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10 Common Blind Spots For Those Pursuing Dreams

10 Common Blind Spots For Those Pursuing Dreams

“Be careful what you water your dreams with.  Water them with worry and fear and you will produce weeds that choke the life from your dream.  Water them with optimism and solutions and you will cultivate success.  Always be on the lookout for ways to turn a problem into an opportunity for success.  Always be on the lookout for ways to nurture your dreams.” – Lao Tsu

Blind spots, in the context of us humans, refers to those aspects of ourselves that we are not fully conscious of. Whether we admit it or not, we all have blind spots. Some of which affect those of us pursuing dreams. These blind spots could be qualities like our personality traits, values, actions, habits, feelings, thoughts, etc. Some are just because we are human. It’s due to how we process information and how we see the world around us.

Why is it important for people who are pursing their dreams to know their blind spots? Because it is a necessary part of their personal growth.

Identifying the blind spots and understanding them heightens a person’s level of self-awareness. When they develop a greater self-awareness, it puts them in greater alignment with themselves. The result is a speedier progression toward achieving their dreams.

Here are 10 common blind spots that people pursuing their dreams are unaware they have.

1. They Forget To Live A Great Life In The Now

Dreams are about the future and reaching a destination. When people are chasing their dreams they tend to lose sight of where they are in the here and now. They are often pursuing the dream to fulfill their own desires. Many people lose perspective when they are in the pursuit of happiness.

Many believe that by achieving their dreams they will gain happiness. This is not so. Happiness is experienced within a person and within their present life.  If a person can not appreciate the things in their life that make them happy now, there is no guarantee that happiness will come to them in the future.

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Happiness is a high energy vibration. When people take care of the good things in their life (that they already have now), their dreams will follow.

2. They Fail To Recognize The Importance Of Self Reflection

Focus and commitment are key when one is pursuing a dream. Without the practice of self reflection, focus and commitment soon die away.

Self refection is a technique that fuels energy. It is this energy that drives one’s focus, commitment, and motivation towards their dreams.

Reflecting allows a person to learn from his or her own mistakes and past situations.Without the process of actively thinking about those experiences and questioning ourselves, learning doesn’t happen.

To maintain motivation and commitment to pursuing the dream, one needs to practice the technique of self reflection. A person’s life significantly improves by asking simple questions such as: “What did I do well in that situation”, “What didn’t go so well for me?”, and “What would I do differently?” These questions ultimately provide more energy to follow the dream.

3. They Ignore The Importance Of Their Emotional and Physical Health And Well-Being

Pursuing a dream takes time and energy. It is a challenging journey. People who are so focused on chasing the dream often ignore the importance of looking after their emotional health and physical well-being.  Looking after one’s health and well-being is the key to building a person’s strength: physically, mentally, and emotionally. It is also a key ingredient to people living a resilient life and an important trait to have when pursuing the dream.

4. They Don’t Realise The Importance Of Asking For Help

Asking for help is a sign of strength, not weakness. There is no way a person can pursue their dreams alone. It is essential to seek support, advice, and encouragement from others, especially when times are tough.

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In fact, asking for help is a critical factor in the success of the journey. When chasing the dream, people need learn to value the input of others, along with their wisdom and energy. Others can help them overcome adversity or solve the problems they are facing.

5. They Forget To Keep Learning

Pursing dreams takes up a huge amount of time and energy. Who has the time to read books, search out information, and gain more knowledge? Often people think that once they have achieved the dreams, then they will have all the time in the world. This does not happen.

Information and knowledge empowers a person to take action. As a result, they are able to make decisions that are effective. Little knowledge and small bits of information do not help make the kind of decisions one needs to make when pursuing their dreams.

6. They Believe They Don’t Have The Time To Serve Others, Or Practise Appreciation And Gratitude Daily

Life tends to become very insular for people while they chase the dream. They don’t have much free time to do much else but pursue their dream.Their passion is usually wrapped up tightly into their dream. Life; however, is not just about them. They need to remember that happiness in life is very much about how they can help and support others.

Helping others, practicing appreciation, and gratitude strengthens a person’s emotional resilience. This strategy is another source of energy that fuels the commitment and motivation for people to continue chasing their dreams.

