In 2000 I was finishing up my degree in Physical and Health Education at the University of Toronto and had been working as a personal trainer for about 6 months. Since the club I worked at was located in the same shopping mall as a Chapters Book Store, I would often spend my breaks among clients reading inspiring books.
One of the earlier books I picked up was called Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill. Not only did this book educate me about the ways in which the mind can lead us, it inspired me to begin Dreaming. Until that time, my life had been one of automatic movements – the treadmill of life had me moving along through high school, and then University. I had not been faced with the reality of conscious, directive, choice; although I had chosen to go to University, once encompassed, my life was basically locked in for the next 4 years.
Managing my mind was something I had taken for granted. And while I knew I could control and change my thoughts, directing those thoughts in a consistent and disciplined manner was an exercise I had not undertaken.
Enter – Napoleon Hill.
Mr. Hill points out in his book the compelling notice that a man becomes what he thinks most about. He can choose to fill his thoughts with despair, negativity, and hopelessness, or he can illinate his mind with wonderful and bright ideas of change, growth, and new experiences. Because I had been responding to my thoughts as if they were directing me, this concept of being able to resume the driver's seat and explore big ideas was exciting.
I began to consider; if I could do something amazing, something inspiring, something life changing and deeply fulfilling, what would it be? Would I write books, start a business, or travel the world? Would I make music, or sing, or dance? Would I help others by innovating a unique product or service? What would I create if I set my mind loose to Dream a Big Dream?
And that ignited within me the practice of entertaining ideas about how I would spend my future. Interestingly, and almost 5 years later to the day, I was introduced to a multi-billion dollar industry called network marketing. But what I have missed most since leaving the field is the fact that network marketer's know how to dream. Whether it's dreaming of financial freedom, dreaming of working for oneself, or dreaming of helping hundreds or thousands of people change their lives, network marketer's are not afraid to dream.
People who are not afraid to dream are inspiring. They have decided that their life has value, and because of that, they deserve to become and do what they have created within themselves.
Sometimes dreaming can be scary; we become afraid that we will not achieve the object of our desires. We became worried that others would offer support in the form of, "I told you it would not work". We become paralyzed by the fear of not getting things just perfect, and in the process, we succeed in not taking even a single step towards a life that could be deeply enriching and extremely fascinating.
We become entrenched in the grind of day-to-day, subsumed by the lethargic energy of those around us who too seem to have forgotten that, by altering their thoughts and reflecting for a moment or two on a larger vision of themselves, they might achieve something Great.
We became consumed by that nagging little voice called self-doubt; at every little turn, he sees to know just what to say to keep us locked, stuck, small. He will not seem to allow us to believe that we are meant to be good, and that we do deserve to find fulfillment through our work and relationships.
You can …
You will …
You must Begin … in order to Become.
Know this; the moment you set in your mind a goal to be achieved, life will test your power to see if you have the necessary inner reserves required for the realization of that goal. Dreams, as with Truth, do not come cheaply. They do not roll over and cock their head for just anyone. They do not offer themselves without first knowing that you are serious, and that you will respect them.
That is why making our dreams come true is a process. It functions much as a relationship, edging forward in time, each side feeling the other out, building trust, deepening communication, seeking to know that if they reveal them through through vulnerability, that you will not abandon them at the halfway point.
No, Dreams are too important to be deal with so casually. When we diminish our capacity for Dreaming, we lose a part of ourselves, a part of what it means to be human.
Dreams will not take a chance on a half-committed heart, any more than you will reveal yourself to someone who has one foot in your direction and the other foot pointing towards someone else.
Dreaming is not some pie-in-the-sky escape from reality; it is about allowing your heart and mind to imagine what life could be … what life can be.
Dreaming is about reconnecting with the innocence of childhood, revisiting the outside-the-box thinking of adolescence, and blending in a dose of the reality of adulthood.
Imagine … a young boy from Stratford Ontario from a single mom … now living his Dream, sharing what is in his heart and soul, performing for millions of people across the globe. Enter Justin Bieber. Had he not made the choice to sit out front of the Stratford theater strumming his guitar for eager theater goers, night after night, his life may have taken a very different path. But he chose courage.
Imagine … an awkward University kid innovating a compiling way to connect people through the web. Enter Mark Zuckerberg. Facebook is today valued in the billions.
Imagine … a young boy who was the product of rape, struggling to understand the meaning and purpose of his life, and now through his television show, generating millions worldwide to feed starving children across the globe. Enter James Robinson.
You may have believed that your life has no meaning … that you are meant to remain addicted, depressed, anxious, and small. But you have a choice. Sometimes you may feel as if you have no choice at all. But if you are to reclaim your power and discover who you can become, you must begin to accept that you have choice.
You can choose to find the courage to strum your guitar out front of the Stratford theater for passersby, or you can choose to stay at home and play video games.
You can choose to conceive of innovative ways to connect people through the web, or you can choose to remain selfish and depressed.
You can choose to believe that because you were born as a result of your mother being raped that you have no value, or you can develop a relationship with God and let him work through you to feed starving children everywhere.
These things, and many more, exist for you too. You may have a hard time believing this because of what others have told you to believe about yourself. But do not let the pain and limitation of another become your legacy. If you do, they win, and you lose.
Use the energy of frustration and anger and sadness to drive you into action, to drive you toward understanding and resolving your personal challenges. Thousands have experienced severe anxiety, and thousands have learned to master it. Thousands have suffered from debilitating dis-eases, and thousands have overcome them. Thousands have been stuck in a spin cycle of addiction for decades, and thousands have learned to find peace and happiness.
You can too … if that is what you choose to commit to. You have to decide for yourself what your life will become.
Perhaps it is time to stop believing you are inadequate, and dys-functional, and incapable, and write a new story. Perhaps it is time to Dream of something Greater for yourself, and so long as you stay the course, the answers will reveal them at the appropriate time and not a moment sooner.
Figure out what needs to be done, and begin doing it. Today. Right now. The sooner you get started, the sooner you'll experience the benefits.
Stay Well My Friends.