402: The Critical First Step to Accomplishing Your Dreams
My unconsciousness nights are filled with a lot of weird but exciting dreams. I’m talking action movie stuff. Like most movie heroes, I make it out alive in inexplicable ways. (I still haven’t figured out how I outran an assassin while driving a forklift down railroad tracks.)
My favorite dreams are the Inception dreams—the dreams within dreams or the dreams when I realize I can manipulate the plot without impacting my conscious reality.
Last Saturday night, I had an Inception dream like none other. I had woken up a lot throughout the night, and a bunch of disparate stories didn’t get finished. An hour or two before I had to get out of bed, I dreamt that I had all of those stories in front me on a scrollable menu. Think iTunes or Netflix. I could hit play on any of them and resume the action.
I wish I had that option every night. Can you imagine what it would be like to explore your unconscious brain with serial episodes? I bet it would be akin to those Choose Your Own Adventure books popular when I was in junior high. I could chase all the alternate endings. I could pursue things I would not dare during my conscious hours. Spoiler: it would be lots of Point Break and James Bond, adrenaline rushes and dodged bullets.
When I awoke from the scrolling dream, I had a lot of time alone to process the previous night. I couldn’t get that final dream out of my head. I was struck by the idea that my conscious—real—life is filled with lots of dreams slowly scrolling through a virtual menu. Almost every day, I slide my heart over one, trying to decide if that’s the one whose Resume button I’ll tap. Should I pursue this idea? That friendship? This extracurricular activity? That vacation? That real estate project?
Whether you realize it or not, you’ve got the same scroll. Sure, your dreams probably look different from mine. So do your options and their respective viability. You might have more or fewer options vying for the top spot. If you’re like me, there are a few in the back of the queue that you don’t even preview anymore.
The danger comes in the hesitation, the indecision. Analysis paralysis can keep you from getting any of them—like when you spend so much time flipping through the movie options that you end up not watching anything.
Rather than keep scrolling, we must choose a dream or two and jump in. We can always pause or stop later, when we’ve spent more time on the path; but we’ve got to move past the trailhead parking lot.
So far this year, I’m leaning into my bucket list, my new years resolutions, and the next phase of my career. Recently, I visited my seventh continent. Today, I attended the first of four national conferences I’m attending in 2018 to get better at legacy-building commitments. This summer, I’ll be making a dream I’ve had for years come true—turning a “someday” wish into something I’ve experienced and documented. In my spare hours, I’ve been chopping away on launching a big, challenging project I’ve kicked around in my head for maybe a decade.
That doesn’t mean I’m getting to the bottom of my to-do lists or that I’ve got it all together. I’m just spending less time scrolling through both my options and other peoples’ documented accomplishments. Less pinning and more doing. Less complaining and more journaling. Almost no spectator sports and almost daily hiking in the woods. Fewer movies and no TV.
Maybe that’s why entertainment options have resorted to my nocturnal Hulu.
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