Do you stare at the night sky?
Have you gazed longingly at the sun as it breaks the distant horizon?
Do you dream? In a wakened state?
Of things beyond, where limits cease, and we become.
What we were meant to be.
When I was a kid, I used to climb the TV antenna attached to my house and stare up at the evening sky. On cloudless nights you could see swarms of stars and the translucent cosmic rivers of our galaxy in the sky above. Fending off mosquitos, I would gaze, eyes full of the endless possibilities manifested in the heavens. I’d have homework to do, phone calls to make, and shows to watch, but all that could wait. I was contemplating the potential of what could be. What I could be.
We all did. On some level every child considers the near limitless opportunities that may await them in the future. In our youth, we presume, that the many years in front of us wildly expand the potential of what can be. Even those living in dire circumstances will think, “If I can just get out of this (house, town, or situation), I can be somebody.”
Then something happens. Things shift. Sometimes all at once, but more often slowly, quietly, and imperceptibly. Like a thief in the night, we allow ourselves to be robbed by the passage of time and the security of convention.
Before we know it, our lives mold intellectually, spiritually, and physically into the patterned norms of our surroundings. We operate in predictive cycles, checking boxes on the list of things adults do. Our goals shift to focus on security and protecting the status quo. We settle for less than what we really want and try to wrap it in a blanket of contentment.
Only, settling and contentment are two distinctly different things. You can be content and still invest in ways you can better your situation. You can be thankful for what you have and anticipate the fruits of your continued labor.
When you settle, however, you are resigned to accepting the certainty of inaction. You presume that by not aspiring to more or acting to shift the paradigm, you have frozen and protected the current value of your situation in time. Except, life doesn’t work that way.
Here is the problem. There is no status quo. The world is impermanent, and you were meant to dream.
Furthermore, the act of settling creates short term comfort that inevitably turns into long term resentment. This is true in occupational endeavors, relationships, and even the money we spend. The child in us knows this. It’s that part of us, that creates the resentment I mentioned a moment ago. We have not kept our youthful promise to dream.
It’s screaming that we don’t have to settle for less than what we really want out of life. So, listen to its’ voice.
“We overestimate what we can do in a year, and underestimate what we can do in ten years.” – Dr. Tim
These are three steps you can take to avoid getting caught or remaining in a cycle of settling and non-dreaming.
Seek Out Experiences that Inspire You. As a child, you are bombarded with first experiences. Your first time at the beach, new flavors of food, unknown smells, and the exhilaration of your first kiss. Our parents, friends, and schooling create a structure in our lives that feeds us these micro-experiences. In turn we are inspired to try more and seek the wide world beyond.
In adulthood, however, these feeder systems change. We become solely responsible for the structures and behaviors that interject these new experiences. If we do not seek them out, we will only encounter the things that fall directly in our lap. The key is to be proactive. If you are new to this, try setting a goal for collecting new experiences. See how many new things you can encounter in a day, then try for at least one more the next day.
A journal can also help you in evaluating your process and gathering the gratitude you experience from each day. We have prompts in the Living Every Minute Planner specifically designed to support this.
Stop Viewing Failure as a Negative. This is the secret of every successful person in the history of mankind. Spend less time mulling over the fact that what you tried wasn’t successful and more time identifying the real reasons why. Once you have a list of the areas in which you could have done better, make a plan and improve them.
“Fall in love with the process, not the goal.” – Dr. Tim
Your next attempt may still fall short, but you will have learned more about how to succeed than you did before. Committing to this practice as a discipline is fundamental. The incremental knowledge you gain in the process are “wins” that will help you sustain the belief that your goal is within reach. If you don’t celebrate failure, how in the world can you appreciate success?
The Suspension of Disbelief. When we watch TV or read, we often bypass our inner logic and suspend judgement on whether the narrative is realistic. We blatantly accept the fantastic extremes of human achievement in these tales as plausible. We chalk it up as a special character rising to the occasion of incredible circumstance.
Yet in our everyday lives we often refuse to apply this same poetic faith to ourselves. I would argue there are no circumstances more important than your own and no one more special than you.
To dream, you must suspend the belief that you are not capable of something. You must refuse the idea that you are done growing. You must trust in the unseen potential of becoming.
Let’s go back to the beginning.
To that time where, with wide eyes you smiled in fascination at the world in front of you.
Leave your baggage at the door. Forget your preconceived notions of what your life can be.
It’s your turn to look to the sky and dream.
Living Every Minute,
CEO, Dr. Tim International