Everybody has dreams, and I’m not talking about psychological threat simulation, I’m talking about high-rising goals that burst through the clouds. Everybody wishes the world was better somehow, and wishes they could do something amazing.
Well, the world can be better, and you can do something amazing. It just takes a process.
Step 1: Imagine your unlimited self
If you had no limits – absolutely no limits – infinite money, infinite strength, magical powers, you name it – what would you do? How would you make the world a better place? What competitions would you win? What experiences would you seek out? Who would you talk to? What would you accomplish?
Take a moment and think about those questions seriously. And remember that “no limits” includes ridiculousness. Wanting to fly to Jupiter on a motorcycle is a fine dream.
Step 2: Write down those dreams
Now write it all down in a big list. Try to put each dream in a single phrase, like “fight world hunger” or “end poverty” or “fly to Jupiter on a motorcycle”.
At this point you may be tempted to ignore some of the dreams you had because they were stupid. But remember, there are still no limits. I haven’t taken that rule away yet. Write everything down.
If you’re drawing a blank, it may be helpful to think about what you wanted when you were little. What were your dreams then? Are they still your dreams now? Write them down.
Step 3: Put some limits back, but not all of them
At this point you have a list of lots of crazy dreams. Now I’m crowning you Emperor of the Earth, and it is your duty to accomplish all of those dreams. You need to ask yourself, what would have to be done for this to become a reality?
The rules this time are a little more limited: you have infinite money, infinite manpower, and infinite resources, but only one lifetime, and no magic. With those limits, what would it take to do this?
For example, say your dream was to eliminate poverty. If the whole world was behind you on this, what would everybody have to do to eliminate poverty? Think about that for a minute and develop a plan.
And still don’t throw away the ridiculous dreams. If you really want to fly a motorcycle to Jupiter, what would have to be done?
Step 4: Time to get rational
Okay, now you have a list of dreams and an idea of how the universe could accomplish them. But now I have to tell you something.
You alone will not accomplish any of these dreams today. Or tomorrow.
I’m sorry to whip that out on you. You probably feel like this entire article has been a waste of time now. But we’re not finished yet!
Just because your dreams are far-fetched, crazy and unbelievable doesn’t mean they’re impossible. You proved that to yourself just now in step 3 – if you had enough money and power you could definitely accomplish these dreams, right?
So now, sit back for a minute and think about what you’d actually have to do to START accomplishing these dreams. What would everyday, not-infinitely-rich people have to do to get this thing done?
This time we’re looking for concrete actions. Things you could actually do. This week. If you wanted to end poverty, what would you need to do this week?
Step 5: Action items
Now you have an idea of what to do for each dream; time to plan.
Next to each of your dreams you wrote down, write down one thing you could do this week that would further the dream, even if it’s just a little bit.
To start fighting poverty, you could donate to a charity, or write to a politician about a related issue, or start a blog raising awareness about the problem, or sign up for volunteer work.
To start getting a motorcycle to Jupiter, you could start studying rocket science, or get a motorcycle license, or read a book about solar system astronomy, or start a Facebook group to convince people to join you in this effort.
Whatever it takes, pick something and write it down like you’re going to do it. (But don’t do it yet.)
Step 6: Narrow down your list
If you’re a free-living rich person with tons of energy, you might be able to do all the things you just wrote down. You’re probably not that person, though.
So now take a minute and think about which dreams are the most important to you. It may be helpful to use the “what if I died tomorrow” thought exercise. If you woke up in heaven tomorrow, and somebody asked you what you did the day before, what would you tell them?
“I read a book about astronomy because I wanted to fly to Jupiter on a motorcycle.”
Pick just a few things from your list and circle them.
Step 7: Do the Things
It’s time to commit. Promise yourself that you will Do the Things. (The things you circled, I mean.)
If it helps you, schedule out a specific time this week to get each of the things you circled done. Regardless of how you do it, you should commit yourself to getting it done no matter what comes up. If you only have time to hit one thing on your list of dreams, that’s good enough.
Step 8: Repeat
Repeat this process often, looking back at your dreams and coming up with things to do about them. If you did this every week for a year, you’d be 52 steps closer to fulfilling some of your dreams. That’s a lot of steps.
You don’t have to do the whole process every week – sometimes it’s enough to just look at your list and make new plans. Whatever specific process you follow, you can feel awesome knowing you’re really doing something, not just doing something.
And think about it – if everyone in the world did one thing to end poverty, we might have the manpower to end it once and for all!