“As you enter positions of trust and power, dream a little before you think.” Toni Morrison
Spiritual gurus and coaches of positive thinking say that before you do anything important in your life, you have to remember to dream. You have to see yourself doing what you want to do. You have to see yourself as the person you want to become. You have to imagine and see yourself realizing your dream. To achieve success you have to dream. You have to imagine.
Dream a little! Imagine!
Early in the 1990s I read the book ‘Writing’ by Kenneth Atchity. It was part of the writing program I had enrolled in at the time. In it the author introduced the ‘Thought Control Process.’ He explained that thinking about negative things or about depressing things was a waste of time. He suggested an effective way to get rid of those thoughts. Every time you found yourself driving along and thinking dark thoughts, you train yourself to switch to positive thoughts, like thinking about something you love to do most.
To switch away from my dreadful and gloomy thoughts and depressing feelings, I will think about a writing project. And l will try and write entire scenes or even stories in my head. I will be happy doing so. Whether I will remember some or all of it when I am awake the next morning is a different story. But one thing I know for sure is that my negative thoughts will not bother me because I will be happy imagining.
When we have something important to take care of, don’t we make it our priority? We concentrate on our task ahead and try to stay focused and take control of our thoughts and situation. Most of the time we spend nights tossing and turning and wondering about how the task can end, especially if it’s something hard, like an interview or a presentation or a talk. I personally rehearse scenes or think over multiple scenarios in my head if I have something scheduled the next day, even if it is as simple as having coffee with a friend.
If this is the process that all these professional speakers and coaches talk about then I am all for it and happy to do it. But sometimes I can’t help but feel that ‘I am in the woods’ as the saying goes. Especially when I am trying to make a decision. Because here is the thing.
One thing I think I am good at is collecting information, reading and taking notes, and preparing the ground for what I want to do, or the project I want to work on. But dreaming about it and actually doing it are two different things.
When I have done my research and I think I am ready to start work on my project I feel dubious. My feelings are like a seesaw and one day I am happy and the next I am wishing for something else. Is this fear then? Is my fear blocking my chance of success?
Eleanor Roosevelt said:
“You must do the thing you think you cannot do.”
I like to take risks but at the same time I am afraid to lose the sense of security that I have. Am I afraid that if I pull it off then my life will change?
I have learned from experience that if I allow myself to try things I think I cannot do, or rather I cannot do perfectly well, and do them, even if I have to sweat for it, the experience helps me hone my skills and grow in spirit. At the end of the day I am a happier person even if I complain and nag and fuss about it.
Paul Auster wrote:
“The world is so unpredictable. Things happen suddenly, unexpectedly. We want to feel we are in control for our existence. In some ways we are, in some ways we’re not. We are ruled by the forces of chance and coincidence.”