BY WAY OF BREAKTHROUGH DISCOVERIES IN BRAIN
SCIENCE & PSYCHOLOGY
Going for Your Dream:
A Crash Course
Real dreams don't require you to abandon your family, quit your job, and move to Tahiti with your paintbrush. They just require that you search your soul for that dream you put aside--and go for it. And watch your life light up.|
If you are experiencing extended unemployment, home foreclosure, mortgage under water, shattered career, divorce or you are just unhappy and unfulfilled, going for your dream may be a no-brainer.
But if you have a moderately tolerable lifestyle, going for your dream could be both exhilarating and scary.
I remember many a night waking up in cold sweat, thinking: what if I blow my safe, lucrative bureaucratic career for nothing by going for my investigative reporting/whistleblowing dream? What if after I do the exposes, nobody pays much attention, and I wind up fired or exiled to bureaucratic Siberia, as is the case with most whistleblowers. All my friends were saying: “Don’t do it Al, you’ll just be committing professional suicide.”
As it turned out, I succeeded beyond my wildest expectations and it was the best thing I ever done in my life. (Chapter 15, From Bureaucrat to Whistleblower.)
For a sneak preview of how some of the others profiled in Cutting Loose pulled off their dreams, click
Just find a notebook, (any notebook 8 by 4 inches or larger will do), and write on the cover “The Dream,” in bold letters. Or make a new computer directory with that name. Designate “Pleasure Inventory” as the first file, or the first notebook page heading.
Schedule an hour appointment with yourself where you won’t be disturbed. If you can put out a “Do Not Disturb” sign right now, then begin:
Get comfortable, take your shoes off, close your eyes, relax, and take three deep, slow breaths. Get centered, recall a time and place when you felt safe and happy. Re-experience that event now.
The next sixty minutes may seem more play than work. Once you get into a good place, you’ll start brainstorming. Don’t censor or criticize, nor try to be realistic, practical or consistent. The idea is to get in touch with your authentic self and unleash your creative forces. The weeding out process will come later.
•· Now harness the power of your brain’s reward pathways by putting together your Pleasure Inventory, and prioritize it. As rapidly and spontaneously as you can, jot down all the activities and things you enjoy doing, even if you haven’t done them recently or ever. After you can’t think of anything more, prioritize them, by putting the letters A, B or C next to them. “A” for extremely favorable, “B” for highly favorable, and ”C” for favorable.
·• Next, open a “Dream Scenarios” file, and repeatedly keep asking and writing out in detail the different scenarios that come up for you, after you pose yourself this question: “If there were no constraints, what would I like to be doing, how would I like to be living and where?”
• Record as many possible life scenarios as come up, in your “The Dream” notebook or computer file. It may take a number of these sessions to get together your Pleasure Inventory, prioritize it, and get fully in touch with your genuine dream.
Turn Your Dream Into Reality
But let’s face it: your dream will be nothing but a pipe dream, unless you can make it economically viable. You will need a continuous source of income.
This is where Cutting Loose – From Rat Race to Dream Lifestyles, comes in. Actively read the two-dozen profiles, pen in hand, jotting down in the margins your reactions, thoughts, feelings and ideas. Pay close attention to how they financed their dream lifestyles. Make this book a living, breathing part of your life.
Now depending on what you have come up with so far, decide whether you will be doing the dream by yourself or jointly: with your significant other, your entire family or compatible friend(s). In Cutting Loose, although single individuals outnumber the couples, there were even two families with small children who were sailing the seven seas.
Now Meld What You Have
· • Your prioritized Pleasure Inventory;
· • Either your individual or jointly shared dream;
· • The knowledge and experiences of how the two-dozen people in Cutting Loose made their dreams happen.
These factors make up the critical mass that you’ll need to implement your dream.
The Cutting Loose profiles are both models and case studies; but they are not blueprints. That’s why you, being a unique individual, will need to plan and work out your own, distinct dream.
And the profiles are not about people escaping the rat race to drop out and vegetate. Rather they are about normal, ordinary people (neither rich nor famous) tapping into their dreams to live adventurous lives in entrancing environments doing what they enjoy.
So now that you have an idea what your viable dream is, and have seen how it’s done—how the two-dozen ordinary people implemented their dreams—it’s time for you to get proactive. Once you work out the details of the plan, run it by someone whose judgment you trust to avoid any blind spots.
But what if you are stuck, are paralyzed by your inner demons or need more details on how to put together your dream lifestyle? Check out in the right column of this page the companion book, Unlock the Life You Want. Short title: Unlock Your Life.
If you have comments, questions, success or failure stories, please email them to me at Al@unlockyourlife.com.
Al Louis Ripskis
Author/Lifestyle Expert/SCORE Counselor
Erich Fromm: To die is poignantly bitter, but the idea of having to die without having lived [your dream] is unbearable.
© 2010 Al Louis Ripskis All rights reserved
Cutting Loose (1996) and Unlock the Life You Want (2001) are the self-explanatory playbooks/workbooks I’ve been using in counseling people for transitioning into more fulfilling lifestyles and capturing their dreams. To order one or both titles, add to Cart.