Writing it Down
“If one advances confidently in the direction of one’s dreams,and endeavors to live the life which one has imagined, one will meet with a sucess unexpected in common hours.” - Henry David Thoreau
I love this quote. Not only is it inspiring, but it also has the blueprint for living a successful and fullfilling life built right in to the text. Of course many of us know that following our dreams is a good idea. Problem is, life gets in the way and the things that once seemed essential in life invariably get pushed out of the way. The zest for life and exploration we have as youth eventually give way to the demands of reality. Suddenly conformity becomes our only option to “get by” in a pre-designed societal structure.
Instead of traveling the world, we take the job at Dad’s store. Instead of becoming a full time artist, we make excuses to work instead of painting or sculpting. Instead of studying something we love, we go to business school so we can be better positioned to make money when we graduate.
Are we doomed to live a prescribed life of daily commutes, 9-5 cubicle confinement, and paycheck to paycheck finances? Do the choices we made earlier in life dictate the rest of our lives whether we like it or not? Or is it really possible to achieve our goals and dreams while also providing for our families?
While many people are trapped in an unfulfilled life, I don’t think it is impossible to escape from it. The real problem might be a lack of goals and dreams. What are your goals and dreams? Do you know? How are you planning on achieving them?
Start by writing it down
It’s amazing how writing things down can help you achieve your goals. Amie and I started a practice of always writing down our dreams, aspirations and goals. We started this about three years ago and the impact has been significant. It isn’t that every goal we write down automatically comes to fruition – they don’t. It is however very impressive to see just how many do start happening in our lives – often in much different ways that we initially expect.
As an example, Amie and I started this project (the blog you are reading now) a few months ago as an experiment. For the first time ever, we wrote our goals down not only for our own purposes, but also as a way to get others involved who might be interested in our lives. We believed (and still do) that by broadcasting our dreams to the universe, those dreams would have a much better chance of becoming our reality. The hope is that the more friends and family who see these goals, the more empowered we will be to actually achieve them.
Everyone we are connected to in our lives – our friends, our family, business acquaintances and more – make up our personal circle of influence. In one way or another we are connected to this circle on a frequent or semi-frequent basis. As scary as it is at first to do, these are exactly the people we want need to share our goals and dreams with. These are the people – for better or worse – that will help to hold us accountable for what we write down. These are the people that (hopefully) care.
You see, if there is one thing I’ve learned about goals, it is this: The more your broadcast your dreams and aspirations, the more empowered and accountable you are to making them happen. Of course it is scary to do this. After all, we are human. We are concerned about what people will think about us. Will they agree with me? Will they stop respecting me if they know this about me? Will I be ridiculed for my thoughts and beliefs? In the end, it really doesn’t matter what other people think. If you live your life the way other people expect you to, you may never find what truly makes you happy.
Since we started this project a few months ago, we have made great progress on almost all of our stated goals. I’ve written about our progress on a few of these goals in previous posts. My next few updates will focus on more of those goals individually and what steps we have taken to achieve them.
In the mean time, what are your goals in life? What are you doing to hold yourself accountable to achieving them? If you are struggling with making things happen, perhaps you can start by writing things down. Use the comments section on this post to get your feet wet.