“He was a dreamer, a thinker, a speculative philosopher… or, as his wife would have it, an idiot.” ~Douglas Adams
Who doesn’t like to dream? Fantasies, daydreams, whimsies of all kinds are pleasant and indulgent. Dreams are thought candy—enjoyable in the right quantity and within a balanced thought diet.
Anyone who ever left a mark on this world had a dream. Whether they created a business, governed a country, or created a movement, it all started in their mind and heart as a dream. At the beginning, that dream might have been laced with fantasies of fame or riches or power. They may have pictured successes or accolades or respect. Therein lie the temptations and the snares of big dreams.Advertising
Of course it doesn’t stop there: dreaming is a place to start, but not one to prematurely end. Bringing a dream into the real world involves facing down challenges and problems, obstacles and outright resistance. So what separates the dreamers from the visionaries? How does a dream move from fantasy to reality?
When the Reality Kicks In
When we call someone a dreamer, it is rarely a compliment. We generally mean someone who is unfocused or lost in their own thoughts, and we expect that they are unlikely to do anything of value or to make any meaningful impact.Advertising
When we call someone a visionary, however, it is an entirely different matter. They are someone we see as ahead of their time, bold and adventurous. We expect them to do great things. The difference is they make things happen here in the real world.
So what is vision that makes it so different from dreaming? Vision is the result of applying the laws of physics, human nature and economics to a dream so as to transform that dream into a reality. The visionary ceases to luxuriate in all the possibilities that are inherent to dreaming, picks one and makes it real. Being a dreamer is a prerequisite for being a visionary but it is hardly a given that every dreamer becomes a visionary. Vision calls for refinement and many dreamers just aren’t willing to do the work or make the sacrifices that such refinement requires.
Does business or government or education or religion require vision? No. There are plenty of visionless organizations with visionless leaders. If that doesn’t sound very inspiring it is because it isn’t: vision is a motivator and so it is understandable that visionless organizations don’t do much to improve the world we live in. In fact, they are usually attempting to be a force to maintain the status quo. For anything to move forward, upward or onward, vision is required. Even small organizations can have an impact with enough vision behind them, and small organizations with vision often become large organizations. That’s how we got Kiva and NPR, Amber Alerts and Girl Scout cookies. It’s also how we got organic vegan mexican food at Gracia Madre and delicious Jersey milk and yogurt from Saint Benoit Creamery.Advertising
Don’t know those last two? It’s probably because they are also committed to being local in addition to healthy, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t visionary outfits lead by visionary people. There are times when the vision is deep rather than broad. That’s the great thing about vision—it is up to the visionary to choose.
Why Visionaries are Willing to Pay the Price
By now you have probably figured out that you can dream all you want for free but there is a price for being visionary. To turn a dream into a vision means making hard choices: it means ditching frivolous attachments and speculative leanings. That might sound like it would suck all the joy out of your dream, but consider this: would you prefer to spend your days wishing you had the perfect pony with a flowing mane and trophy-winning speed, or riding your own real live horse?
Not everyone is meant to saddle up. You might want the horse, you might want the race, or you might want the stables. There is a lot of room for complementary visions. Whatever your dream may be, one truth remains: it is vision that transforms dreams into reality. So buy that horse, because until you do there is nothing to ride. Learn to ride that horse until you can race, then race the best you can. Win or lose, you are now beyond the dream, doing something real.Advertising
Not every visionary is a household name but every visionary makes a difference. Join the ranks of those who, big and small, are making an impact because they are living their vision and not merely indulging some dream.
Last Updated on September 17, 2019
10 Simple Ways To Always Think Positive Thoughts
Positive thinking can lead to a lot of positive change in your life. Developing an optimistic outlook can be good for both your physical and mental health.
But sometimes, certain situations arise in life that makes it hard to keep a positive outlook. Take steps to make positive thinking become more like your second nature and you’ll reap the biggest benefits.
Here are 10 ways to make thinking positive thoughts easy:
1. Spend Time with Positive People
If you surround yourself with constant complainers, their negativity is likely to rub off on you.
Spend time with positive friends and family members to increase the likelihood that their positive thinking habits will become yours too. It’s hard to be negative when everyone around you is so positive.
2. Take Responsibility for Your Behavior
When you encounter problems and difficulties in life, don’t play the role of the victim. Acknowledge your role in the situation and take responsibility for your behavior.
Accepting responsibility can help you learn from mistakes and prevent you from blaming others unfairly.
3. Contribute to the Community
One of the best ways to feel good about what you have, is to focus on what you have to give.
Volunteer in some manner and give back to the community. Helping others can give you a new outlook on the world and can assist you with positive thinking.
4. Read Positive and Inspirational Materials
Spend time each day reading something that encourages positive thinking. Read the Bible, spiritual material, or inspirational quotes to help you focus on what’s important to you in life. It can be a great way to start and end your day.
Some recommendations for you:
- 30 Of The Most Inspirational Quotes Of All Time
- You Are What You Listen To: 11 Podcasts To Inspire Yourself
- 10 Best Inspirational Books That Can Change Your Life
- 30 Inspirational Songs that Keep You Motivated for Life
5. Recognize and Replace Negative Thoughts
You won’t be successful at positive thinking if you’re still plagued by frequent negative thoughts. Learn to recognize and replace thoughts that are overly negative. Often, thoughts that include words like “always” and “never” signal that they aren’t true.
If you find yourself thinking something such as, “I always mess everything up,” replace it with something more realistic such as, “Sometimes I make mistakes but I learn from them.”
There’s no need to make your thoughts unrealistically positive, but instead, make them more realistic.
6. Establish and Work Toward Goals
It’s easier to be positive about problems and setbacks when you have goals that you’re working toward. Goals will give you motivation to overcome those obstacles when you encounter problems along the way. Without clear goals, it’s harder to make decisions and gauge your progress.
Learn to set SMART goals to help you achieve more.
7. Consider the Consequences of Negativity
Spend some time thinking about the consequences of negative thinking. Often, it can become a self-fulfilling prophecy.
For example, a person who thinks, “I probably won’t get this job interview,” may put less effort into the interview. As a result, he may decrease his chances of getting the job.
Create a list of all the ways negative thinking impacts your life. It likely influences your behavior, your relationships, and your feelings. Then, create a list of the ways in which positive thinking could be beneficial.
8. Offer Compliments to Others
Look for reasons to compliment others. Be genuine in your praise and compliments, but offer it frequently. This will help you look for the good in other people.
9. Create a Daily Gratitude List
If you start keeping a daily gratitude list, you’ll start noticing exactly how much you have to be thankful for. This can help you focus on the positive in your life instead of thinking about all the bad things that have happened in the day.
Getting in the habit of showing an attitude of gratitude makes positive thinking more of a habit. Here’re 40 Simple Ways To Practice Gratitude.
10. Practice Self-Care
Take good care of yourself and you’ll be more equipped to think positively.
Get plenty of rest and exercise and practice managing your stress well. Taking care of your physical and mental health will provide you with more energy to focus on positive thinking.
Learn about these 30 Self-Care Habits for a Strong and Healthy Mind, Body and Spirit.
More About Staying Positive
- How to Get Motivated and Be Happy Every Day When You Wake Up
- 10 Negative Thoughts We All Have And What We Should Think Instead
- 10 Scientifically Proven Ways To Stay Happy All The Time
Featured photo credit: DESIGNECOLOGIST via unsplash.com