Do you have a dream?


I asked Are goals necessary? a few weeks ago, before the current wave of New Year resolutions (which for many are their only attempt at setting goals). Recently Mark McClure came back with an interesting rephrasing of the question – “Are goals necessary but not sufficient?”

My own reflections since writing that post have concluded that goals are necessary, and I have been very poor at using them! Recent research by Professor Richard Wiseman, University of Hertfordshire, looked at techniques people used for succeeding in last years resolutions. He found there were gender differences:-

Men were significantly more likely to succeed when they had been asked to set a goal for themselves: for example, instead of trying to lose weight, say by shedding a pound each week, they were told to focus on a measure of success, such as becoming more attractive to women.

Women were more successful when they told their friends and family about their resolution, or were encouraged to be especially resilient and not to give up because they had reverted to the old habits: for example, if dieting, treating a chocolate binge as a temporary setback rather than as failure.

Another technique I have come across the past week is finding a word to guide you through the year. Christine Kane argues that the problem with resolutions is they only focus on the “do” level:-

The reason most resolutions don’t work is that they address only one level of your life. The DO level. It’s the DO-HAVE-BE model. “I will DO this thing.” (i.e., Lose weight) “So I can HAVE this other thing” (Self-Esteem) and I can BE this thing. (Confident.)

The average New Year’s Resolution doesn’t address the core of the issue – the “BE” level.

The best order for creating positive changes in your life is the BE-DO-HAVE model. This means you start from the BE level. When you begin changing on the BE level of your life, then the DO level and the HAVE level follow more easily.

When you start only on the DO level, then all the blocks on the BE level will often become the obstacles you can’t overcome.

I must thank Drew McClellan for pointing me in the direction of Christine. Her post goes on to look at choosing one word that can guide us at the “Be” level. Is this sufficient? A slightly more macabre technique is suggested by Danial Turner. His starting point is your end point – a Eulogy. Write down what people will be saying about you at your funeral:-

What this does is puts things into perspective, what sort of person do you want to be, and how do you want to be viewed after you’re gone? […] Who do you want to be, what sort of person do you want to be?

I’ve heard about this technique before from the great Charles Handy – in fact I can recommend the final chapter of his autobiography “Myself and other important matters” which revolves around this topic:-

“Imagine yourself dying at a ripe old age. Write the short eulogy you would like your best friend to deliver for you at a memorial ceremony.”

The younger you are, the more difficult you will find this. It should help us focus on what really matters. If you did any of the reflections on 2007 I suggested in my last post, it would be worth adding – will any of what you did still seem important in ten years time?

What this all comes back to, is what do you really want? I’ve discussed the terms passion and burning desire, another word is dream. Do you have a dream? At a young age we may dream of becoming a world champion or being a celebrated actor or world leader – “leaving our footprints in the sands of time” (Handy).

I took the photograph above on New Years day. This shows chalk coastline said to have originally formed about 200 – 140 million years ago (give or take) and gradually eroded by the sea ever since. Most of us don’t have to travel far to find examples of our natural history that have been around much longer than any of us. Keep things in perspective.

We don’t put so much weight on having dreams that won’t get us into the national media. But I strongly believe that this is what most of us are missing. Before we set goals or resolutions, we need some drive – whether you call it a dream, passion, desire, or what/where you want to BE. To answer the question above, goals are necessary but are not sufficient. We need to dream. What do you think?

Robert @ reason4smile January 5, 2008 at 12:43 pm

Hi David, what a coincidence, I’m also sharing about dream recently.

I’d like to share a quote here…
Dream as if you will live forever, live as if you will die tomorrow!
– James Dean

James Dean is an actor that died when he’s only 24, that’s tragic, but he’s got awards for his acting even after his dead, he has a bad beginning in life as well, yet he can prove the power of dream.

We supposed dream big! And make a small, achievable goals. Step-by-step to achieve our goal.


Beautiful Minds January 7, 2008 at 9:14 am

Thnx for the stumble..! and ya u have got a nice blog here.. cool and well thought one…

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