- Someday Lesson: Your dreams don’t exist in a vacuum – you have to consider the people you share your life with.
(Last week we looked at the extreme dreams of Lizzie and Alessio and what they were willing to do to change in their lives or in their dreams to make the two match up. This week, we look at what Wendee and Horatio decided.)
As I said last week, when I was deciding where I wanted to live, if I wanted to stay with my boyfriend, I needed to consider his situation and choices. Even now two years into living with him, although I have itchy feet and think about creating a life that involves living in a variety of places, my desire to be with my boyfriend is stronger than my wanderlust so I adapt my dream and stay where I am.
Sometimes the dream is stronger than the connections to others and we leave. This happens often with family. For example I know my mother would be happier having me near her in Ontario rather than across the ocean, but my desire to live in Europe is stronger in the instance, so here I am.
There’s another reason for doing this dream-big-consider-limits exercise. In reading Richard Wiseman’s 59 Seconds (yes, I’m talking a lot about the book, but it’s just packed with information), he talks about a series of experiments that showed the best type of visualization about the future combines thinking about the best possible outcome then immediately considering possible obstacles and limits.
The experiments showed that people who held the two opposing thoughts in their mind at the same time (a type of doublethink) were much more likely to achieve their dreams than people who only focused on the positive outcome or only on the obstacles and limits.
So, let’s see what Horatio and Wendee came up with by engaging in a little doublethink:
In his extreme dream, Horatio sees himself living in a gorgeous flat with fulfilling challenging and sometimes even difficult work a thirty minute walk from him. His work involves solving problems for others using mathematics and molecules. He travels a lot and gets invites to visit colleagues around the world.
He doesn’t mention where the flat and the job are, however, but that missing bit of information gets explained when you look at his limitations, which mainly focus around his girlfriend. He notes as a limitation that he has “a relationship to maintain.” That may seem cold, but it’s not.
It’s the truth, plain and simple.
He would like to consider moving to a different part of the world to pursue his work and the apartment of his dreams, but the reality is that he’s emotionally attached to someone who enjoys working and so any move would involve a huge change on her part as well.
So what has Horatio chosen to do? He’s decided that he won’t make any rash decisions and that before anything, he will research options that will benefit both of them. He will explore other locations where both of them could work and he will plan things out slowly so that his girlfriend has time to adapt to the idea of a major change.
Something fascinating showed up in Wendee’s extreme dream that I haven’t seen before. She’s talked a lot about teaching others about art and how much she loves teaching, but the idea of selling her own artwork has been a minor theme, if she remembers to mention it at all.
However, in her extreme dream her artwork appears to be a major income source for her. The reason for its exclusion earlier shows up in her limitations one of which is the belief that fine art is not a “good” way of earning a living.
I think in this exclusion we might have found what is really blocking Wendee from getting rid of so many of her Somedays. She would love to produce art for a living, but feels that it’s not a proper career so focuses on teaching, on volunteering and on projects that skirt around the idea of earning from fine art.
So what stops her? Fear of not being an equal provider in her relationship and of not being able to support herself if necessary. Having been divorced once and having to start over from scratch, Wendee doesn’t want to be in the same position again, so looks to ways to support herself with “proper” work.
Unfortunately as I found out with my own desire to live my life producing art, no matter what I did to avoid this desire, it kept coming up and I kept sabotaging things that took me in other directions. When I acknowledged this dream, suddenly a world of possibilities opened up as ways for me to earn a living while pursuing my dream.
But it took acknowledging my real dream before I was able to move forward.
I may be mistaken in reading into Wendee’s exercises that fine art as a primary source of income is Wendee’s true dream, but there’s something that’s been blocking Wendee and this might just be it.
After his breakthrough moment a few weeks ago Horatio’s progress has settled into a steady forward motion. He continues to look for new work and he’s refining exactly what he wants from his future, including what he can do now to make that future come more quickly and with less struggle.
As for Wendee, I think this week includes her breakthrough moment even though she might not have been aware of it. If indeed producing fine art is her true Someday dream, then acknowledging it will make figuring out the rest of her life that much easier.
At this point, I’d suggest Wendee does a quick review of prior exercises to see how the new dream might change her answers and send her off in a new direction.
And if the fine art thing is not her true dream, then in the worksheets she sent in this week she identified a very workable to-do list of things that she wants to change about her current reality, each of which is realistic and measurable. Either way Wendee has made some great progress with this series of exercises.