An adult sized dream is often one of limitation. A faint outline of a former, more exciting, limitless life. Rather than being a dream erected on childlike faith, it’s a dream built on the shaky foundations of constraints felt, challenges faced, obstacles crossed, a lifetime of being told “no,” being rejected, failing despite successful behavior, painful partings and let’s face it – imagined impediments like bad weather, wrong timing, horrible luck, God punishing you, and an elitist conspiracy to poison your health and keep you in perpetual financial debt.
An adult sized dream only becomes more reasonable, more logical, more rational with time. If you were to imagine a perfect circle, and the circle represented the size of your dream, this circle has only shrunk over time, and increasingly, your world has narrowed to the point where your dream has become about you and you alone – not about your significant other, your children, your family, your best friends, or all your adoring followers, fans, clients, customers, or audience you were once eager to – and meant to – serve and impact.
All this happens without you even noticing.
An adult sized dream, unfortunately, doesn’t hold much of a charge. Sure, it means something to us, and we still want it desperately, or at least pretend we do just to keep up appearances, but based on 1,000 yesterdays, it doesn’t even seem like a remote possibility anymore.
You’ve been crushed, deserted, betrayed, ignored, avoided, discarded, and finally, you’ve come to the point of accepting your “lot” in life.
You still have the occasional glimpse into what once was your North Star, but now it only seems to evoke a sense of guilt, shame, pain, disdain, and most frighteningly, apathy. You’ve stopped caring that you’re not living the life you once set out to live, and unfortunately, you have no one to hold responsible but yourself. You can cry at the universe, but the universe will only give you challenges to overcome on the path to self-betterment.
The adult sized dream is also exhausting. It’s complicated, difficult, intricate, confusing, frustrating. In a past life, there was all but a direct path stretching out between where you were and where you wanted to be. Now it’s become a near endless and impossible set of requirements, prerequisites, conditions, boxes that must be ticked, and hoops that must be jumped for you to enjoy the degree of success you once assumed without question.
There’s no fun in a dream like that. No point in pursuing it. No motivation to do it. No reason to rise early and give your best every day. Just a sad, desperate, quiet longing for what could have been but what you now presuppose can never be.
The adult sized dream will always see you playing small. You will always remain in the boundaries of what you consider safe, proper, right, and acceptable, and that noose will only grow tighter as you test the waters and find them too dangerous to dive into. You’ll avoid offending others, ruffling feathers, or rocking the boat like the plague.
The adult sized dream says you can only be one thing. You can be a successful business owner, but not a great spouse. A great musician, but not a star athlete. Rich but not famous. Smart but overweight. And that’s still on the innocuous side of limits. It’s entirely possible you’ve come to the point where you believe that a modest or minor success is all you can ever be.
You never thought that way as a child. None of those limitations were in play. You weren’t hindered by difficulties and challenges – you didn’t even focus on them. You knew that you could have anything you wanted if you just kept the finish line in view. You could have your luxury tower penthouse, your backyard pool with waterslide, regulation size basketball court, a garage full of Lamborghinis… whatever you could see in your mind’s eye.
As Think and Grow Rich author Napoleon Hill said:
What the mind of man can conceive and believe, it can achieve.
Where did your child sized dream go? Do you remember it? Do you remember how it felt to envision a future that exceeded your wildest expectations? What possibilities did you see for yourself?
Your child sized dream is still with you. It hasn’t gone anywhere. It might be covered with years of regret, doubt, and failure, but that doesn’t mean you can’t dig it up, dust it off, and have another look. And maybe it doesn’t make sense to you anymore. Maybe you would make some changes to it. Maybe it’s too late for some dreams. That’s fine. But your child sized dream got more right than wrong. Because it speaks to the desires of your heart and the imprint of the divine. Your desires are uniquely yours, and you will forever care deeply about them. They are not all-inclusive. They are specific and personal.
You can live an either/or life or a both/and life. You can be led by your adult sized or child sized dream.
Launching a product isn’t just about launching a product. It’s also about everything that goes along with it.
And so on
Publishing is great and all, but it doesn’t do much to help you launch or sell your product when it doesn’t connect to the topic, pain points, and benefits at hand.
Sending emails to your subscribers is a good idea. But you can’t build interest in your product without warming them up to it.