7. They Fail To Seek Feedback and Ignore Opposing Views

Confirmation bias is a tendency of a person to search for instances that confirm their beliefs rather than search for evidence that challenges their beliefs. For the most part, people are not aware of the many times they use confirmation bias.

This bias causes people to think selectively. However, the real trouble begins when confirmation bias distorts a person’s active pursuit of facts, how they gather information, and how they makes decisions. Bad decisions are often made when confirmation bias is operating. People can place too much faith in their own knowledge and opinions. They believe their contribution to a decision is more valuable than it actually is. When this happens, people fail to spot their limits of their knowledge, thus perceiving less risk.

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Some will succeed in achieving their dreams, but most won’t because they have not considered the risks or have made decisions based on hunches and potentially unreliable information. The best strategy to ensure a person’s confirmation bias is to constantly seek feedback from others and be open to considering opposing view points and information. By seeking feedback and considering opposing viewpoints, a person will know that they are making  decisions that are based on fact and analysis, rather than thinking which has been influenced by confirmation bias.

A person pursuing their dreams will be faced with many challenges, problems, and issues along the way. Keeping an open mind and knowing how to make informed decisions will enable them to to stay on task. They will be more focused and confident that they are on the right path to achieving their dreams.

8. They Forget That Small Changes Can Make A Big Difference

Dreaming big and chasing your dreams is a fantastic quality. It is courageous and hugely rewarding. However; on the flip side, it is also scary, challenging, and overwhelming. The dream can be so big that many people will become tangled up in the web of activities that focus on chasing the big dream. They forget that by making small changes and taking small steps every day is how one really achieves their dreams.

9. They Fail To Prepare For The Unexpected

When people are pursing their dreams they often forget to expect the unexpected. When they are not prepared for the unexpected and it happens, these events bring their world to a crashing halt.

Preparing for the unexpected is the best they can manage, when it comes to pursuing their dreams or any other life goals that they set. By preparing for the unexpected, they are more likely not to give up on their dreams.

There are 3 key steps to prepare for the unexpected:

Step 1: Acknowledge the unexpected

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Step 2: Prepare for the unexpected by making an Action Plan. The Action Plan needs to consider these two questions: How would you deal with this obstacle when it comes up? And, What steps would you put in action to overcome this hurdle?

Step 3: Move on toward achieving your dreams

10. They believe That Celebrating And Having Fun Comes When You Achieve The Dream

Having lots of fun, being positive, optimistic, and consistently celebrating successes creates an energy that is upbeat and positive. This energy creates momentum to keep chasing the dream. It also attracts positive experiences into a person’s life.

People are attracted to another person’s enthusiasm, energy, optimism, and hope. These are contagious qualities. The more supportive and life-loving people that a person has around them, the more chance that person has in successfully achieving their dream.

Many people rush into chasing their dreams without being fully prepared. The end result for many of them is that they never achieve their dreams. They often end up disillusioned, hugely disappointed, and full of regret. By identifying and acknowledging these blind spots, the pursuer’s chances of achieving their dreams increases by 100 percent.

 “All men dream, but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds, wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act on their dreams with open eyes, to make them possible.” – T. E. Lawrence

More by this author

Kathryn Sandford

Career Resilience Coach passionate about supporting others to grow and thrive in a complex world.

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Last Updated on May 21, 2019

How to Be More Creative and Come up with Incredible Ideas

How to Be More Creative and Come up with Incredible Ideas

Regardless of how creative you already consider yourself to be, there’s a good chance you would like to level up your creative abilities.

You might want to write a better song, think of better solutions to problems at work or around the home or maybe paint a picture.

In any case, the good news is that creativity is not born: it’s made, and each one of us has the potential to be more creative and come up with incredible ideas.

“Creativity is any act, idea, or product that changes an existing domain, or that transforms an existing domain into a new one.” — Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

The definition of creativity is broad, and reminds us that creativity is not limited to artists or musicians. It does however require that we have some kind of impact on the domain in which we create.

Creativity also emphasizes values.

“The process of having original ideas that have value” — Ken Robinson

This makes up for what Csikszentmihalyi misses out. For instance, we can make a change in the world without adding significant value. Any destructive act, like smashing a window, creates change, but it doesn’t necessarily create valuable change.

In short, there isn’t one single definition of creativity It’s up to us to find a definition that feels true and useful. When you know what your standard is, It’s much easier to embrace creativity and start to cultivate it.

