“There is nothing like a dream to create the future.”
Without dreams, what is life?
Our dreams and desires create our life. They lead us to our goals and outcomes and ultimately inspire us to create the life we live. At least they do when we put life enhancing actions to our dreams.
“The only thing that will stop you from fulfilling your dreams is you.”
There’s so much that’s important to explore and understand here. So let’s dig deeper…
Dreaming Big Dreams
Dreams come from your heart’s desire. They’re motivated by your values and strengths. What is important to you? What do you value? The first step in dreaming big and inspiring dreams is to work out and get clear on your values.
You know we have a fully functioning brain in our heart – a ‘heart-brain’. Neuroscience has recently discovered that we actually have a functioning system of neural tissue consisting of over 40,000 neurons in our heart. This heart-brain connects to our head-brain and other body systems and integrates information and sends messages out across our mind and body.
There is wisdom in your heart – in your heart-brain. Your heart is the seat of your desires and many of your emotions. Learn to tune into its signals and messages. Trust your heart. Ask it:
and then listen and look for the answers it provides. It will tell and show you your dreams and yearnings. And as it does, write them up on a Dreamlist. Create a list of all the things you dream about and want – a list of what’s important and inspires you. Make a collage of photos and pictures from magazines of these things. Make it beautiful. Put it up on the wall as a poster of dreams.
Notice also whether the things you’re dreaming about are based on ‘shoulds’ versus ‘desires’. Society, family and culture fill your head with generalisations and stereotypes about what’s right and what you ‘should’ want and do in your life. Some of these ‘shoulds’ are useful, but some are restrictive and will dampen and minimise your life - they are life denying rather than life enhancing.
Question all your rules, beliefs and ‘shoulds’. Make sure your dreamlist is truly filled with what you want for your life, with what will motivate and inspire you. Remember it’s the life you lead – it’s your life and you might want to dream BIG and amazing dreams and then lead yourself in achieving them.
Dreams versus Outcomes
Here’s an important distinction: dreams are not outcomes.
Yes, that’s right, there’s a huge difference between dreams and outcomes. Dreams are those things that you desire and would love to have or do in your life. But making dreams into reality takes time, effort, money and resources. Not all dreams can come true.
For a start, some dreams are incompatible with others. I’d love to spend my life traveling the world, not living in any one place, just wandering like a gypsy from experience to experience. I’d also love to live quietly and peacefully on a mountain retreat. Living and meditating in a cave, living an austere and transcendent existence. But then, I also dream of living in a city like Tokyo or London, filled with people and life and adventure and stimulus. I can’t live all three dreams at once. They don’t match. And of course, your dreams don’t have to match. They don’t have to be sensible. That’s what outcomes are for.
You need to begin by prioritising your dreamlist. Given the time limited lifetime we have and given the cost/risk/benefits involved in achieving your various dreams, which dreams would you most like to live first? What is the one dream you’d choose if you could only choose one? What would the next one be? What sequence do you want to achieve your dreams in? Prioritise your list.
Now, let’s talk about outcomes. Outcomes are those things that you are actively working towards achieving in your life. They’re the goals, plans and results that you’re making happen in your life. Outcomes set directions that you action. And according to NLP, for success in life you need to set well-formed outcomes. A well-formed outcome is one that:
- Is positive, worded positively and says what you want rather than what you don’t want.
- Is specific and behaviourally measurable – you can see, hear and feel what it would be like to have achieved the outcome.
- Is self-initiating and self-maintaining – only relies on yourself, not on others.
- Is supported by positive beliefs.
- Is ecological – has no negative consequences to you or the people you relate with or the systems in which you live.
- Is sufficiently resourced – you have all the resources, money, time and skills you need to achieve the outcome.
- Doesn’t have anything that can prevent it – it’s physically possible and you can overcome any obstacles.
- Is linked to and motivated by a clear purpose and set of values.
You see, the way to work with dreams and outcomes is to keep dreaming big dreams, making a prioritised list of them and then when you are ready, moving your dreams one at a time into becoming clear and well-formed outcomes.
Once you have set an outcome, use the NLP Success Formula to make the outcome happen. Remember, the Success Formula is:
- Clearly know your Outcome – know exactly what you want and ensure your outcome is well-formed, that it’s positive, achievable, believable and ecological.
