What dreams do you dream of realising in your life? What is the main reason you haven’t already gone after them?
What dreams have you already realised? How did you go about it? And what was it you dreamed of?
It’s funny how the brain works, isn’t it? How a single sensory stimuli (like a smell, a taste, a sight or a sound) can lead to a thought that, in turn, leads you to a time or a place far away from where you had intended to be?
That’s exactly what happened to me earlier.
I was lying here in my bed, working on what is meant to become my new blog, when a quote from writer extraordinaire, and former Swedish Academy member, Lars Forsell caught my eye:
“Most girls wouldn’t dream of doing the things they dream of doing.”
And just like that, me ole watch and chain* had whisked me off to a place far removed from fonts, spacing, colour palettes, typography, readability, newsletters, mailing lists, search engine optimisation and all those pesky little blogbuilder’s issues I was supposed to be focusing on.
Instead, I’d rolled onto a completely different track…
WHAT DREAMS DID YOU DREAM OF AS A CHILD?
I believe dreaming comes natural to most people. Maybe it stems from the fact that we’ve been doing it ever since were tiny tots.
Me, I was a master escapist and so good at dreaming, in fact, that I often struggled to tell the difference between dream and reality.
And not without good reason, I might add.
From my vantage point, reality, by and large, seemed to be a frightfully horrific, and entirely incomprehensible place.
But the beauty of my dreams was that, in there, the world could be whatever I wanted it to be.
A beautiful painting, boldly positioned on a gorgeous yew tripod, with an elegant vintage patina.
A hand made sheet of paper, perfectly fed around the platen of an old Remington.
Naturally, in my dreams, I was the Artist. Or the Journalist (they were way cooler than authors to me). I was the one who had it all nailed down and under control.
With my paintbrush, I painted the world as I thought it should be.
My fingers, dancing over the keyboard, tapped scenarios and dialogues, far more interesting than the ones I had experienced, onto the precious sheet of paper.
It was marvellous!
And it went on for years. I created ever more elaborate and fantastical worlds, all built around four constants:
- My grandmother (the salt of my earth);
- A horse (or two);
- A dog (most often a whole pack of them to be honest); and
- A red curtained, strategically positioned stage. Of course.
Four things I believed to be fundamental to my very existence as, without them, my life would be completely void of magic, mission and meaning.
WHAT KIND OF WORLD ARE WE LIVING IN?
Unfortunately, for all of us, the world we actually do live in is not one of my creations.
And I know this for a fact, because there is a distinct lack of a nan, a horse and a stage on my life rider. But what’s even worse is that only a select few ever get to experience the magic that, in spite of everything, actually can be found here.
One of my many gripes with the makeup of this world, is that only a select few are “allowed” to dream. Provided they have the sense to dream the the right kind of dreams, that is.
Fancy a world where any Tom, Dick and Harry would begin to dream? And, shock horror, believe in their dreams? Nu-uh, we can’t have that!
In this weird world, we’ve all been pigeon holed into a structure where some of us, i.e. the ones that were sorted into the top layer, can take any liberties and get away with murder.
The people who are sorted into this exclusive top layer are, almost always, older rich white men.
And it’s only a certain type of young boy who can even dream of being granted a seat up there one day.
At the absolute bottom, underneath the structure, we find the bottom feeders. All non-white non-men with some kind of irreparable flaw.
The rest of us have been allocated our pigeon holes following a long-winded scrutiny process based on rich white men’s, often unspoken, beliefs and values.
The chief deciding factors for why you got the hole you’re in, are the answers to questions like the old classics: Who are you?, Where are you from?, and Who are your parents?
After this, you are weighed and measured against other life defining variables such as your gender, education, potential titles, the size of your bank vault and your asset portfolio.
And that’s only the first round. Which, in case I wasn’t making that clear earlier, is based on the presumtion that you’re white.
But, as always, the devil is in the detail.
It’s in the second scrutiny this system becomes really interesting. You see, this is where you can really see what kind of world we are living in.
And what kind of value base it is build on.
WHAT I WOULD LIKE TO GIVE YOU
When you hear people talk about “today’s society,” both in the news and on social media, it sounds as if they are saying this is something new.
That there was a time when we were all happy and satisfied with the way things were on our little island. A time when we all banded together to fight off the French, before merrily sitting down to indulge in som beer and chips together.
These people are either not very well read, or completely unaware of their privileges. Or, perhaps, just handling the truth with reckless abandon.