And in this article, you will learn how to be more creative and take a good look at what goes into the creative skill:

1. Cultivate Focus

In order to create, there needs to be a focus on creating something, whether it’s a song, a theory, a product, or a sculpture.

You could also call this “drive” – it’s the initial spark that drives the solution to a problem, or the will to get on your laptop and start typing.

However, it’s worth noting there are different stages to the creative process: the divergent stage and the convergent stage.

In the divergent stage, we want a broad focus – we want to be willing to let in lots of different inputs, ideas and insights. This is the time for brainstorming all possible ideas and solutions.

In the convergent stage, we start to narrow our focus, like a camera lens. At this stage, we start to drill down to a handful of ideas or solutions, discriminating throughout the process.

How to cultivate focus?

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Take a 20 Minute Walk

Walking away and getting your heart rate up is the best free tool you have in regaining your focus.

I know it might seem counterintuitive to take a break right when you’re at your busiest, and especially when you’re drowning in your massive to do list, but the effects it will have on your clarity and ability to focus are undeniable.

Walking is physiologically proven to release stress, and clear your mind. In fact, most of my most brilliant ideas (and some pretty terrible ones too) have occurred on my daily walks.

If you give this technique a try, what you’ll find is that you’re much more productive than you were before you took a breather.

Over time, if you do these walks daily, you’ll quickly find that your to-do list starts to feel a lot less significant, and a lot more doable. It’s all about keeping razor focused, and that’s what short daily walks will gift you.

2. Build a Structure

When I wake up in the morning, I start the day with a structure in mind. I know that 15 minutes will be dedicated to meditation, 30 minutes to coffee and reading, 20 minutes to yoga and so on.

The structure of this morning routine might be boring, but the act of each task in itself has the potential to be, on some level, “creative.”

The point of structure is that it gives you the space to make time for something you want to do. It helps you carve out the time to do your creative work. Once you begin that thing in itself, you are free to go about it however you’d like.

Without structure, we can lose focus and can feel overwhelmed with possibility. If you’ve ever looked at a blank page and felt too overwhelmed with possibility to make a mark on it, you’ll know what I mean. How much easier it gets when you are given some guidelines or a deadline?

The trick is finding the right amount of structure for you and your creative needs. Too little structure and we feel overwhelmed. Too much structure, and we risk feeling limited and stifled.

Again, it’s worth thinking about creating in those two stages: divergent (less structure) and convergent (more structure.)

How to build a structure?

Create a Morning Routine

Your morning routine doesn’t have to be rigid or so arduous you dread waking up. In fact, it should feel like the opposite. When you get a routine that works for you, you’ll look forward to starting the day.

We all have different needs and preferences which can shape our ideal routine. In the book, Daily Rituals: How Artists Work by Mason Currey, you can be inspired over 160 different creators’ daily routines, from Charles Darwin to Pablo Picasso.

Experiment with any that take your fancy, and see how you feel with a bit more structure to start your day.

You can also take a look at this article about morning routine for inspirations: The Ultimate Morning Routine to Make You Happy And Productive All Day

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3. Find Motivation

There is a theory that suggests: people will be most creative when they feel motivated primarily by the interest, satisfaction, and challenge of the work itself — not by external pressures. This is also known as intrinsic motivation; a drive that comes from within.

Think of a time when you did some of your best work — chances are you were totally absorbed in what you were doing, to the exclusion of everything else. You were completely focused on the work itself, barely noticing time flying by.

Now think of a time when you felt under pressure to perform. Maybe it was an exam, or a commission for an important client, or maybe your boss had told you “there’s a lot riding on this.”

Notice the difference? In the first memory, you were driven by intrinsic motivation, which made it relatively easy, even enjoyable, to be highly creative.

In the second memory however, extrinsic motivation was breathing down your neck, distracting you by whispering about the rewards for success and the horrible consequences of failure: likely making it harder to focus on the task at hand.

For this reason, intrinsic motivation, if you can find it, is what separates the good from great creative work.

This isn’t to say only internal motivators help. I personally get motivated by luring myself to work with a good cappuccino at my favourite cafe. That will get me ready to write or edit or whatever I’ve been avoiding.

How to find motivation?

Connect to Your “Why”

Your “Why” is your fuel: the thing that drives you forward, that gives you a reason to do what you’re doing.

