Finding Your Dream
The other day, someone on Quora asked,
“I don’t know what really my dream is. What should I do?”
Do you know what your dream is?
This isn’t an easy question to answer, especially when pressures to figure it out mount.
Your family wants you to do one thing, your friends are encouraging you to do something else, and the society keeps screaming: hurry up!
Everyone wants you to do what you love.
Yet, 75% of Americans aren’t doing it.
Because it isn’t an easy question to answer. So people don’t take the time for it. They never get to it.
Then, at some point, people feel too old to answer it. Enter shame.
Did you know that Ray Kroc, the builder of McDonald’s, found his dream when he was 52 years old?
I know this doesn’t solve your conundrum, but it might offer some perspective.
So, if you are serious about discovering your dream, answering your why … take the time to find yourself.
This might include travelling, driving across the country, secluding yourself in the wilderness, or embarking upon a myriad of experiences. It might mean hiring a coach, reading books, journaling, or talking to yourself in the mirror.
You can also follow one or all of these…
What did you want to be when you were 5?
What happened? Did the “real world” limitations get in the way?
Let’s see if we can trigger that same creativity of a child for whom anything is possible.
Block out 2 hours of your time, remove any distractions (phone, social media, people, etc.) and allow yourself to dream. That is to say, think of the most uplifting moments in your life, people, role models, books or movies, music… anything that positively resonates with you.
When did you feel so alive and happy last? What were you doing at that moment? Do you want to do more of that or something similar?
Only after giving yourself enough time to visualize various moments that brought you joy, made you feel good and fulfilled, go to the next step.
Take a large piece of paper, and write down any and every idea that comes to mind, every dream you might have. Don’t limit yourself. Feel the things you’re writing. If your answer is: I want to be an astronaut,write it down.
And if you cannot think of things specifically for yourself, think of others who are living, in your opinion, extraordinary lives. Sometimes you have to see how others do it, or experience other places and things, to get a sense of your inner self… i.e. to hear your inner self.
Then, like in sports competitions using brackets, see if you can use the process of elimination to cut your list in half.
Is this the most exciting thing I want to be doing?
Be honest with yourself. If someone else’s voice appears in your head, be aware of it and then gradually quiet it down, so that you can focus on your feeling. Another way of grasping this would be to embrace your feelings rather than to listen to your mind.
If you had 50 things written down, see if you can cut them to 25. Then 25 to 12, and 12 to 6. When you are left with 3-6 things, give that some thought.
What would that mean? How would you pursue it? What type of a life is that?
Would it make you come alive?
Many people talk about finding meaning, but meaning can be found in many things. I don’t want you to find meaning, I want you to follow your bliss. And following your bliss means doing the type of things that aren’t ‘work’, a struggle, but come naturally, and make you feel alert, alive, and fulfilled.
Warren Buffett, the Oracle of Omaha, has his own version of this exercise. He says, write down 20 things you want to do in life. Cut that list down to 10, and focus on that.
A wise fisherman knows there’s more than one way to catch a fish.
Whatever your way turns out to be, what is REALLY, REALLY IMPORTANT is that you live your own life, and take responsibility for it.
Only you can find an answer for yourself.
So, take the time to do it.
You’ll be glad you did.