Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Create your Ideal Scene

This is the seventh in a 10-part series of posts on some simple actions that always lead to happiness!  Read the original post that frames this discussion HERE.

What if I told you that you could create exactly the life that you have always dreamed about?  Possible or Impossible?  Whichever answer you chose you are correct either way.  If you think that it is impossible or not “practical” then you fall into the category of people who have given up on your dreams for your life.  Please read on if this is you because it is never too late to go for your dreams!

Ali.  Need I say more?

We grow up as kids with our parents, family, and educators telling us that we can be anything that we want to when we grow up.  Dream big!  Somewhere along the way between high school, college, and the first few jobs in the “real world” things change.  Society expects us to “grow up” and “be responsible” and “get a real job”.  It is now time to leave those childish fantasies behind and conform to the norms that friends, family, and society in general foist upon us.

I am telling you right now to not listen to any of these people!  Who says that the pursuit of one’s dreams has a time limit or an expiration date?  What is it the age? 18, 21, 25, 30?  Pick a number.  The higher the number the more pressure to conform by those who have already given up on their dream!  Is that who you want to listen too?

The PIXAR movie Up.  A great tale of life and dreams.

I am a parent.  I have three amazing kids aged 16, 13, and 9.  I have always told my kids that they can do anything that they want with their life.  It is theirs to live.  My expectations for what they “should” be doing do not matter.  As long as they are happy, healthy and fulfilled by their daring pursuits of their dreams in this life I will always support them and be happy.  Many people feel that once you have kids that you should put your own dreams on the back burner and make it all about your kids.  Personally, I think that is a horrible example and message to send to your kids.  I do not want them to ever stop pursuing their dreams in this life.  Not when they have kids or when they become a grandparent. 

Everyone should dare to dream big all the days of their life and have the courage to pursue those dreams.  What would you do if you know you could not fail?  What is the worst thing that could happen if your plans in pursuit of your dream do not initially work out?  The key to success in life is to fall seven times and get up eight!  I am 42 years old.  Those of you who follow my posts on a regular basis or know me have seen the journey I have been on the past 3-4 years.  After 15 years of slowly surrendering my dreams I finally reconnected with my true self and found the fortitude, courage, and sense of adventure to go for it!  There were many people in my life that criticized me or discouraged me from my new direction.  These were the ones who had too long ago surrendered their dreams.  I did not listen.  Instead I surrounded myself with like-minded spirits and other positive messages to buoy me along way of my new fantastic voyage.  My journey continues.

I stood on this exact spot after running 2,448 miles across Route 66 in 18 days.

So, for the last 3-4 years I have been working to create my ideal scene.  How did I get started?  First I dared to dream and threw out every limitation as to what was possible that I had gathered along my journey up to this point.  If I was considering something that seemed unrealistic I would ask myself:  “Why not?  Who says I cannot pursue this.  What is the worst thing that can happen?”  There was a book that I came across that was very timely to this renaissance I was experiencing at that time a few years ago:  The Type-Z Guide to Success- A Lazy Person’s Manifesto for Wealth and Fulfillment by Marc Allen.  This is a great read.  I go back to it again and again.  His viewpoints obviously run counter to the Type-A mentality that permeates much of our consumer-driven society and the pursuit of what I call “stuff”.

One of the first exercises that he has the reader do is to stop and take out a blank sheet of paper and write “Ideal Scene” on the top of the page.  He then encourages the reader to describe in great detail EXACTLY what their ideal life looks like.  A day in the life so to speak.  What does your life look like from the time you wake up until the time you go to bed that day in your ideal life?  Where do you live?  What do you do?  How do you spend the different parts of your day? Relationships?  Car?  House?  Describe it all exactly the way you want it to look.  I am not going to tell you about my ideal scene here because this is not about what I consider to be ideal.  This is all about you and the world you seek to create for yourself.

He follows it up with several other exercises that keep you moving this idea of your ideal scene forward by breaking it down into some specific goal with specific action steps.  All of this is done in a very relaxed, but proactive way supported with lots of positive affirmations of your goals.  I like this approach because it employs time-tested methods of goal setting along with a Zen-like approach to being in harmony with one’s true self.  I could elaborate for a couple of thousand words on this, but instead I will just encourage you to read the book.  It is a quick easy read that is powerful, and poignant.  My copy is beautifully dog-eared, tattered, and full of notes and highlights.  Its sits on my kitchen table as I speak.

Part of my ideal scene involves lots of travel!

Has your life become something completely unrecognizable from what you had hoped for it to become?  Do you feel like you have lost control or direction of your life and are helpless to change the course as you are swept along by the fast moving current?  This is one of my favorite quotes by Paulo Coelho:

“What's the world's greatest lie?... It's this: that at a certain point in our lives, we lose control of what's happening to us, and our lives become controlled by fate.”

I do believe life is a wonderful combination of destiny and free will.  We ultimately have a destination we are bound for, but we have choices to make along the path.  We can move ourselves from one current of life and change our direction 180 degrees at any moment of our choosing.  Do it now.  Take out a blank piece of paper and dream big!