You Forgot How to Dream
Updated: Sep 22, 2020
We have forgotten how to dream. YOU have forgotten how to dream. And it's KILLING you.
Last week we talked about three questions that you need to ask before you start traveling around in an RV. But for many people, they haven't been able to move from the stage of dreaming about an RV, to the reality of traveling in one. Some people even purchase their RV but it sits in storage, waiting for them to take the step to dust it off and hit the road.
In this video, I want to give you 3 tips to get out of your dreams and into your... RV. (Did you just start singing Billy Ocean? Was it just me? OK.)
When I ask people to dream I almost get an awkward pause followed by a "dream" that sounds a lot like the thing they're already doing. It's like you're stuck in one of the scenes from Office Space, staring at a stapler and thinking about starting your TPS report. What about you? If I asked you to dream what would you say?
You're dreaming of spending time in an RV, but how are you going to change that dream into reality? Let's dig in and do something awesome.
1 - Learn to dream again.
A while back there was a great video that taught us a lot about dreaming. You may remember it. They interviewed a group of adults and asked them all the same question. “If you could change one thing about your body, what would it be?” The answers were the usual suspects. “I’d change my forehead. It’s too big.” “I wish I had bigger eyes.” “I wish I had longer legs.” etc. After a few adult answers, they brought in some kids and asked the same question. The first girl said she wished she had a mermaid’s tail. The next boy said he wanted his mouth to be a sharks mouth. You get the idea. They were all asked a question, but the kids knew how to dream.
After a few years of working in education, I started to realize that we are killing our kids' imaginations. It is a long, slow process, but over time our kids are being trained to think inside a box. We are training them to give predictable answers, to remember and recite lists of things, to draw a flower the way the teacher says they should, to stop imagining things as they could be, and start to see things as their instructor wants them to. Seeing my own children develop is teaching me that nurturing imagination is really inefficient. If I had a class of 20 kids there is no way I’d be able to deal with the many detours an active imagination would cause in our day.
I thought it was fascinating to learn that the right side of the brain, the side that is in charge of imagination, vision, and leadership, cycles 6 times per second, while the list-making left side of the brain cycles 5 times per second. Consider, though, what traits our educational system is teaching our kids to value. List making, memorizing, recitation, etc. These are all things that are managed in the left side of the brain. In other words, we’ve throttled the faster part of the brain, teaching it to stay in step with the list-making part of the brain. We’ve convinced ourselves (and our kids) that we need to keep our brain in order, to manage it, to temper it with “realistic expectations.” And over time we’ve listened, but it’s been to our detriment.
So, I’m going to challenge you to think outside your brain. I want you to get after it. To be creative, silly, fun, and to imagine what COULD be possible.
2 - A dream is a wish with a plan.
You’ve started to dream, but until you begin to take strides toward that dream becoming a reality all you have is a wish.
I mentioned this story last week, but it bears repeating. When I was in college I was sitting in my apartment with my 2 younger brothers and we came up with the idea that we could drive to the Grand Canyon. It was going to be about a 24 hour drive, and then 24 hours back, but if we took turns driving we could have pressed through and we would have had 24 hours to walk around the canyon. It was an amazing idea! But we decided not to do it.
I tell that story because every time I think about it I get a little hole in the pit of my stomach. It was a dream that wasn’t realized.
If you have a dream but you aren’t taking steps toward making it a reality, then get rid of it! It’s a wish! And it will NEVER become a reality!
I was having a conversation with a friend a few weeks ago and he said, “You’ve really experienced a lot in your life.” At first I thought, “Not really.” But then I started to think through all the things I’d been able to experience. I realized that I HAVE experienced a lot in my life. The reason is because I haven’t settled for having a dream that I never took action on. Things I’ve wanted to do I made space for and I acted on, so I’ve experienced some pretty amazing things in my life.
So if you have a dream and you aren’t taking steps to move forward with it then just wipe it away and be honest with yourself that it isn’t something that’s important to you.
But I hope for more for you. I hope you’ll take a step toward realizing that dream.
Finally, the last thing…
3 - Do the next thing.
I want you to listen to this Old English poem that was popularized by a woman named Elizabeth Elliott.
“Many a questioning, many a fear,
Many a doubt, hath its quieting here.
Moment by moment let down from Heaven,
Time, opportunity, guidance are given.
Fear not tomorrow, child of the King,
Trust them with Jesus. Do the next thing.
Do it immediately, do it with prayer;
Do it reliantly, casting all care;
Do it with reverence, tracing His hand
Who placed it before thee with earnest command.
Stayed on Omnipotence, safe ’neath His wing,
Leave all resulting, Do the next thing.”
This poem just sparks something in me, and I hope it does the same for you. But I also want to point out some of the things it DOESN’T say.
Notice it doesn’t say, “Think the next thing.” Or “Dream the next thing.” Or “Plan the next thing.” It says, “DO the next thing”. Because dreams don’t come true by thinking about them. They come true as you take action on them. So take action on the next thing.
I can’t tell you how often I have conversations with people and they tell me, “You’ve really done a lot in your life.” I usually think, “Not really.” But in one respect what they’re saying is true. I just never thought of it that way. All I’ve ever done is take the next step of obedience or the next step of faith. And because I’ve taken the next step I’ve been able to do some things I never would have imagined in my younger days. Looking back, they were only hard to imagine because they were different than living a “normal” life. You only get to them by swimming upstream.
Our world is shaken up. Our world is transforming right in front of our eyes.
We have friends from all over saying that their jobs are going virtual. Now they can work from anywhere. We also have people telling us that their kids' schools are going virtual, so now their kids can do school from anywhere they have an internet connection. Or, people are starting to homeschool in record numbers. So there are possibilities that have never been seen before.
We are reimagining our lives. I’m so glad that the pandemic has caused people to reevaluate their lives and to move outside the box of what they’ve done before.
People can do their work online.
Kids can do their school online.
So now, you aren’t tied down to a location anymore.
Now, you aren’t tied down to a single place anymore.
Now, you have the ability to go, and do, and experience.
But let me give you a word of caution. I hear people talk about it all the time. They see an opportunity in front of them, but then a year later they haven’t done anything about it. I don’t want you to be that person.
Take a few minutes right now to write down your dream. In the Old Testament, it says to write down the vision and make it plain, so that the person that reads it can run with it. You’re the person that needs to run with it, so write it down, set it in front of yourself so you don’t stop thinking about it, make a plan, and start to move on it.
What is the dream that you’re going to be moving toward today?
What’s the dream that you’re going to start moving toward right now?
Do the next thing.
Click here and I'll make sure you get a reminder when I go live on Tuesdays.
Here is your to-do list for today:
Write it down
Make a plan
Do the next thing
I’ll see you next week when I go live again.
For the full live video: