Without a sense of urgency, desire loses its value.
– Jim Rohn
Your dreams are undoubtedly important to you, but are they urgent?
Dreams without urgency are better known as unfinished dreams.
Unfinished dreams happen because of a common misunderstanding between you and your brain. Let’s pretend like your brain is a separate entity and interview it to find the root cause of this tragic misunderstanding.
The Exclusive Interview With Your Brain
You: Hi Brain, about those SAT scores…
Brain: Look man, you gave me four hours of sleep and had me jacked up on energy drinks all night. Do you have any idea what I went through just to get you that poor score? That was just wrong, man.
You: No no, you’re right. My bad on that one, but seriously, you couldn’t even remember the capital of Venezuela? We went over that one like five times. Anyway, you need more sleep to perform. I get it. Enough about SAT scores because I want to talk about my dreams. They —
Brain: Whoa now, Caracas is the capital. See how I knew that because I’m not drugged and tired? And about your dreams, I already know those are very important! I’ve noted them in the left hemisphere, section five, by the pleasure center. They are guarded by my very best neural patrolmen. And I think about them all the time just like you tell me to.
You: Well, yes, I know you know and good job by the way with the upkeep and security. But there is something about them I need to bring to your attention. I think I have mislead you, unintentionally.
Brain: Go on, I’m thinking…
You: It’s all of those urgent tasks I have every day. You get accustomed to putting a gold star by anything time-sensitive so that I know it must be done by a certain time.
Brain: Of course, and that’s what you want, right?
You: For the most part, yes, but with a caveat. These daily tasks, while incredibly important, are not the most important tasks I have. In fact, they PALE in comparison to my life goals and dreams. I can’t merely think about these dreams, but I’ve trained you to treat these daily tasks as what’s important.
Brain: But the urgent tasks are the ones you do all the time and if you don’t do them…
You: I would crash and burn. I know you’ve done the math. But my needs are greater than just food, shelter, and being organized. I’m not content to be a bag of flesh just existing. I want to be someone; not necessarily famous or rich, but myself. I want to live my dream to travel the world. It’s something I would love to do. And I know it’s possible to pursue, even with these daily requirements. I waste time on much less important things than this, and I don’t want to regret my life down the road.
Brain: I remember you telling me your dream to travel when we were young. You’ve always wanted to do that someday. You should see my neurons light up when I think about it. It’s like a freaking rave party up here.
You: Yes. 🙂 I remember when I first had the dream, and while it seems to have faded some, whenever I talk to you about it, I feel so alive. And about someday, I’m tired of someday. This is why I needed to talk to you. You make sure that I accomplish the things that must be done by the day and hour, but what about my dream to travel? Where is that in our plans?
Brain: Of course. Well, you can get started whenever on your dream because it’s a lifetime dream, so we’ve got plenty of time. I figured that once all the kids marry, you make $10,000 more per year, you get in great shape to hike New Zealand’s mountains, and have a few months of free time, then you could definitely do it!
You: Brain, with your mighty analytical power, would you calculate the odds of those scenarios EVER aligning?
Brain: *blushing* Oh. Hmm…oh…wow…oh dear….ok, it doesn’t look good at all. The timing may never be right. I understand now. I also see that we don’t have it labeled urgent like the team meeting at 8 AM tomorrow. So what are you saying then? If you had to choose, would you sacrifice 50 of these meetings and even your great job in order to live this dream? It’s not logical. Traveling across the world could deplete your financial reserves and puts us in much greater danger overall. There seems to be far more risk involved than your typical routine of living for the weekends. And yet, you’re still saying this non-urgent task with a lifetime left to accomplish is one of the most urgent tasks we have? Possibly THE most urgent one??
You: Yes Brain, I am. I know it’s hard for you to understand, but for better or worse, this is what it means to be human. And I don’t know about the job yet, but I can’t wait anymore to do something. If we spend all of our resources on the daily tasks, and have these insane requirements for the dream to be met, it’s like my dreams are caught in limbo and won’t ever be reached. The best course of action seems to be to incorporate these dreams into daily life. We’ve said someday for too long.
Brain: Ok, I’ll add it to the schedule.
You: Thank you, Brain. You really get me sometimes.
Brain: Hey, you’re the boss. And you know what, now that we’ve started to plan for this, I’m finding there are ways to travel quite cheaply, even close to the same cost of living we currently have. I see that some people are even doing this already. Interesting. It was only when I started planning for it that I noticed all of these things. Hmm…maybe we’re not as far away as I thought.
Now go to your calendar. What small step(s) today and tomorrow could bring you closer to your dreams? Write it in your schedule and give your dreams the sense of urgency they have always deserved.
Sometimes you have to set the intention before you can see the path. (tweet this)
photo by Tim Sheerman-Chase