It’s nice to have your product and bonuses ready to go. But that’s just the starting point, since you need to develop your sales copy, video sales letters, sales pages, and more.
So, you can’t think of all these as separate anymore. You’ve got think of your product and marketing materials as a connected whole. One doesn’t work well without the other.
After all, it’s not just marketers that have grown in sophistication. It’s audiences too. If they can’t see themselves in the problems and benefits you’ve identified, they will not buy what you’re selling.
All this might seem obvious to seasoned marketers, but I’m just now coming to embrace it in a meaningful way.
In everything we do, we strive to make the “right” choice at minimum, and the “perfect” choice where possible.
Whether it’s choosing a passion, business idea or niche, significant other, or even something as trivial as what to watch next on Netflix, we feel the pressure to choose well.
This tends to steal our joy in the shorter and longer term.
In the short term, we end up focusing on all the other choices we could have made. And we tend go back on our choices relatively quickly.
In the long term, we go back to the moment of decision, wondering what it would have been like to choose a different path, assuming that another path would have been better by comparison.
Where there is the incessant pressure to make the perfect decision, expect unhappiness.
Why? Because you’re expecting perfection. So, you’re not willing to accept anything other than what you would consider perfect – from yourself and from others. As result, you will feel like a failure every time you fail to make a perfect decision.
People who commit to the choices they make are happier because they don’t constantly second guess themselves. They understand that life won’t be “perfect” under any circumstances. They can see that the abundance of options isn’t going to make one iota of difference to their happiness.
And don’t forget, perfect is only an opinion, and everyone has their own.
One of the biggest mistakes we make as human beings is assuming we’re right and justified in everything we say and do.
There’s a payoff, sure, but there is always an equal or greater impact as well.
And that impact may not be readily apparent, but it’s usually reflected in the quality of our relationship with others.
Fundamentally, no one is right or wrong about anything. This is not about moral relativism, but rather about what it means to be human.
Somehow, we’ve gotten away from the truth that no human is infallible. Truths are rare, and hard to come by, but this one still seems to hold up.
We gain little by being close minded. But when we are open minded, and inquisitive, and allow ourselves to step into the worlds of others, we can see new perspectives and vantage points that end up benefiting us.
Miracles can happen when we drop the need to be right. Conversations and relationships can improve. Personal growth can occur more rapidly. Ideas can flow.
That, in fact, is one of the greatest impacts of having to be right all the time – not just that we’re blind to the impact, but that we’re blind to the new possibilities just waiting to be tapped. Because our greatest breakthroughs always lie in what we don’t know that we don’t know.
As artists, we tend to be empathetic and sensitive to the needs of others. We try to make sure everyone around us is okay before we even worry about how we might be doing.
But no matter how much you wish your kind gestures were acknowledged, your goodwill reciprocated, your generosity received, there will always be those with a forked tongue ready to cut you down to size.
You will be quick to blame yourself, of course. Wonder what you did wrong. Wonder what you could have done better. And you might keep turning those thoughts over in your head until you feel a sense of relief. It’s painful, and often fruitless, as our offenders quickly forget what has already been resolved in their minds.
You don’t know what’s going on in their world or the kind of day they’ve had. You haven’t the faintest clue how they interpreted your words or how they made them feel.
The thing is, you’re doing the best you can, especially considering the constraints you’ve lived with your whole life. It’s not as though people take the time to understand before they accuse you of wrongdoing. They just go right ahead and lay into you with their resentment and insecurities.
It can be tough, but I’m not here to offer strategies and tactics on how to navigate this minefield. Honestly, you should just keep being who you are, regardless of what anyone says. The offense lies with the person who felt it, not with you.
But it is important to realize that you don’t always need to be so selfless. You can’t give out of scarcity – you can only give out of overflow. Whenever you feel tempted to try to please everyone, ask yourself, “am I overflowing with gifts to give?”
Relationships, in any dimension, aren’t always easy. Some of your greatest disappointments, sadly, will come through those you know, like, and trust most. What matters most is that you carry on. You can achieve at the level you desire and make your vision a reality with or without them. You need to be that strong.
With that, here’s what I created for you this week:
David Andrew Wiebe
I publish daily to inspire creatives and creators just like you.