Eons ago, when I was a small human being, one of my favorite things to do was to daydream. Hours would pass me by as I tinkered around in my own imaginary world; a world where Barbie carelessly throws all of her glittery belongings into her pink Corvette and drives off into the sunset clutching tanned plastic hands with Ken. Time passed and my imaginary world became smaller until disappearing entirely in favor of burgeoning adulthood. Adults don’t daydream we are told. They are to live responsibly within the confines of reality and work hard. But what if my 6 year old self was onto something?
There’s a well-known quote which states “If you can imagine it, you can achieve it. If you can dream it, you can become it”. Obviously I wasn’t aspiring to actually drive off into the sunset with a plastic doll for company (no matter how handsome he was) but what if we applied this line of thinking to our own adult lives? I’m sure for most of us the daydreams we had as children would dissolve under the ordinary light of day. But what if we gave our adult selves permission to imagine our dream lives and then make that vision a reality?
This is something that I am currently working through. For most of my adult life I’ve been chasing the dreams of other people, believing that this would give me the approval that I was so desperately seeking. What happened instead was that I ended up living a life that had no correlation to who I was or wanted to be. It paid the bills, gave me a social standing but left me feeling cavernous inside. Frustrated by my veneer of inauthenticity I began to daydream again. Flexing the muscles of my slack imagination I asked myself the age-old questions. What would you attempt to do if you knew you could not fail? What would your dream life look like? More importantly, what would that feel like?
This new approach felt a little silly at first. We are conditioned by society to achieve our dreams though hard work, persistence, and a side of hustle. Conjuring up a new fantasy life in my head felt a little… well, odd really. But I persisted. I began to map out in my mind where I wanted to find myself in 12 months’ time without getting mired into the details. I knew I wanted out of the corporate culture and to have a more flexible schedule where I could find the time to focus on my writing. The rest of the details, I left for the universe to figure out.
At the time it all felt a little surreal. How could I transpose little old me from A to B simply by using vision techniques? And then the strangest thing started to happen. My life fell apart. Here’s the thing about creating a brand new life, the old one has to move out of the way first.
I started looking for a new job, resigning myself to the fact that with my niched skill-set I would have to remain in the same draining banking culture. However I stayed focused on the vision of the life that I wanted and remained open to possibility. A few months later, I seemingly stumbled upon a consulting firm which placed me in charge of choosing what job roles I wanted to take and for how long, giving me the gift of time to focus on my writing.
I’m not advocating that all we need to do is to sit back, envision what we want to achieve and puff! the magical dream genie appears. Visualization is simply the first step. Had I just sat back and expected an army of recruiters to come knocking on my door I would still be at home, waiting.
And so, if you are hankering to pursue your own vision into reality, here are 3 steps that might just help to get there…
- Envisioning is Everything
Whether you choose to create a vision board, daydream on your couch or sit on your meditation pillow, the objective is clear. Get really specific on what it is that you want to bring into your life. If you are longing to buy a house of your own, walk through every room in your mind and imagine what it would feel like to live there. Pull pages from your favorite interiors magazine and create a vision board where you can glue symbols of images or things that you want to see realized.
Positive affirmations are another useful tool to help keep your spirits up and keep you moving toward your goal, even when you don’t really see the way forward. Just because the path route to manifesting your goals into reality doesn’t seem obvious to you at this moment, that doesn’t mean it isn’t possible.
- Take Action
Henry David Thoreau wisely counseled that “If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with success unexpected in common hours.” When you have envisioned what it is that you’d like to bring into your life, it’s imperative to actively take the requisite steps to move forward.
If you are looking for a new career, investigate night classes in your area that will help you qualify or provide any training you might need. If you are looking to expand your social circle, join a club or find a group activity which would attract the kinds of like-minded people you are looking for. If you are looking to buy a new house, start visiting the neighborhoods you would like to live in, engage a realtor to show you around some open houses. No matter how big or small your steps are or how long the journey, inspired action will lead you onto your desired path.
- Enjoy the Journey
So often when we focus on achieving what we want in life, we believe that we have to get there through gritted teeth and determination. The No Pain, No Gain approach. Let me tell you something, it doesn’t have to be like that. Laser beam focus is a great attribute but when it comes at the expense of everything else it might be worth asking yourself why you are obsessing about the outcome.
Here’s the thing about implementing a vision, what we end up with might not look exactly like we imagined. When I was looking for a new job I had a good idea of the lifestyle that I wanted but was mindful not to get attached to anything other than that. In opening myself up to possibility I opened myself up to an opportunity that I didn’t even know existed. We don’t always know what’s best for us and if we hold on too tightly to what it is that we want, we blindside ourselves to all of the other wonderful possibilities.
It can be really scary to make any kind of change in life. Yet when we visualize what it is that we want, believe in the possibility and take action we are effectively taking the first step towards making it our reality.
Victoria Cox currently resides in NYC. She's a contributor to The Conversation, Tiny Buddha, Elephant Journal & Dumb Little Man. You can connect with her on Instagram @vcox23.