“When I grow up, I wanna be average!”
Have you ever heard a little kid say this? My guess is that, no, you have not. When little kids are asked what they want to be when they grow up, they say the wildest things. Anywhere from the clichéd astronaut to the imaginative ballerina waitress. Yes, when I was little I wanted to be a ballerina waitress. I wasn’t exactly shooting for the stars, but at least I picked something I thought I would love. Plus, who wouldn’t want dinner and a show?
So what happens from the time we are little kids dreaming of our future to when we mature into an adult and get stuck in our average lives? Why are so many humans miserably meandering through life destined to be just another Joe Smoe?
When we really dig deep and tell the truth, we realize we don’t want to be average. We want a life of adventure and excitement. We want the same thing our miniature selves wanted. We want to have fun, to be fulfilled and to accomplish something great. We want to enjoy our time and not care that a ballerina waitress will make little more than minimum wage at best.
Is my dream still to be a ballerina waitress? Of course not. So, why don’t our dreams evolve and mature with us as we grow? Why are they disregarded as childish or unattainable? At what point do we lose our bright eyed hopefulness for the future? How do we regain our imaginations?
HOW DO I LEARN HOW TO DREAM AGAIN?
Everyone has heard the trite phrase, “Use it or lose it!” But have you ever thought about that phrase being applied to the concept of dreaming?
I believe the ability to keep dreaming starts by practicing creativity and thinking from a new perspective. When we are little, we are constantly playing and imagining the impossible, and we get good at it. Then, our imagination starts to dwindle when we get into the straight-line structure of school or when society mandates that we grow up and think like an adult. Perhaps all the rules and expectations leave little room for our imaginations to generate new ideas.
So in order to overcome the imagine-less monotony of the every day doldrums, I suggest you start dreaming again. And this time, let yourself off the hook if it’s childish or silly. You can start anywhere. Big or small. Attainable or mad. Just give it a go.
I find that the more that I actively try to think of new ideas, the more easily new ideas come to me. The more I force myself to think outside the box or change my perspective, the more I think of fresh ideas when I’m not looking for them. Beginning the process of thinking and dreaming will open you up to noticing the nuances of life that just might lead you to your next big idea.
The next thing dreaming requires is that you forget the boundaries you’ve been operating inside of. Those boundaries might have been placed there by someone close to you telling you that you’ll never be enough or from society telling you only the outstanding can cut it, and you just don’t, or perhaps even by your lack of confidence in your skills, personality, or drive. Whatever it is, forget about it. Great ideas are generated from challenging the status quo and developing a unique perspective, and the really great dreams come from a resilient imagination.
WHAT DOES YOUR CHILDHOOD DREAM SAY ABOUT YOU?
Yes, my childhood dream was to be a ballerina waitress. This sounds absurd, right? In my head it was really more like a Sonic bell hop. At Sonic they wear roller blades. At my drive- in they were going to be wearing tutus and buns. I mean, the idea was thoroughly thought out.
Is it all ludicrous?
Or is there more behind my childhood dream than meets the tickled pink eye?
I believe it said a lot about my personality then, and that it still does to this day. I think it said three things about me that I shouldn’t disregard.
- I wanted to have fun and be with people.
- I liked the idea of serving others.
- I wanted my work to be beautiful.
HOW CAN YOU APPLY THESE CONCEPTS TO YOUR ADULTHOOD DREAM?
By gleaning these 3 concepts from my very childish dream I can then evaluate if those are still things I want to be the foundation of my dreams today. As it turns out, I do want all 3 of those concepts to be the base camp for my dreams. Now, as I practice dreaming I can wade through the good and bad ideas while reflecting on my childish ambitions.
I encourage you to do some reflecting on what you wanted when you were young, as well as evaluating if your current life looks like you want it to. Are you fastidiously pursing a dream? Do you even have a dream? If you don’t, then you know where to start. Start with yourself. No one is looking at you or judging you. If they are, who cares. Start dreaming today and make it a constant habit.
Don’t let yourself grow up to be average.