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What is the size of your dream?
Is it adult sized or child sized?
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.
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