Which brings me back to Swedish wordsmith Lars Forsell’s perceptive comment about girls and their dreams again.
But before we go there, let me just explain that Mr Forsell’s writing days were already over by the time a sleepy Britain woke up to the idea that gender is more than a grammatical feature.
Now, we have no way of knowing whether Forsell would have chosen his words differently, had he penned this piece today; but it doesn’t really matter. The core of the message is still valid:
We live in a world where some people are considered better, or more refined, than others.
No, that’s not to say that it’s illegal to break the mould and go your own way. And no, it doesn’t mean that there aren’t places where things are worse.
It just means that, no matter what some people would have you believe, this world is far from equal.
Here, for instance, certain people cruise through life on a yacht, while others never even make it through the red tape covering their pigeon holes.
Here, most people wouldn’t even dream of doing all the tings they dream of.
I find that thought truly disheartening.
This blog, which at this point in time is nothing but a dream, is my attempt to reach out and encourage you to dream.
And to break free from whatever bonds, norms or contracts that are chafing and suffocating you.
If I could give you but one gift in a lifetime, I’d love to be able to give you freedom from guilt and bitterness.
That, and the realisation that discovering your authentic self and the world around you may be far more important than “becoming something.” Or someones.
I believe that, deep down, we’re all dreamers. Literally a-l-l of us. Every single person in every single part of the world. But I also believe that, for most of us, our dreams remain just that. Our dreams.
Not even those of us who believe their dreams are, in fact, aspirations, seem to be particularly successful in realising those aspirations.
The truth is, we live in a world full of broken, or forgotten, dreams and lost mojos; and I think it’s time to do something about it.
We need to talk about our dreams. And we need to start handing out the blueprints to show people how they can go about realising their dreams.
IMPOSSIBLE IS NOTHING
Have you ever considered how much better your life could be – and how much better you would feel – if you dared to dream bigt and aim higher?
While I was working, I created the programme modules, Personal and Professional Development for adults and Life Skills for teenagers.
What do you think was the most common answer to the second questions I asked in the very beginning of this post? (In case you’ve forgotten the question was: What is the main reason you haven’t already gone after [your dreams]?)
– It’s impossible!
Initially, I couldn’t quite wrap my head around it, but as I began to dig in to research on the subject I learned that this is, in fact, the most common “excuse” people have when it comes to goal-setting.
They, quite literally, talk themselves out of options, and spend more time obsessing over what’s impossible than they do looking for ways to make it possible.
– But how could I?!
– But what would my [mum, dad, grandma, grandpa, kids, grandkids, neighbours, colleagues, mates, dog, cat etc etc etc] say?
– It’s too hard
– It’s impossible!
– It can’t be done!
– No one could pull that off!
Can you even begin to imagine what this world would be like if every single person allowed themselves to be roped in and held back by all these negative voices?
Imagine no inventions, no research, and no discoveries.
No phones, no vaccines, no light bulbs, no internet.
No Tesla, no education, no surgery, no travel.
No cultural exchange, no gadgets, no heating/plumbing, no cars.
And no books, magazines or newspapers.
Not even the tiniest little pamphlet.
All of these things are, after all, the results of people having a dream and the guts to do something about it.
No matter how many times the naysayers told them it was impossible. That they were stupid. And that they would be the laughing stock of their community if they persisted with this foolishness.
The people behind all the inventions and knowledge we have access to today had to step up and prove that what was widely perceived as impossible was, in fact, possible.
But even that wasn’t necessarily enough for the doubters, conspiracy theorists and their foil hat followers, or naysayers to concede that they had been wrong.
I will never forget, for example, how internet and computers were frowned upon by a large portion of the people back in the day.
How many of the very same people who are practically glued to a mini computer today, declared that they had no interest in “that fad” and that the hype would soon go away.
I remember how people said it was “scientifically proven” that bumblebees couldn’t fly. Or shouldn’t be able to. That it somehow was a violation of the laws of thermodynamics or some such nonsense. “Anyone could see” was a common case in point reference “that its body was far too large for those tiny wings to carry.”
Luckily, bumblebees can neither read nor understand human gobble-dee-gook, so they continued buzzing around on their tiny wings none the wiser. And, as it turned out, science could explain how that was possible.
I can’t help feeling that there’s real beauty in the idea that the little bumblebee was impervious to hate, negative energies and people’s opinion. Nothing and no one could convince it flying was impossible.
