7 Ways to Rediscover Your Dreams

  • Someday Lesson: Make a choice to live your passions, not your expectations.

Sergio Tudela on Flickr.comI live surrounded by people who do what they love, whether it’s being self-employed or working for someone else. And while some people do have jobs they’re not passionate about, they have dreams they’re chasing.

Because of that, I forget that a good percentage of the people in Western society live by expectations. They went to college or university and took what was expected of them. They got married, settled in the suburbs and had kids because that’s what everyone else does. And they work to pay bills for things that everyone else owns.

Don’t get me wrong – if people actively choose this lifestyle then I’m happy for them – there’s nothing bad at all about what I described above. I just don’t like it when people choose to live how they think others expect them to rather than how they want to.

In fact, I’d say that most people who live based on expectations have no clue what they really want. However, even though they’ve buried their dreams so far down they don’t even know they have them, the dreams come through as a kind of itch, ache or longing.

Life is meant to be full of passion and chasing after desires, not going from life to death without experiencing joy. If you think you might be one of those people who has buried your dreams so that you could live how others expected you to live, you don’t have to continue like that. Here are seven ways that you can rediscover your dreams and add passion back into your life.

1. Talk to your preteen self
Before we started worrying too much about growing up and settling down, we had a pretty good idea of what we wanted out of life. A child has fantasy dreams and adults for the most part worry about being grown ups and being responsible. Our preteens selves, however, had a good mix of wonder and practicality. Are you doing what you wanted when you were that age? And if not, can you explain why without using the words “I grew up”?

2. Do something out of your routine
Many of us live using the autopilot. By breaking our routines, we open ourselves up to making conscious choices and to shaking ourselves out of a kind of stupor. Once we’ve broken the bonds of habit, our desires and dreams can start sliding through the cracks in the wall of comfort we’ve built around ourselves.

3. Think about what terrifies you
I don’t mean “spiders” – I mean think of an action where your response is “I could never do that” then ask yourself why not? Most things we say that about we secretly want to do it but we’re just scared.

4. Ask someone else what they think your dream is
Often our friends and family know what we want more than we are willing to admit to ourselves. In your question do not use the words should or need – that’s asking for their opinion which means they will project their own desires onto you. Ask them instead to start the sentence with “I believe you want to…” and they will have a harder time tell you their own hidden dreams.

5. Pretend you have amnesia
While we are shaped by our past, too often we let it define us and box us into making certain choices. By pretending to have amnesia the only things open to us are the present and the future. Given how you feel in the moment and forgetting everything that has happened in the past, ask yourself what you want for the future.

6. Write “I want to…” thirty times and start filling it in
Asking ourselves what we want usually produces a quick answer, something habitual, but if we go deeper and keep asking the same question over and over we force ourselves to find hidden desires and dreams. If you can complete the sentence “I want to…” thirty times without struggling, up the number to 50, or 75 or 100 – whatever it takes to start pulling out the dreams you’ve hidden in dark corners of your mind.

7. Throw away your plans
While some people live too much in the past, others live too much in the future. They create plans and set them in motion following through on them without thinking. Trouble is people and situations change. Plans need re-evaluating. We need to stop the plan and ask ourselves whether we still really want this dream or whether we are just moving forward with momentum instead of passion.

Pick one of the above actions and do it today. Don’t wait. You deserve to fulfill your dreams. Now.

And if you want more help with discovering your dreams, check out the ebook Someday My Ship Will Come In.

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17 thoughts on “7 Ways to Rediscover Your Dreams

  1. Andy Hayes says:

    Great post! I love 1, 2, 3, 4, and 7 especially. Especially the “ask someone else” – it is funny to hear people’s answers when you ask them. When I finally busted my Somedays I had a lot of people say, you’ve always had a way with words, it is no surprise….

    Andy Hayes´s last blog post..World’s Most Inspirational Honeymoon Destinations

  2. It’s hard to recognize you’ve turned on the autopilot since it runs you past all the signs that outwardly indicate success. Those expectations we end up living by can be a painful trap (‘money can’t buy happiness, don’t ya know’). I like your steps for yanking control of the steering column back, specially ‘talk to your pre-teen self.’ There’s a personality that won’t be happy to settle!

  3. This is GREAT advice, especially #1. I’ve been reading through my old journals lately and it’s been so inspiring to me!

    Positively Present´s last blog post..a happy life is not a perfect life

  4. Cara says:

    Funny how you mention Western society being bound by expectations. If you think Western society is bad, have you ever wondered why there are so many Asians in medicine and engineering? The expectations, especially from family members, can be crushing. I still haven’t figured out how to balance my obligation to care for my parents when they’re old (and the tons of money required) vs. my own dreams.

  5. May I add to the part on throwing away plans.

    There’s definitely tons of old plans that we may have – I personally do have some – that are just stagnating. Throwing them away helps keeping our mind clear to accomplish the current plan that is taking off.

    Daniel Richard´s last blog post..Q: What To Do When You Are Confined At Home For 3 Weeks Of Illness? A: Make Money Online To Pay The Bills!

  6. […] this out! 7 Ways to Re-discover Your Dreams by Alex […]

  7. Alex Fayle says:

    @Andy
    I’ve always found asking others fascinating because they have such a totally different view of me than I have of myself.

    @Fred
    That is the real challenge of turning off the autopilot. It’s like the fight the Captain has with the autopilot in Wall-E which did not want to get turned off. 😉

    @Positively Present
    My old journals are back at my parents and I’m tempted to bring them over here with me to take a look at them (and cringe! 😉 )

    @Cara
    I’ve heard and seen that but having never experienced Eastern culture first-hand I didn’t want to comment on it – thanks for adding your point of view!

    @Daniel
    Old plans! I have a whole bunch of them I get rid of on a regular basis.

  8. Excellent stuff, Alex. Just finishing reading and reviewing a book called ONO, Options Not Obligations. A lot of similar thinking between your post and the book.
    .-= Meryl K. Evans´s last blog ..How to Run a Successful Twitter Chat =-.

  9. Alex Fayle says:

    Ooh yay! Another great sounding book to add to the list! Woo hoo!

  10. I love your post! I especially like what you have written in number 5. Thank you for what you have shared. I was truly inspired!

  11. […] 7 Ways to Rediscover Your Dreams […]

  12. WWD Weekend Reading List says:

    […] Someday Syndrome: 7 Ways to Rediscover Your Dreams […]

  13. I just did the “I want to” exercise. Wow…there’s a lot on there – I better get going! Very useful exercise, so thank you!
    .-= Laura Cococcia´s last blog ..Laura Interviews Jennifer Weiner: Author of ‘Best Friends Forever’ =-.

  14. […] 7 Ways to Rediscover Your Dreams […]

  15. Alex Fayle says:

    @Sharon
    Thanks! I enjoy coming up with different ways of sneaking our way around our fears and procrastination habits. 😉

    @Laura
    The next step is to cross everything off the list that doesn’t send a thrill of fear or excitement up and down your spine. 😉

  16. […] motivation then I have actually been motivated!   One thing I did see that I liked was this.  Write “I want to..” thirty times and start filling it in. […]

  17. […] talked about this as being a way to rediscover your dreams I don’t mean “spiders” – I mean think of an action where your response is “I could […]

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