‘He who has a why to live can bear almost any how.’ — Friedrich Nietzche

When you have a reason to do something, a purpose or a goal that matters to you, you can connect your daily actions to it. Then, each act becomes infused with meaning and you find that intrinsic motivation comes naturally.

The trick is to remember your “why” and connect with it on a regular basis.

Think about how you want to feel on a daily basis. What would you like to accomplish in the next year? What would you like for yourself in the next five years? How about in your lifetime?

Ultimately, the tasks you face on a daily basis, or at least some of them, will connect to a greater purpose if you follow this path and you will find you feel more motivated to create and less resistance.

If you aren’t sure where to start looking for motivation, this will help: How to Get Motivated and Be Happy Every Day When You Wake Up

4. Be an Expert in a Chosen Domain

Research has shown that just as expertise in one domain does not predict expertise in other unrelated domains; creativity in one domain does not predict creativity in other unrelated domains.[1]

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So just because you can paint a pretty picture, doesn’t mean you can creatively solve a mathematical problem.

If you’ve taken one of those tests like the Torrance Tests of Creative Thinking, which will ask you to think of a bazillion uses for a pencil, and scored well, unfortunately this is only an indicator of divergent thinking skills. It is not a predictor for creativity all round.

The good news is, you can train your creativity in your chosen domain. Much like a muscle, you can isolate exercises to strengthen it.

Of course you can still do a total body workout – or atotal creativity workout – but it means your creativity-training exercises need to come from a wide variety of domains; not just thinking up uses for a pencil.

How to become an expert?

Make a Mastery Training Plan

Following our physical workout analogy, it’s worth applying the habits of great athletes to your chosen creative domain. For example:

1. Decide what area/s you want to work on

Much like a tennis player who decides they need to improve their serving technique, you can decide what area within your creative domain you want to improve at. Get specific.

2. Decide how much time you can dedicate

Most of us don’t have all day to train like a pro tennis player might, but you can likely squeeze 20 to 30 minutes in a day, if you want to. Whatever the time you can allow is, decide to dedicate yourself to it.

3. Review your progress

Finally, in order to check your progress, you can take regular reviews. Decide what your metrics are, and take time each week to check in with yourself.

How many days did you practice? How did you compare to the previous week? This kind of review can help you stay on track, and actually creates more intrinsic motivation as you see yourself develop.

5. Create a Conducive Environment

A psychologist in 1943 proposed that behaviour is:[2]

“a function of both the person as well as the physical environment they are in.”

I would suggest that the act of creating is a behaviour and that, even though it begins as an internal process, it’s very much affected by and even dependent on the environment we are in.

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I started noticing how environment affects me when I worked in an office. Over time, I realized that the more people who were in or who were talking, the more distracted I was. If I got to the office early before my coworkers arrived, I was twice as effective.

I was even more effective if I was at home. Now that I work from home, I know I’m even more effective when in certain coffee shops. Ideally, places that have high ceilings, gentle lighting, some barely noticeable background music – and excellent coffee.

It’s these little variations in our environment that can really shape our creative output.

If you’re an introvert, you probably do your best work alone. If you’re an extrovert, you probably do your best work in the company of others.

This isn’t to say you should find one way of doing things and stick to it: in fact, varying your environment from time to time is a great way to stoke the creative fire too, which we’ll touch on more later.

How to create a conducive environment?

Add or Subtract Stimuli

Novelty in our environment has been shown to stimulate the release of dopamine, a neurotransmitter that increases our desire to seek out reward.[3]

If you’re looking for creative motivation, adding some novelty into your environment can be just what you need.

On the other hand, some people are highly sensitive and when it comes to having too much stimulation in their environment, they find it difficult to focus.

Experiment with working in different environments. Note how you feel. Note whether you do better creative work or have more interesting ideas when you’re alone or with others.

Try listening to music, people chatting or try being in complete silence. Try a dimly lit room, try working in bright sunlight.

In each case, note how you feel before, during and afterwards and rate the quality of your work.

The Bottom Line

Creativity is not one particular skill or talent one can have. It comes in as many broad and unique flavors as there are people on this earth.

To be more creative, take little steps each day. Acknowledge where and when you feel most inspired, motivated and original and spend more energy in those areas.

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Featured photo credit: Sticker Mule via unsplash.com

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