otherwise never get to see and experience things that you conscious mind would never let you do. Dreams have been credited with inspiring some of man’s greatest discoveries and inventions, as well as some of greatest works of art. Dreams can be wild and crazy, sometimes to the point of becoming nightmares; or they can be pleasant and satisfying. Most people have only vague recollections of the dreams that they had while asleep, while others may be able to describe in vivid detail what they were dreaming about. Think about the things and people and places that are in your dreams.

Many people day-dream; and, that is how some of the greatest inventors of all time “dreamed up” man daydreamingtheir inventions. Creative people often report having dreamed about something – a picture that they would later paint, or a jingle or song, maybe a play or movie or perhaps the idea for a new gadget. Letting the mind wander, often off into dreams from time to time is a great creative exercise. When your mind wanders during the day, what’s in your dreams?

The other aspect of having dreams revolves around those that we think up while awake. They are sometimes also called aspirations or hopes; but they are things that we dream about. Sometimes there are people that we may dream about; about meeting them, befriending them or more. Young girls may dream about meeting their favorite teen singing idol and certainly young boys fantasize and dream about meeting whatever good looking girl is popular at the moment. As long as those dreams don’t turn into obsessions that’s OK, too. Who turns up in your dreams?

woman catching starAs adults we may have dreams about our future and the futures of our children and maybe grandchildren. We may dream about what it would be like to own a specific car or boat or whatever; or we may dream about a vacation we’d love to take. Some may dream about getting a better job or retiring someday. Most of us probably dream about things that we understand or that exist; however, some dream about things that they don’t understand or that don’t exist and that’s where great discoveries and new inventions come from. There may be great adventures, exciting new jobs and wonderful inventions in your dreams.

In that first interview, Bubba didn’t have any frame of reference to dream about what it would be like to win; but, in interviews this year; he admitted that he’d dreamed of winning again and getting another green jacket. Bubba expanded the horizon of his dreams and you should, too. Rather than just dream about that next small raise at work, dream about the next few promotions and becoming the person giving the raises. Instead of dreaming about doing a little better in the sport that you play, man reaching for stardream about being the best in that sport. People like Justin Verlander in baseball or LeBron James in basketball or Tom Brady in football didn’t dream about being a good player in their sport, they dreamed of being the dominant player in their sport. Instead of just dreaming about that person that you’d like to meet, dream about going out with them and beyond. Dreaming is your sub-conscious way of visualizing and visualizing is a proven step towards achieving. Take those first steps in your dreams.

Make your dreams come true – share them…

January 22, 2014

“A dream you dream alone is only a dream.  A dream you dream together is reality.”  (John Lennon)

Lennon was a dreamer and his song Imagine became the anthem of his time. It is true that a dream not shared seldom becomes more than a dream. A dream shared with others can quickly becomes an idea or a goal and a commitment to reach that goal. It turns into a project, with milestones and measurable and one can quickly become accountable for making that dream come true. It becomes real.

dreamsSo the lesson here is to share your dreams, maybe with your life partner or maybe with workers or members of an organization. Turn it from an abstract notion into something that can be discussed and refined and debated. Embrace your dreams as aspirations, a part of your bucket list. According to the power of positive thinking theories, once you turn your dreams into goals and plans, your subconscious mind will start working to help you achieve those goals. Good things will start to happen, because you will now believe that you can accomplish your dreams and that you are on a mission to do that.

So why is it important to share your dreams? Because it is all too easy to suppress your subconscious mind by keeping your dreams in and a secret. You can convince yourself that it’s all just a silly dream and that’s there’s no way you can ever accomplish it. That’s the pessimist in you coming out. History is full of great inventions, great novels and plays, great works of art and other great accomplishments that began as someone’s dream. In many cases those dreamers had to endure initial ridicule when they first shared their dream, but eventually they found others who believed and persevered until they made that dream come true.

Many dreams are very personal and are really only meant to be shared between life partners; but, what better support system could you have than the sharing and support of your dream with the one that you love?  Sometimes achieving a dream means sacrifice and suffering on the front end, in order to get to the goal at the end. Who better to share the pain than the one who has perhaps already pledged to stick with you through good times and bad and through sickness and in health, in this case, not until death do you part, but until your dreams come true.

So, dream it, share it and make it a reality. It’s your dream; don’t dream it alone.