What will it take for you to decide that you want a different life, a different reality than the one you are living right now?
Most of us are living day-to-day, running on auto pilot, letting our routines and habits make the majority of the decisions each day as we dream of a life different than the one we are following.
Routines are an important part of living in modern society. Without them we would be quickly overwhelmed in decisions to make each and every day.
What time to get up, what clothes to wear, which car to drive, what route to take to work or the store, what to eat for lunch, where to shop on the way home, what to watch on TV, what time to go to bed…
These small threads of time-savers that free up our minds to work on other, less repetitive problems have a silent side effect. They work together to build ropes of habit. Ropes that solidly bind us to our routines.
The more I think about what it will take to get us free enough to start the travelling that we so despiratlely desire, the more aware I am of the mental habits I have.
This problem too, shall seem simple once it is solved.
As I read the blogs of other families that have made their traveling dreams come true, I can only imagine the effort that they put in to overcoming the ropes of their habits. We see the results of their efforts but rarely hear about their struggles.
In our own stories, our ego wants us to portray ourselves as victors, as over-comers that have vanquished our mental foes and become the hero. Too often this keeps us from revealing our struggles, our internal battles that we have to face each time we trip over a rope of habit that is keeping us from moving towards the attainment of our goal.
We always imagine our own struggles to be more significant that others because we are living them. Even when we do get a glimpse into another person’s struggles, they usually seem to be less daunting than that obstacles that we face. When we don’t have a full picture of where that person was when they faced a particular hardship, we have no idea how insurmountable that hardship seemed at the time.
The same is true for each of us. As we work through the roadblocks on the way to our dreams each one can seem impossible at the time. I once read the quote, “This problem too, shall seem simple once it is solved.” I remind myself of that frequently. I can look back in my life and remember times when I had absolutely no idea how I was going to overcome something that stood in my way.
Each time, one way or another I was eventually able to overcome that obstacle. By reminding myself of my past successes, I can encourage myself to continue to address those things that are currently standing between me and my dreams.
Wish, Want, Need, Got.
When we dream of a different life, we start by wishing we could live that life. How that “new life” is different than the one you are in right now is important. What ever these differences are, pay attention to them. From your wishes spring the true passions of your life. Almost all great achievements started as someone’s wish.
Freedom to travel, getting an education, relocating, getting a better job, starting a business, quitting a bad habit, all of these things start off as a wish long before they are realized.
If the desire is strong enough, it moves us from wishing to wanting. All too often a wish is ignored or dismissed as a childish dream. This is truly unfortunate. We would all be so much better off if we were taught to pursue our dreams and not ignore them.
People around us feel like they are doing us a favor when they tell us to be “realistic”, and not to be such a “dreamer”. Where is the fun in that? Where does being “realistic” get us but in the same rut that they are in? Our wishes and dreams deserve better than that! Wanting, however, is not quite enough.
Only when that desire turns into a need will we be able to move to attaining it. If we are mindful enough of our dreams and desires, and we give them the thought and intention that they deserve, those that mean the most to you can become needs. Wanting to travel the world is very common. Needing to travel the world is something all together different. This is what separates those that say they want to travel and those that do. It is the difference between “some day” and July, 30, 2012.
We all need to breathe. This isn’t a wish or a want. It is an absolute need. If someone is holding you underwater for more than a minute you will have no doubt that breathing is a need. When our need to attain a goal is as strong as our need to breathe, it will then be achieved.
The ropes of habit that we build each and every day have to be overcome. Only when we need to achieve our dreams more than we need to follow our habits will we make those dreams come true. One by one, the ropes of habit must be cut.
Sometimes it seems like we have to cut each fiber, one at a time in order to weaken their hold. This is why wishes and wants are insufficient. It is easier to succumb to habits than it is to resist them for a wish.
At some point, we reach a tipping point and that is when we are on the path to achieving our dreams. The transition from want to need is that tipping point. For someone that wants to travel it may be an obvious change like the loss of a job.
For most of us though, it will be much more subtle. It will be the culmination of a number of small events. A bad day at work. Getting cut off on the commute home from work one too many times. Realizing that the house you live in and cars you drive were chosen more as status symbols than for their primary function. Having your child come home from school in tears because they were bullied again.
These small events can add up to a tipping point. That point in time where you realize that things must change. That no matter what it takes, you will achieve your dreams.
What is your tipping point? What will it take to make you decide that you have no choice but to make your dreams come true?