Going into 2018, I’ve been meditating on the anatomy of a dream. How a dream begins, how it forms, and how it comes to pass.
There is enough content there to turn this post into a book (being that writing has always been a dream of mine, it would be appropriate to write about dreams.)
The specific part of a dream I wanted to highlight in this post, is the history of a dream.
To start, we need to consider the obvious yet sometimes illusive fact that dreams do in fact exist.
You may have a dream, something you desire and hope for. It may be something you would like to achieve, or a goal you would like to reach. Some of us have truly embraced our dreams. They have grown to be so real and palpable that they have become the chief factor when planning and making decisions about our future. Some of us consider dreams a mere wish. We would like to reach the clouds, but our chief concern is not flying. Our chief concern is making sure the appropriate footwear is available for today, because all we can do today is walk.
Whatever side of the spectrum you find yourself in, we need to start with the fact that dreams exist.
Conversely, we have long understood that a dream, by nature, is something that does not exist. At least not in the physical sense. When a dream materializes, it is not longer a dream. It is reality. A dream then, only exists, while it doesn’t; while it hasn’t come true. That is, it can only exist in the realm of the unseen, because reality is not a dream.
Here is where many of us fail to see the connection between the two. On one side of the spectrum, you may be struggling against your reality to see your dreams come true. On the other side of the spectrum, you may have concluded that the responsible thing to do is to let go of the dream, embrace your reality, and make the most of it. After all, there is no possible foreseeable connection between your reality and your dreams.
But here is the skinny: Dreams, at their inception, have no history. When you dream of being a doctor, starting a business, or having a child, you most likely dream of the end result. Your dream could be summarized in one sentence. You have one single picture in your mind. You with a baby in your arms. You in scrubs with a stethoscope around your neck. You sitting on your successful leather chair, in a successful office, behind a successful mahogany desk. You don’t think of 12 years of school. You don’t think of Braxton Hicks, sweatpants, or chafed unmentionables. You don’t think of taxes, permits, payroll, and lawsuits. Your dream is perfect.
There are two things I’d like you to hold on tight to your mind and heart in 2018, in the hopes that it would help you keep your dream alive.
Thing one, very simply: Dreams are not perfect. At least not after they come true. They are not carefully curated fantasies that God bestows upon you. Dreams take time, trial and error, and pain. It takes sleepless nights, stretch marks, and lots of resources.
Thing two is this: You don’t have any other way to make your dream come true, except by reality. Not just any reality. Your reality. Your life-story is the only history your dream will have. Your life, as it is right now, is part of your dream’s history. So instead of letting go because you don’t see a connection, why don’t you embrace where you are as a teaching opportunity?
A little side bar on the thought that may come to mind when you hear the words “teaching opportunity”: to many of you, if you’re honest, it sounds like motivational mumbo-jumbo. While I do want to motivate you, this is a perspective principle that requires humility and teachability. It’s not an “everything is going to be better” idea. It is an “I’m going to be better” idea. Living humble and teachable is not a reactive attitude triggered by a specific hardship or season of life. Humility and teachability are not selective virtues. You either are a humble and teachable person, or you are not. Living humble and teachable is the mindset by which you will be able to redeem the difficult and unexpected things 2018 will throw at you, as well as help you keep your head on straight when you reach a big win. Living humble and teachable will help you keep the dream alive, and continue to move forward.
So my encouragement for 2018?
Stay humble. Remain teachable. And remember: your life is your dream’s history in the making.
So keep dreaming! Because, what is life without a dream?