Have you ever had a dream that you thought was impossible? Something so big you actually second guessed telling someone because you were afraid they might look at you like you are crazy?
I think we all have those dreams deep inside of us. Things at the core we are almost ashamed of because they are so big, daunting, and unbelievable. They sit in the deepest parts of our being and eat at us until one of two things happen: we make them happen or we kill them.
American culture actually teaches everyone how to dream. We have a cliché tagline that defines generation after generation. But as much as culture seemingly encourages dreaming, it actually kills dreams. Those who have gone before us have realized their dream and, in an attempt to protect their creations, have impeded the ability to make our dreams a reality. We see what we want but do not know how to get it because the structure in place limits our ability to move towards what we desire. Culture effectively kills our dreaming.
There are the exceptions. There are those that trail blaze and create the new gadgets, systems, structures, and companies that we all aspire to and admire, but they are not the norm. They are the ones who got fed up with the system and decided to pursue the dream that was at the core of who they were.
Why are there so few people who are able to make their dreams a reality?
I think it is because deep down next to our dreams we want a plan. We want steps that can be laid out in front of us that will lead us to our end goal. Step one comes first, then step two, then three, then four… you get the picture. We want something nice, neat, and–more importantly–safe. We want to get what we want without the challenge or struggle it might take to get there. Because, the reality is, most of our dreams are things we have never done before. Therefore, we have no idea how to go about getting there. And that scares us. With no plan in place we have no way of measuring whether we are doing the right thing in order to make this dream succeed. Therefore, we end up shying away from the innate, human potential and settle for things that we can know, understand, and control.
Most of us do not mean to do so but with so many uncertainties and unknowns in life we want something to make sense. So we adopt someone else’s dream as our own because the path has already been laid out for us. It is easier. It is neater. It is safer. Sure, we still have to struggle through some things and work hard to make it, but when we do make it we only find out we are more empty and lonely than we were when we started. Most of us do not sabotage our dreams outright. We buy into systems and structures that are not conducive to help us achieve our dreams. So when we encounter resistance it is easier to set aside our dreams and conform rather than fight resistance on behalf of what we want deep down in ourselves. We adopt the dreams of the system we are part of and suffocate the part of us that comes alive. We have made the dream a reality; the problem is it was not our dream.
The problem is not that we do not dream; the problem is we settle for far lesser dreams.