When was the last time you built a dream?
As a child, daydreaming was a way of life. The future was open-ended and seemed to be very far into the distance, and so there was no reason to think that dreams could not come true. In fact, we were encouraged to dream and to fantasize. We were supported to indulge our imaginations by engaging with fairytales, with adventure, with princes and dragons, unicorns and fairies, mermaids and elves and giants, and lands far far away. We acted out these fantasies, pretending we were queens or horses or ballerinas. We dressed up so that we could explore a variety of roles and characters. We draped ourselves in jewelry and tottered on high heels. We had pretend families and tea parties in the garden. Adults lived vicariously through our play, plying us with books and stories and all the materials that we needed to create our imaginary worlds. We covered our walls with pictures of the places we wanted to go to, we drew our dream houses, and we planned our dream lives.
Slowly but surely we reached our 'awakening'. Fantasies became facts and dreaming turned into doing. We learned about responsibility. Our dreams started to feel like achievements, or like ticking off boxes. We learned about preparing and storing and saving. Achievements were for those who worked hard, who sacrificed, who had earned the right to have wonderful experiences. It also became clear that big dreams were only for very special people, those who were extraordinarily talented, charismatic or confident. They were only for those who had the audacity to choose lives that went against the norm - those who believed they were worthy to pursue dream-filled lives. For us ordinary people, we needed to study and struggle, and we needed to find sensible jobs so we could save for the inevitable rainy day. Perhaps we didn't even realize that our perspective had changed and that we had forgotten how to daydream.
The thing that we'd failed to recognise is that if we don't create our lives, life will just happen to us. If we are not intentional with our thoughts and actions we will spend our lives living by default. The energy that we generate with every thought we think and every word we say will push us and pull us and squeeze us, up and down and here and there, like a puppet being manoeuvered by an unknown player. Only, we may not realize that we have the power to pull the strings. We won't understand why we are not happy, why we lack purpose, and why we are devoid of joy. Without dreams, we lose our direction, our drive and our motivation. So, yes we do struggle, because it feels as if there is nothing to be excited about. We need dreams, because without them we won't know who we are in the world and we won't know what we want for our lives.
So, if we wanted to dust off our inner daydreamers, where would we start?
Here are 10 fun ideas:
1. Cut some pictures out of a magazine to make an 'anything goes' vision board.
2. Plan a trip even if you have no idea where you will find the money for it.
3. Make a bucket list of 100 things you want to do in your life.
4. Write a list of 10 things that you plan to do this year.
5. Go to an open inspection of your dream home or luxury apartment.
6. Make a Pinterest board of things that you dream of having in your life.
7. Enter competitions and imagine what you will do with the prizes.
8. Write a plan for how you would spend 1 million dollars, or 20 million.
9. Journal about your perfect day or the life that you dream of living.
10. Write a list of 5 things that you will do this week that will bring you closer to your dreams.
Remember, dreaming is not a superfluous activity. Dreaming is not the only step, but it is the first step. Dreams lead to purpose, direction, enthusiasm, action and persistence. Dreams make hope and they create joy. They incubate ideas. They build worlds. Let's tease out the inner child, the innocent daydreamer who didn't see barriers or obstacles, our former selves who believed that the bank was a limitless source of money and who thought that there was endless time available to do everything. Let's give dreaming a second chance and watch what happens.
All important progress made by the human race has its roots in daydreaming - Eda LeShan