Some of the links below may be affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.
I don’t enjoy being the bearer of bad news, but maybe is time someone bursts your dreaming bubble and shows you a better way to dream and reach for what you want. Full disclosure, I’ve been punching some lengthy day-dreaming hours for as long as I can remember. In fact, as a good millennial should, I truly believe our dreams are the engine of change that moves us toward the vision of a better life for ourselves, toward anything and everything we want to accomplish.
But in your daily commitment to getting adulting right, you must understand, accept and adjust to the realization that dreaming alone cannot make your dreams come true. And just like living above your means can deeply crack the financial bedrock of your life, dreaming above your means can have the undesired effect of stumping your growth and significantly shrinking your long-term potential for happiness.
“If you can dream it you can do it”
I’m sure you’ve heard that quote countless times. I’m sure you still want to believe it; it’s popular and inspiring, but is it true? Can you really do everything you can dream of? Holding on to a literal interpretation of that quote should be the first thing to go if you want to be on a path to wiser adulting.
Dreaming Big: Big Anxiety and Bigger Problems.
Dreaming big is great, letting your imagination run wild, your expectations soar high. But big dreams have an unexpected caveat. In their dream state, they come with a greater scoop of anxiety about our own ability to make them come true. And soon after they become reality, more often than not, we’d have paid a hefty price, hidden fees, daily, weekly and monthly maintenance, in addition to having to deal with other people or services to go with the dream.
You might think that in the reality that your big dreams represent all your current problems will be gone. But they will only be replaced by bigger ones. You might even believe you’re not reaching your full potential because you’re not dreaming big enough. I’m here to tell you it’s just the opposite.
From Dreaming Big to Dreaming Medium
I came upon the concept on a recent read of the book The Financial Diet. It immediately clicked with me. Dreaming medium is the best thing you can do to take into objective consideration your current financial reality without having to take out of the equation the personal satisfaction of dreaming itself.
- Start Small: Cut yourself and your reality/resources some slack.
Smaller dreams are things you can accomplish. They are the stepping stones in the path of your life. The big dream is the big snapshot you take of the future you envision, and the small dreams are the pieces that put the picture together. We can choose to believe big dreams are hindered by our current reality and resources, or that the limitations put on our dreams by our current reality are a blessing in disguise. Having to work toward the big pie in the sky will make us appreciate every small bite.
- Diversify your sources of happiness.
Your one big dream should not be your one and only source of happiness. If every kick you get derives from one single event, experience, thing, accomplishment, you’re missing out on a true exploration of your interests and skills. Happiness and fulfillment should come from different sources; things you enjoy doing and learning, experiences you have and share, relationships you value and nurture, and, why not, possessions that you find beautiful and pleasing.
- Needs vs. Wants.
Dreaming medium also means going after the essentials first. Don’t take for granted what’s essential in your life. Don’t get caught up in the comparison game, where what you dream of pales in the light of all the new and shiny dreams you think you should be dreaming. Dreaming about and accomplishing medium-sized dreams is not only valid but much more financially responsible. Wanting to live a secure, comfortable, and happy life, surrounded by love and peace of mind is the noblest big dream you could have. If that’s it for you, it’s big and it’s perfect. And there’s always room for more.
- Keep and Acknowledge your bucket list.
Big dreams belong in your big and bold bucket list. This is the list where you collect the big dreams and cut them into smaller, more feasible dreams to work toward. You don’t just dump your big dreams there and walk away. You use the bucket list, review your bucket list and set it as your vision board, the whole road map, and you’ll litter the way with smaller and medium dreams that align with the very big ones.
Why Do We Indulge in Dreaming Big?
For one, it’s fun, and we believe is harmless. But again, a long list of unaccomplished big dreams only works to drain your soul.
We do it because is the way we’ve been raise. In an era of possibility and financial stability, progress seems inevitable, and it’s always up and ahead.
Our parents said so! They said we were capable, brilliant even…so great success and achievement is bound to be just around the corner…if only we wish for it, dream and believe hard enough… right?
What We Don’t See Does Hurst Us…
Social media and the wonderful lives we see all over Facebook and Instagram only show the highly curated version of some people’s perfect lives. We should have caution when projecting our own dreams into those dream-like feeds.
The people, family, friends, influencers that work that hard to portray mostly unattainable ideals live with the constant pressure of unrealistic 24/7 perfection; and in real life, they need to live up to it.
Even the most authentic pictures have been tweaked and staged, and the lifestyles they represent are out of reach for most.
So, let them have their frantic fun and keep the dreams that only belong to you.
Why should you start dreaming medium today?
- First of all, do it for your mental health.
- Then do it for your financial security and the ability to reach some of those small and medium dreams along the way.
- You can do it! You can find the biggest dream of all is the journey toward all the little things, and what brought you the greatest joy.
- Focus your dreams on experiences rather than material possessions.
- Fight against unrealistic expectations and the external and internal pressure these expectations might place on you.
- Be honest and grateful for the resources you have now, and work with them. By making what you already have work, everything that you can accomplish next will be the icing on the cake. Scarcity and limitations can open your mind to find creative ways to reach those medium dreams.
- Self- accountability is the only way we can make dreams happen, big, medium, or small. You can certainly have anything you dream of, but it won’t materialize from thin air. One way to make this fuel you instead of depleting the fire in your heart is to stop dreaming big and start living purposefully.
The read that inspired the post…
The Financial Diet is an easy read from the founders of The Financial Diet Blog. It brings together the lessons learned and best financial practices from the blog and its author Chelsea Fagan. Among the colorful pages and digital resources, you’ll find insightful interviews and short sweet tips like Chelsea’s Don’t You F-ing Dare:
1. do not exceed your ability to pay shit back within a month
2. do not let yourself slip into a “CEO lifestyle”
3. do not check your account balance at least once a week
4. do not think savings are going to happen magically