Life is too short to not turn your dreams into reality.
Firstly, let us clarify exactly what kind of dreams we’re talking about. We’re not talking literally about the series of thoughts, images and sensations that go through your mind while asleep. You know that dream where your limbs feel like lead, or the one where you’re racing to pack your bags to catch a plane? Who would want to make that a reality? Seriously.
No, we’re referring to the other dreams - those cherished aspirations, ambitions and ideals. The dreams you have of getting that promotion, or having your book published, or receiving the crowd funding you require for that next big idea. How do we make those ideals an actuality?
Is it luck? While it may seem this way to some, it’s important to remember that often ‘luck’ involves a lot of background work and risk taking, or putting oneself out there. Luck is defined by success or failure apparently caused by chance. But chance rarely takes into account all the levers that have come into play says Tina Seelig, a Stanford professor and author on innovative entrepreneurship. Seelig has spent 20 years observing what makes people lucky and describes luck less as a lightning strike, that is isolated and dramatic, and much more like the wind blowing constantly. So, what does it take to catch those winds of luck and make that dream a reality?
1. Be specific
Trying to make ALL your dreams come true at any given time is a tough feat. In fact, without wanting to use negative language here, it’s near impossible. Working towards one clear goal has a much better chance of reaching fruition than chasing multiple all at once. The more specific you are about your dream, the easier it will be to chart a path to get there. For example, are you dreaming about creating more time for yourself? What is it that you want to achieve in this time? Once you know what you want out of this goal, you’re more likely to create it.
2. Take risks
An important part of generating luck, or realising your dreams, involves taking small risks that stretch you out of your comfort zone. There are all types of different risks, emotional, intellectual, financial and social. For example, a social risk could involve talking to someone on the train on your way to work. Not only could it open you up to opportunities (the conversation could get you thinking about something in a different way or that person may be able to help you directly with your dream job) but these risks can also cause you to be more creative, implementing your natural problem solving skills, and making you more likely to try something new. It may also help to build your self confidence and self-respect.
3. Thicken your skin
This one goes hand in hand with taking risks and opening yourself up to the winds of luck. On your journey through life, you may find the wind to be cold and negative at times, or you may have to endure a series of ‘nos’ before you hear a ‘yes’, and in order to press on, you need to protect yourself from the negativity. Think, for example, about a job application process and how disheartening it can be. You may send out dozens of resumes and receive a stream of rejections, and while it is easy to feel unworthy in those moments, you need to find a way to pull yourself back up, so that you can keep trying. It may help to spend extra time with friends and family and be reminded that your perception is clouding the reality and that you need to remain grounded and focussed. You’re also allowed to feel sorry for yourself on occasion - let the tears flow. These lows are an integral part of re-focusing with new insights on how you could do things differently.
4. Show appreciation
Come up with tactics that help you foster appreciation. This could be in the form of a thank you note to someone who has helped you on your way with an opportunity, or for the time they took to talk with you. Reaching out with appreciation may open a new door and give rise to further ‘luck’. Or perhaps it’s gratitude to yourself, or your circumstance, in the form of a gratitude journal. Thanking yourself or being appreciative for the little things subconsciously opens up opportunities and helps you see the positives when they may not appear to be right in front of you!
5. Be optimistic and expect luck
Being optimistic could be the attitude that ultimately leads to achievement because when you think about it, nothing can be done without hope and confidence. Believe that you are deserving and that all your hard work will eventually pay off. Look at life through a lens of possibility rather than hopelessness. Because as Tina Seelig puts it, the winds of luck are always there, and setting yourself up by taking small risks, being appreciative and seeing ideas, you can build a bigger and better sail to catch those winds of luck. And that ‘luck’ will help your dreams become a reality.