I Have a Dream!

by Mark on March 23, 2010

Okay, so I’m no Martin Luther King, Jr., but I still have a dream. In yesterday’s post Preparing for the 90-Day Challenge, I recommended beginning by clarifying your dream and creating a long-term vision for your life. I think dreams are important to guide us and give us direction. Without a vision of what we want for our lives, we stagnate. Our lives lack coherence and consistency. We lack purpose. Our vision is the starting point that provides a framework for our decision making.

Just imagine if you wanted to take a vacation somewhere but you weren’t clear where you wanted to go or what you wanted to do. Can you imagine how difficult it would be to plan your trip? But if you had a vision of yourself swimming in blue waters, playing with dolphins, laying on a beach with white sand, and similar activities, you would be in a far better position to begin to make decisions. This is what a vision does for you.

Your vision could be something grandiose and astonishing or it could be something very simple. It’s up to you. The one thing that I recommend, however, is to develop a vision for your life that excites you but that you think is achievable. Some personal development gurus suggest that we should pretend that we have no limitations whatsoever.

While this might make sense in the brainstorming stage when we are just trying to generate ideas, I think it is harmful once we bring those ideas together into a vision for our lives. Anything that is far beyond what we truly believe to be possible is not going to motivate us. Without the motivation that is going to drive us to take action, we aren’t going to make it happen, so why bother? This is why I recommend creating a vision that is both amazing and doable.

What Should a Vision Contain?

Your vision can have anything you want. Everyone’s vision will be very different. I wouldn’t worry too much about the structure. Just try to get some clarity about what would be exciting to you.

However, here are some questions to spark your thinking:

  • How do I want to spend my time?
  • What do I like to do?
  • What don’t I like to do?
  • Is there “work” that I would do just for the pleasure of it?
  • Would I enjoy starting a business?
  • Where do I want to live?
  • Do I want to live near the ocean? In a big city? A wooded area?
  • Do I want a simple, minimalist home with lots of space?
  • Do I want a home that is filled with artistic pieces and beautiful furniture?
  • What kind of income do I want to earn?
  • Do I want to be debt free?
  • Do I want a large investment portfolio?
  • Do I want to travel?
  • What do I want to learn?
  • Do I want to spend my time volunteering to help those in need?
  • Do I want to be able to donate large sums of money to charity?
  • Do I want to live in a “green” home?

These are just some ideas to get you started. Your vision shouldn’t necessarily answer so many questions. It doesn’t need to be a book of every single detail that you would like to see in your life. In yesterday’s post, I mentioned that a vision is like a movie. A movie has a plot, characters, a set, and a mood, but it necessarily omits many excess details. Create a vision with broad strokes instead of an encyclopedia about your life.

Also, expect that your vision will evolve over time. My current vision for my life is dramatically different from what it was years ago. When I was younger, my vision revolved mostly around things. Now it revolves mostly around experiences.

My dreams excite me. Do yours?

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