- Take positive Action – congruently and wholeheartedly take action to achieve your outcome.
- Learn from Feedback – use your sensory acuity to determine if your actions are moving you closer or further away from your outcome. There’s no such thing as failure, just great feedback, cause if what you are doing is not moving you closer to your outcome then you need to perform the next step –
- Flexibility – change and adjust your behaviour (step 2) till you move closer to your outcome.
To know which dreams to make into outcomes do a cost/risk/benefit analysis of each dream at the top of your list. Grab a piece of paper and put 3 columns on it, then list each of the Costs, Risks and Benefits that the dream entails. Note that costs include more than money – there are costs in time, effort and the loss of other things that achieving the dream will cost you. Note also the distinction between ‘risk’ and ‘risky’. Some things are risky – that is, they involve risk that cannot be mitigated or controlled. Other experiences have associated risks, but these can be controlled.
For example, rock climbing using a rope and protection has an element of risk that is controlled by how much protection you use and how well you place it. Free climbing with no rope, no partner and no protection is risky. You just don’t know what is going to happen and have no mitigation against accidents and harm. If a rock dislodges and causes you to fall or be knocked unconscious then you suffer the fatal results. If you used a rope and protection to control the risk, an accident will merely leave you dangling from the rope and able to be lowered so you can climb another day. It’s important to ensure that your dreams are not risky before you move them to outcomes.
Once you’ve analysed the cost/risk/benefits of your dreams you can decide which ones are worthwhile turning into outcomes. Then think them through clearly to ensure they are well-formed and redesign them or fine-tune them until they are. Now you’re ready to take action. And that’s where being gutsy comes in.
Just like we have a brain in our heart, we also have a brain in our gut – it’s called the ‘enteric brain’, and consists of a functioning neural system of over 100 Millions neurons that thinks and communicates with the other brains in our body and head.
Being ‘gutsy’ - doing gutsy'ness - involves aligning your gut with your heart and your head. The gut-brain is attuned to fear and danger and is used to evaluate and prepare for risk. It’s also the seat of courage, strength and determination.
To help yourself do ‘gutsy'ness’ – to have the courage to make your dreams into outcomes and then live them – you can use your heart-brain to talk to your enteric-brain and get all of your brains aligned.
You do this by thinking of times and situations in which you’ve been positive, strong and courageous. Fill your heart with positive, strong and loving feelings. Amplify and centre those feelings. Breathe them into your heart and chest. Then when you are really feeling the positive heart feelings, move them slowly down into your gut. You’ll experience an amazing flow of strength and motivation in the pit of your stomach, across your torso. Some people feel it as a warmth or a tingling or an uplifting sense of positive courage.
This is how you build courage in yourself. It’s how you flood your life with the passion and strength to live your dreams. Hold your dreams on high. Make them into compelling and inspiring outcomes. Align your head, heart and gut. And move yourself forward into an enhanced life of loving and fulfillment.
Invest in your Self
It is the life you lead! So lead it well. Invest in enhancing your life and your future. Build up your knowledge and skills. Determine your strengths and then build on them. Focus your life. Gain as many and as varied experiences as you can. Educate yourself. The more you invest in your self and your life, the more you’ll be able to live life enhancing dreams. Life is a wondrous adventure and there is nothing like living an amazing dream to create an amazing future now.
Wishing you awesome, life enhancing dreams!
And here's some great books to help you dream BIG dreams and put them into action...
"Live Your Dreams... Let Reality Catch Up helps you discover who you are, what really motivates you and provides you with the knowledge and tools for you to choose what you want in life."
21 Days To Creating Your Dream Life
"This empowering book shows how changing the way a person thinks can radically transform their life; it is an excellent guide to help get anyone on the path to creating success and abundance. It is a step-by-step inspirational guide with real life examples to leave a powerful and lasting impact in the readers mind. It takes the reader through the necessary steps to start changing their thoughts and beliefs so they can achieve their dream life. You will learn more about how your perceptions control everything you see and hear, while providing useful life tools to create a better life."
You Can If You Think You Can: Rebound From Adversity And Follow Your Dreams
"Our true worth comes not from what others may think or say about us, but from what we believe about ourselves. Hope, encouragement, motivation and practical strategies to overcome adversity, rebuild self-esteem and fulfill one’s most cherished Dream goals is what this book is all about. It will change your attitude and change your life."