Moreover, the fact we have scientists who can solve the enigmas of our time and explain how things work is beyond beautiful to me.
We are so lucky to have all these people who, like bumblebees, managed to blank out the noise and just focus on doing what they do best.
Regardless of people’s opinion.
TAKING BABY STEPS EVERY DAY
Do you know that even the tiniest of changes can set you off on a trajectory that could see you realising even your most precious and secretly held dreams?
And it’s all pretty straight forward, really!
If you allow other people’s opinion, or, indeed, your own doubts, to decide what is possible for you, chances are you will never realise your dreams.
The principle behind this is pretty simple: If you continue to do things the way you’ve always done them, nothing will ever change.
But if you decide that a change is what you want, and need, you can actually turn your life around. Provided you are prepared to do things differently and change the way you think of yourself and your situation.
A good idea is to begin by mapping out where you want to go. If you follow that up by taking tiny baby steps, every day, in the right direction you are guaranteed to find yourself in a completely different place or situation in 12/24/36/etc. months’ time.
Start the way you would if you were planning a road trip: Grab a piece of paper (or a map) and map out a) your current position, and b) your dream destination.
Once you know where you’re going – and it is important to be completely honest with yourself here – you can start mapping out the route you want, or need, to take to get there.
Yes, the total distance you’d have to travel may seem frightfully long, but here at the planning phase of your Dream Adventure you need to ignore that. Don’t listen to negative voices in your head or from other people. Focus instead on how to break the total journey into a number of shorter daily, weekly or monthly leg.
During this process you need to list all the things you want/need to do, and all the people or places you want to see along the way. And make sure you’re realistic and allocating enough time for each of those things!
The planning phase can be done in a matter of minutes or it can stretch out over many weeks or months. It all depends on the nature of the adventure you’re planning.
A weekend in Paris can be relatively easy to plan – at least for most Europeans of good health who have a little money in the bank. Meanwhile, a complete lifestyle change, or an expedition to Antarctica, may require a very long planning and preparation phase.
Don’t stress yourself out over this. Neither Rome, nor the pyramids, were built in a day. There is, in fact, very little evidence suggesting that anything truly valuable can be achieved “in the blink of an eye.” But with proper planning and small baby steps each day miracles can be accomplished.
The coolest thing about a road map like this, is that once you set off on your journey you can, literally, see your progress. Right there, on your map, there will be a visible line showing you exactly how far you have travelled. And how much closer to your destination you are.
Most of us are visual beings and we tend to believe in what we can see. And this is why making a roadmap, or a blueprint if you will, is so important.
When you have a visible destination and a map showing you the way, arrival is a matter of when, not if, you’ll get there.
But with an invisible, or diffuse, destination and a map that doesn’t show you the way, arrival becomes a question of if you’ll get there. And the answer is no. You won’t. Not unless a miracle happens. Or you make pit stop to go back to the drawing board to re-route your journey.
No, this is not a quick fix.
I don’t have any cheat sheets to offer, and even if they existed (they don’t!) I wouldn’t be handing them out.
Change is a process, and if you haven’t done the work you won’t be prepared to deal with the new reality at your dream destination. Something we have seen happen often enough to celebrities who were catapulted into the limelight instead of having to work their way to success.
No, it’s not easy and there are no quick fixes or shortcuts, but change is possible.
My goal launching this blog is to tell you that it’s possible to change and to show you how you too can change your life for the better.
My dream is to embrace, encourage and embolden you to live your life to the fullest and to go after those dreams you haven’t allowed yourself to dream of.
My hope is that this will become a place where you can find inspiration to acknowledge your dreams, and motivation to start working towards achieving them.
When I open the doors to Ms Styf (in late March if all goes to plan), I will use this space to share my knowledge, my experience and all the tips and tools I’ve collected over the years.
I will also do my best to make myself available, and to respond to your questions, to help get you started on your personal journey.
And, on that note, I guess I’d better stop writing on this early bird too excited to stop myself from writing kinda post and get back to the, far less exciting, ground work.
Hopefully, I’ll be able to invite you back to a live blog in a few weeks’ time.
I’d love to see you come back for the grand opening and, of course, many times after that too.
* Watch and chain is Cockney rhyming slang for brain
** Freedom from guilt applies to almost all people. For some, a little bit of guilt, would clearly be a good thing…