Wednesday, March 03, 2010

What limits your dreaming?

When I was young, I believed that I could learn anything, do anything, go anywhere, be anyone. All I would need to do was apply myself to the task at hand and the world would unfold before me. It was a good time to live.

As each year passed, I began to set limits on those things. The world became smaller and smaller as I grew more cynical and realized that I wouldn't actually be able to have an unlimited life ahead of me.

I think that at some point, I introduced too much reality into myself and began to eliminate flights of fancy and dreams that reached beyond me. I no longer trusted that I could do all things. Hah, that's funny. It's one of my favorite verses, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." I knew I believed scripture to be true, but I was setting limits about those 'all things.'

I was too old to learn new things or too set in my ways to try wild things. I had too many responsibilities to be traipsing around the world or change my life. I forgot how to dream.

As I was reading something by Seth Godin, he talked about how he learned the techniques for brainstorming while participating in a young business person's club in college. He and four friends changed his business school because they dreamed up grand schemes and figured out how to implement them.

I had lost the technique of even dreaming up grand schemes. As I thought about that, I realized that what I had done to myself was build walls that shut out my dreams. Those walls were made thicker by my fears ... of failure, ridicule, loss. I knew what life could do to a person. I knew how bad things could get and I couldn't imagine facing massive change without the elasticity of youth - whether physical, mental or emotional. I quit dreaming.

That was the biggest loss over the last 20+ years. That is the greatest thing I have recovered in the last year.

The difference now is that while I know what real life looks like and I know that there are limits to what I am able to do, learn, where I can go, who I can be, what I can afford, I don't have to let those limits stop me from actually dreaming about a bigger life. When I allow my mind to take off into flights of fancy, I can begin constructing a realistic path. I can reorganize the dream into something that might actually come true.

It was a wonderful thing to remember what dreaming can do for me. What about you?

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