If you think I’m here today to analyze your dreams, you’d be incorrect. What I’m here today to talk about is how we psych ourselves out of reaching our dreams before we even try to pursue accomplishing them.
See if you recognize yourself in some way in the following scenario:
You think that dreams have to be done on a large scale in order to be considered a dream. For example, you like to run and you enjoy challenging yourself to go farther distances. In your mind, a dream might be to run The Boston Marathon. But, you’v e never even run a marathon, and, truth be told, you’ve never run longer than 7 miles at a time. So, in reality, you know that running in The Boston Marathon is a huge stretch that will likely never happen. In other words, you’ve psyched yourself out because your dream, at this point in time, is so huge that it’s not feasible in the foreseeable future, so, forget about it; why bother trying.
Wow! Before you even get started working on your dream, you’ve talked yourself out of it; you’ve not developed self-confidence, a factor in the psychology of dreaming. Pierre Omidyar, founder of EBay, says “A lot of people don’t just go ahead and try things. They’ll have an idea and they’ll say – they’ll convince themselves or other people will convince them that it can’t be done.” Omidyar says regarding these two choices, “the first is even more dangerous and serious. It’s convincing yourself that it can’t be done.”
So let’s take that scenario of running The Boston Marathon and see if, with implementing some strategies, we can psych ourselves into reaching our dream. (You can substitute running in the Boston Marathon with one of your own dreams.)
First, start small. Before you learned to run, you had to learn to walk. And before that, you had to learn to crawl. So, before you can run a marathon, you have to learn how to run consistently longer distances. And you have to learn what to eat, how to hydrate, and how to rest. The Internet is loaded with information on training for running marathons. Do some research, put together and implement a plan toward running some races, maybe a half-marathon to start.
Second, work on a sense of progression. If you run some races, and you enjoyed them, then you can move toward training for a marathon. Research, plan, and practice some more to work on this step toward your ultimate dream. Develop self-confidence and improve your time by running a marathon (or several). If you still want to run in The Boston Marathon, then research what you must achieve to be accepted as a runner. Research, plan, and practice some more.
Third, dreams change, and that’s OK. If along the way, you realize that running marathons, Boston or otherwise, are not for you, then that’s perfectly fine. And, it’s not a failure. Did you learn new skills? Did you accomplish more than you ever thought you would? Did you have fun? Did you meet new people? Did you discover something else that you’d be more passionate about?
So you invested your time, sweat and energy and came out with some different benefits than you thought. Psyching yourself into pursuing dreams is awesome. Life is good!