Your alarm clock goes off. A slight moan is heard, sounding your disapproval of the familiar interruption as you hit the snooze once more. You don’t want to go into work today. You don’t want to call that company and wrestle with them on the phone for 2 hours. You don’t even want to do your laundry. You’re not motivated and life feels stale. Every day is the same old mediocre existence.
As you lay your head down to rest, you can’t sleep because you’re just too stressed out. Sound like you? How did you get here? Where did you go wrong? I’d like to propose something that will prevent this mindset from taking over your life. It isn’t gimmicky snake oil. It is logical. It is simple. It should work. I’m reading a book called Thinkertoys, and the author talks about how it is impossible to be creative with a negative mindset.
When I read this, a series of lights lit up in my brain that spelled TRUE. Negative thought cripples people. Negative mindsets cause “I can’t because” thoughts instead of “I can because” thoughts. The “I can because” thoughts are the ones that find creative ways to overcome the obstacles that seem so daunting. How do you get from negative to positive? Try this.
It may be helpful for you to close your eyes (for concentration), but don’t close them yet, because if you just closed them you aren’t reading this right now. Why are you sleeping? Hey! Ok, now that you’re awake, read the next paragraph and close your eyes if you wish.
Ok, think about your perfect life, where you are completely content, brimming with positivity and hope, and completely at peace. Think about it just for a few seconds and see what comes to mind. When the first image or thought pops into your head, grab onto it like a 100 dollar bill floating away. Where are you? What are you doing? Who are you with? What mindset do you have and how do you feel? Soak your mind in this scene until it is so saturated that you can actually feel what this setting is like and what it means to you.
You should be feeling pretty awesome because you’ve just tasted your dreams! You should also feel at peace right now if you really let your mind wander deeply into the recesses of your dreams. An even better way of doing this is if your dreams have powerful symbols or specific images associated with them – you can focus on that symbol or image (the inspiration for this writing).
Since examples are useful, I’ll go through one of my dream images that is the wallpaper on my laptop. When I think about my perfect life, I imagine a beautiful beach with calm waters and a gorgeous sunset. In this image I am sitting next to my wife, completely relaxed and content, and with a tremendous feeling of accomplishment that I have “made it.” My dream image encompasses some of my deepest desires – companionship, peace, health, contentment, freedom from unnecessary stress, connecting with God through the unparalleled beauty of His creation, and a sense of success by overcoming significant obstacles in life. These things are everything I hope and strive for.
Reflecting on what you truly desire has (at least) two positive effects – it is satisfying and it causes you to focus more on those desires. Knowing what you want and what you’re going for in life is absolutely critical to actually getting it. Your dreams won’t happen accidentally. On to the main point – doing this reminds us what the difficult times in life are for. When you have a plan for reaching your dreams, you can work hard, happily and energetically, knowing that you’re doing your best to reach your goal. What if you fall short? You may indeed fall short of some dreams. That is life.
However, if you have a clear end goal and a plan to get there, you have a great chance of success by failing and adjusting your approach until you succeed. A fear of failure is the most common cause of the most serious failure – life failure.
These words come from a man who is setting his sights on reaching that beach. I’ve done it before with other dreams. The scene involves more than standing on the beach – it involves my financial situation, my mindset, my relationships, and more. The picture merely serves as a container for the idea, and when I look at it, I can picture myself in that wonderful situation. It took me a while to see the light, but I’m no longer passive about my life. I’m taking concrete steps to reach that dream scenario. When I find myself on the beach with my wife, lounging as we look at the sunset, I’ll be a very happy man who will remember this post. I may not live on the beach and my dreams may change, but right now that is the moment that excites and motivates me to keep at it. It is an indicator in my mind so that when I reach that point, I’ll know I have done more than a few things right. Satisfying.
Make The Change
If you find yourself bogged down by the daily grind, reflect on why you’re in the daily grind in the first place. If you can’t see your current path leading you to your dreams and desires – change course. If you wanted to sail to Honolulu, would you let the tides and winds take you to Sri Lanka? In the same way, “don’t let your dreams be dreams” – intentionally go for them! (Quote from Jack Johnson – dreams be dreams).
Your alarm goes off, and you walk into your room to turn it off. You woke up earlier because you were so excited to start your day that you felt a burst of energy. You laugh as you realize that you could have been sleeping. While you’d rather have a better job, you’re thankful to have some income and are looking for other jobs. You quickly take care of routine tasks while you brainstorm ideas for your big trip. Before heading into work, you fill in the final details of the 2 year mission you have to save up money to go to Fiji for a month with your spouse – something you both have always wanted to do. Tomorrow, you’ll both start selling some unneeded clutter on ebay to clean the house and make extra money for the trip. As you lay your head down to rest, you can’t sleep because you’re so excited about life.