We forget how to dream. Ours is a big world, with so much room for dreams. But we allow the frantic pace of modern life constrict our dreams, downsize them, whittle them down to nothing. We forget that our dreams are precious assets and just as we often sell our time for money, we often sell our dreams for money.
Guarding your dreams and keeping them alive isn’t enough. Delaying your dreams is destroying your dreams. You can’t hold them a fixed distance away; if you aren’t getting closer to them, they’ll get further away. The opposing forces are so great that most who put their dreams on hold never return to them. You have to actively honor and nourish them.
Don’t say “I’ll do it when I have more time.” You have time now: twenty-four hours per day. You have more time now than you’ll ever have again; tomorrow you’ll have twenty-four fewer hours left. Those with a “someday” mentality, who plan to defer their dreams for just a few years, until they have more time, more money, more whatever, typically find themselves saying the same thing a few years later. Once the flame is extinguished, it’s rarely reignited. Prioritizing the daily busyness of life above your dreams confuses urgency with importance. Simplify, focus, and learn to say no, to make room for your dreams.
Before following your dreams, make sure you have the right dreams. Don’t chase someone else’s dream. Don’t dream of becoming a celebrity or professional athlete just because that’s what your friends want or because society glamorizes those roles. And if it was your childhood dream, be suspicious; did the childhood version of you really know the future you well enough to choose your career path?
Don’t be afraid to dream new dreams. As you upgrade your life you should be upgrading your dreams. Think big: you are capable of much more than you realize. Don’t let small minds tell you what you can or can’t do, and don’t accept a reality in which your dreams are impossible. But find the middle way: be optimistic but not unrealistic. Estimate your chances of success. Factor in how badly you want it and how much you’re willing to sacrifice to make it happen. Talk to people who have achieved it, to make sure it brought them meaningful happiness, or whatever you’re hoping to get from it.
No one else will care about your dreams as much as you, so you are the one who must make them happen. Don’t give up on yourself, even if everyone else seems to. Take the risks your dreams require, and don’t let anyone or anything get in your way.
In addition to nurturing your dreams, save enough time and energy to make someone else’s dreams come true too. Figure out what people want most and find a way to give it to them. Bring them the love they’ve been looking for. Mentor them so they can help change the world.