“All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them.” – Walt Disney
Walt Disney certainly was a dreamer, and his imagination and dreams resulted in creating fairytale destinations that revolutionized the entertainment industry and epitomized the magic of creative thinking. Walt Disney, the dreamer, imagined things that the common person could never have fathomed, and his example of creativity has been a major inspiration to millions of people worldwide.
Despite the compelling example of Walt Disney, not all dreams lead us down the right path, and in fact many dreams not only don’t come true, they can lead the dreamer astray and even turn into nightmares, leaving us more crippled rather than free. At times, we need to know when to give up a dream and replace it with a new one.
What happens to dreams that lead us astray? What happens to the dreamers that needed to give up their dreams? Some mourn the loss of their dream as a gap in their lives puts a wedge in their lives, while others dust themselves off as they come to the realization that even though their dreams were not realized, they can move on with undaunted faith in newer dreams.
What differentiates these dreamers? What determines who will be broken by dreams and who will be mobilized by new dreams? The following 11 habits seem to be determining factors of how resilient is the dreamer, even despite the fact that some of their dreams ended up turning into nightmares.
1. Successful dreamers are flexible – they know when to hold them and know when to fold them!
As in the song by Kenny Rogers, healthy dreamers know when it is time to let go of one dream and trade it for another. They realize that some dreams just don’t come true, and even they do, those dreams might not turn out the way they had hoped or expected. For some, dreams of a happy marriage are replaced with a painful and bitter divorce. Likewise, our dream job or even career might end in disenchantment or even failure.
Sometimes you need to stop reaching because life did not support your dream, no matter how much you wanted it! Healthy dreamers do not see it as a defeat but rather see it as a foundation for conjuring up new dreams that fit them better now based on their experience.
2. Successful dreamers have one foot on the ground while they leap into the air.
While they let their imagination soar, they do not lose their senses and sensibilities. They have at least one foot planted on the ground. They plan, they work, they execute their dreams, and do not expect quick fixes and miracles that will magically transform their lives. They don’t keep their heads in the proverbial clouds and think that if they dream hard enough, all their dreams will somehow come true. Rather they plod along in reaching for their dream, and realize that actualizing their dreams take a lot of work and effort.
3. Successful dreamers know that happiness is in pursuing their dreams as much as in reaching it.
Healthy dreamers do not have pre-conditions to happiness. They realize the process is just as important as the product. While going towards their goals, they do not wait for life to turn out in reaching their dream – they see their life “turning out” as they go. They know that happiness comes from within and even if they achieve their wildest dreams on the outside, they realize that attitude will make or break their life adjustment. They don’t put their life on hold thinking that reaching their dreams will make it all “perfect”. In other words, they do not wait for reaching their dream to make them happy, yet focus on being happy in the process.
4. Successful dreamers don’t put all their dreams in one basket.
Successful dreamers do not have all or nothing thinking. They also have already made peace with the fact that life is not often fair, and do not expect that the stars will align and all their dreams will come true, despite their best efforts. They also realize that even if a dream comes true, it might not be what they wanted or needed after all. So they do not hinge too much on any one dream and constantly try to achieve a life balance or dreams in the works.
5. Successful dreamers don’t see disappointments as aberrations in life, they see them as stepping stones towards successes.
These individuals can break their dreams into smaller pieces if the whole dream does not turn out. They make mosaics or stepping stones out of their broken pieces of their dreams rather than give up on their dreams altogether. Instead of being miserable with so many broken pieces of dreams, they enthusiastically work with what they have to replace an old dream with a new one, that is more within their reach.
6. Successful dreamers love to learn and use their “Inner GPS”.
As their dreams evolve and take new shapes as they mature, dreamers keep learning lessons of what did and did not work in pursuing their dreams. They build on their experiences of what they learned as their dreams take shape. They constantly are recalibrating themselves like a GPS. They are sensitive to the fact that their dreams are taking them on a detour, and they readjust accordingly. They constantly take stock of their dreams and ideals to achieve a constant state of equilibrium.
7. Successful dreamers are propelled by courage rather than crippled by fear.
Some people cling to dreams out of fear, and others pursue dreams with courage. Those who are too needy and clingy to their dreams are often disappointed as the dream, even if they attained it, did not give them the security and confidence they has hoped for. Old fears replace new fears. On the other hand, healthy dreamers are courageous souls who possess the seeds of resilience that they can weather missteps along the way.
8. Successful dreamers move past the past.
Successful dreamers don’t live in the land of “what ifs” and “if onlys.” They are not blinded by the future or blindsided by their past – they focus on how they can actualize their dreams without putting their life on hold. They plan for tomorrow, learn from the past, but live in TODAY!
9. Successful dreamers are forgiving and grateful.
There is no place for the healthy dreamer in the land of “woulda, coulda, shoulda.” They do not judge their immature dreams, they do not begrudge themselves for having been naive or even foolish. They are not hard on themselves for not having the foresight of knowing what they now know in hindsight. They are grateful for second chances as they work their way towards fulfilling their dreams. They see each day as a new opportunity to forge ahead, and are grateful for the opportunities the new day can bring them.
10. Successful dreamers seek healthy support from others.
Those who seek support of others that support their dreams are much more resilient than “loners” who isolate themselves. They are perceptive enough to discern who supports their dreams and who does not, and they set limits with those people who are toxic influences on their development. They seek out people who do not feel threatened by their growth, and refuse to cling to people out of fear and insecurity. Rather, their relationships enhance their ability to dream, not stifle it.
11. Successful dreamers never give up hope.
No matter if one dream went wrong or many of them, successful dreamers never give up hope. They keep hope alive with the confidence that no matter what, they will meet new challenges with confidence and optimism. They refuse to give up hope that their dreams, and even their life, will turn out well. For their bumps and bruises along the way, they are soothed and healed by their hopeful mindset.
How about you – Are you a successful dreamer? What are your habits? What are your dreams? I welcome comments!