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.

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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?


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?


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.