People pursue their dreams in different ways. Some invest most, if not all, their time in the dream. Others invest some time in the dream, but the vast majority of their time turning that dream into reality.
These two approaches are as different as the results they yield.
Passive dreaming is waiting for the world to give you what you want. A lot of people live their lives passively dreaming. Rather than figuring out what they need to do to get the promotion and then doing those things, they expect it to fall into their lap. Rather than working on their relationships, they sit back and just expect them to be great. Rather than actively dreaming, they simply wait for the right opening that always seems to be around the corner but never comes.
These people have life-depleting dreams.
Active dreaming is different. Active dreaming demands intention, effort, and confidence that the effort will yield results even while waiting for results. Active dreaming requires effort and patience. It means not only applying for the promotion but also taking the time to build the skills required to put yourself in the best position to succeed. Active dreaming means starting the business, writing the book, and doing the hard work of getting in shape.
Active dreaming puts you in the best position to actually get what you want. There is almost always an action you can take to improve the odds that your dream turns into reality.
We don’t make money because we want to make money.
We make money because someone else values what we do.
I teach every one of my clients that the research is overwhelmingly clear that people who deeply want to be happy — people who focus on being happy — are consistently unhappy. Why? Because if you focus on the goal, then you are not focusing on what matters, and those are the inputs — the plan, the resources, the actions — that are necessary to achieve the goal.
Sure, have a goal. Dream big. But then invest the vast majority of your time in the actions required to realize your dream. Build the plan. Figure out the resources you require. Scope the deficiencies. Recruit and onboard the people you need to get you from here to there. Then, do the work and be patient.
Embrace the stoic philosophy that you are exactly where you are supposed to be, doing the work you need to do, learning the lessons you need to learn, and living the life you were meant to live.