Have you ever been in love? Have you ever spent your days longing for that special someone? Have you harbored hope that against all odds you will meet the love of your life? A partner, your comrade in times of joy and sorrow and the one human being on this planet of 7 billion who will complete you?
Did you ever daydream about what you would do together? Did you dream of climbing mountains and raising dimple-cheeked children?
I have been fortunate in love. But I have suffered just as much as anyone else. I too have had my heart broken. I have questioned my unswerving belief in what love meant to me.
At times, I was even tempted to submit to my cultural traditions and allow my parents to select a partner. Sure it might not have filled me with giddy joy but nor would it have entailed heartbreak.
I am glad I never chose that path. I would face challenges and heartbreak any day than surrender my dreams.
When I see people write about dreams and passions with respect to their careers, I am exasperated!
Do they not understand that dreams are not just about passion but also about love? Sure they may speak of passion, but are they willing to do what it takes to cultivate that passion? Are they all talk and no action?
Following your career dreams is not as much about passion as it is about finding and committing to what you truly love. Comparing dreams to passion has perpetuated the myth that every dream must be accompanied by a manic energetic pursuit of it. It undervalues the tenacious love that supports most dreams.
So, when you refer to your dreams speak of love and remember to do these things…
Dream like you love, chase what intrigues you
I had an amusing chat with a friend several years ago. When I had moved from one company to another, she chided me for seeking “interesting work”. She declared that every one should keep their job even if they didn’t find the work interesting or agree with the company’s values. Say, what?
Have you ever asked a girl or guy out on a date when you were barely interested in them?
Not an “intrigued, fascinated, must meet and get to know” kind of urgency. But a “don’t matter if it happens, I guess I might as well ask this person out on a date” type of attitude.
“Hey, Can I take you out to a lovely meal even though I only find you mildly interesting?”
I am sure queues will be lining up outside your door with that scintillating one liner!
We pursue and woo people that we find intriguing. Our personalities may be poles apart, but there is an unfathomable fascination for our partner. We court them because we can’t imagine our life without them.
Similarly we nurture dreams, because an idea captivates us and haunts our every thought.
We spend years unraveling the underlying fabric of the universe because it is interesting.
We devote years to the study of language and write about it because it is interesting. We even learn about the application of scientific principles in engineering because it is fascinating!
Some of us write because we want to share our (hopefully) interesting thoughts and experiences with other interested human beings.
An idea penetrates our consciousness and takes hold. Our lives are forever changed because we can’t imagine abandoning this idea, this nebulous dream.
If anything, social media presents irrefutable proof that interesting trumps monotonous!
The next time someone says that dreams do not have to be interesting, don’t question your dreams! Instead question their values.
Spread some joy into that person’s life by sharing your compelling dreams. You just might kindle a fire in their soul.
Dream like you love, with tenacity and faith
What would you have done in the search of your true love? Would you have given everything you had? Would you have forsaken your family and your culture? Would you have summoned the courage to withstand all opposition to be with the person you loved?
When you are in love, you have unshakeable faith. You will sacrifice anything to keep that love alive! Opposition only strengthens your feelings towards your love. Love makes even a weakling a warrior.
Of course it might have something to do with all that dopamine, adrenaline, serotonin and not to mention testosterone coursing through your body.
Summon that ferocious tenacity for your career. Be a champion of your dreams.
Guard them against the skeptics. Protect your dreams even when they are nothing more than seeds that have taken root in your fertile mind.
If anyone asks about your dreams, you don’t have to share all the details. Save them for your tribe, your supporters. Don’t feel compelled to justify your dreams to everyone who questions them.
Have faith in your intelligence and intuition. Trust that your dreams are valid. Believe in yourself, in the fact that you will do what it takes to make your dreams come true!
Even when your dreams are mired in myths, believe that you have the courage to bust those myths and see your dreams to fruition.
Dream like you love, put in the work
I was utterly convinced that nothing but the deepest love would convince me to marry. But boy did I underestimate the work involved!
As someone who has been married for over a decade I can assure you that love is not all fun and games.
Love is a verb not a noun. Love takes work. It requires clear communication, taking action and fulfilling promises.
It takes a mountain of patience to remember to keep that love alive when careers, children and family life make demands on our time together.
I dare anyone to tell me that just because I am a mother, I have to give up the notion of love! Who is anyone to place a restriction based on age or any other criteria that I have to give up spending time with the person that I love? Over a decade later I am still motivated to work on my marriage, because it is important to me.
Life has inexorably led you down the path to where you have discovered your dreams. When you build your dreams, remember that like love, they too will require work.
Passionate love is fleeting, real love entails work but endures a lifetime.
Recognize your willingness to work on those dreams even on those days when patience and endurance are hard to come by. If your dream is to last a lifetime, it is something that must not only intrigue you, but also something you will continue to work towards for the rest of your days.
Dream like you love, with all your senses
Poems and epics have been written about love in all the languages of the world. Despite our unending fascination with love, no one can define exactly what love is. Everyone experiences love in a different way.
When we are in love we consciously experience the world around us through all our senses. We remember the colors of the season, the fragrance in the air, the flavors of the food, and the textures in our environment and the music that we heard.
Similarly everyone’s dreams are imbued with their own unique color, scent, taste, texture and sound. Experience your dreams with all your senses. Fill in the details that your dreams might lack. What scents pervade your dream? What colors are you drawn to when you envision your future?
Instead of vision boarding, I like to do what I call “dreamboarding”. In dreamboarding you visualize your dream with all your senses. Here are a couple of examples on dreamboarding:
You want to move to a new career. Instead of thinking of it in one dimension, visualize yourself in that career. What does your office look like? Do you see and feel the leather chair? Can you smell the newly printed draft document on your desk? What song is playing from your playlist as you prepare for that important meeting?
You want to build a new house. See yourself signing the contract. Imagine colors you would choose for your home. Imagine yourself moving in and living there. How would the very first day play out? Can you smell the coffee brewing in your brand new kitchen?
Dream like you love, every single day
We humans are hard wired for love. Since the day that we open our infant eyes until consciousness departs our bodies, we seek, crave and nurture love in our life.
To say that we must stop loving is like saying we must stop living! Who can bear the thought of that?
It is your life. Choose your love and choose your dreams.
You won’t let anyone tell you who you can love, then why do you allow them to tell you what you can and can’t dream about? Guard your dreams, have faith in them; know that with diligent work you too can achieve them!