“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 July 10, 2020
How to Reinvent Yourself and Change Your Life
There will always be times in your life when you may need to learn how to reinvent yourself. This could come when you experience a big change, such as leaving your job, moving on from a relationship, transferring to a new home, or losing a loved one. If you are going through a major shift in your life, you may have to find new ways of thinking or doing things, or risk failing to reach your full potential.
“When something bad happens, you have three choices. You can let it define you, let it destroy you, or you can let it strengthen you.”
Many people who dared to leave their old unhappy lives enabled themselves to pursue their passions and find a renewed zest for living. You can also achieve the same if you take a leap of faith and make things happen for yourself.
To help you always be at your best wherever you may be in your life, here are some practical tips on how to reinvent yourself.
The Reinvention Checklist
Before embarking on a journey of self-reinvention, you need to make sure that you have everything that you need to make the trip bump-proof. These things include:
Problems and obstacles are guaranteed to happen. Some of them will be difficult and may knock you off course; the important thing, however, is that you learn from these difficulties, never lose focus, and always get back up. This requires building resilience to get through the tough times.
Humans are social beings. Although it is important that you learn to rely on yourself when facing any challenge, it is also important to have a support team that you can lean on to give you a boost when things get too tough and to correct you when you’re making mistakes.
The key is to find the right balance between independence and dependence. Don’t be afraid to be vulnerable and share the difficulties you’re facing. When you open up, you’ll find the people who are really going to be there for you.
During the process of learning how to reinvent yourself, you will have to pull yourself away from your old comfort zones, habits, roles, and self-perceptions. This can be difficult and cause you to question your self-worth, so it’s important to engage in self-care to maintain a positive outlook and keep your mind and body healthy as you face the challenges that await you. Self-care can include:
- Participating in a hobby you enjoy
- Spending time with your support system
- Taking some time to walk in nature
- Practicing loving-kindness meditation
Find what works for you and what helps you feel like your true self as you seek a reinvented version of you.
How to Reinvent Yourself
Once you’re sure that you’re equipped with all the tools in the self-reinvention checklist, you can begin your journey of learning how to reinvent yourself.
1. Discover Your Strengths
This step provides valuable information on how you deal with certain situations. If you have this information, you will be able to manage difficulties more efficiently.
To find out what your strengths are, you can ask your friends and colleagues for feedback, engage in self-reflection, or try these 10 Ways to Find Your Own Personal Strengths.
This step calls for a thorough assessment of your current emotional, psychological, and financial status so that you can develop plans that are realistic and practical.
It’s okay to have ambitious dreams, but your plans have to be realistic. Making use of SMART goals can help you plan your life better.
Ultimately, you’ll want to create specific long-term and short-term goals that you can create milestones for. By doing this, you’ll lay out a specific roadmap to your reinvented self.
3. Try Things Out
Sometimes, we don’t know if solutions actually work until we try them out. This is why it is important to experiment whenever possible, especially if you’re dealing with a career change. You may need to simply experiment in order to find the things you like. This can be the same with hobbies. If you’re not sure what you would like doing, accept invitations from friends to join them in their favorite sport or take a class, like pottery or photography.
By seeing what’s out there in any area of your life, you’ll have a better chance of finding the things you enjoy and the goals you want to create.
4. Manage Your Finances Well
Changes may require a bit of money. If you’re shifting to a new career, you may have to pay for training. If you’re going through a tough divorce or having a hard time dealing with the death of a loved one, you may have to pay for therapy. If you’re moving to a new home, you’ll definitely have to pay a whole lot of expenses.
All of these things are possible, but it will require a bit of money savviness as you learn how to reinvent yourself. If you have that cushion, you’ll feel more comfortable straying from your current path to try new things.
5. Muster Your Courage
Fears and self-doubt may arise when you encounter difficulties and setbacks. Sometimes, they may also come when you’re taking risks. You have to manage these negative emotions well and not allow them to discourage you. Tap into your courage and try doing at least one new thing each week to develop it.
Learn how to deal with your self-doubts to move forward in this article: How Self Doubt Keeps You Stuck (And How to Overcome It)
6. Use Your Support Group
As stated above, you need to build a strong support group before you even start the process of reinventing yourself. Your group will keep you from taking wrong turns and encourage you when you get too weighed down by problems. Don’t be afraid to call them, or even ask them out for coffee if you need to vent about the current difficulties you’re facing.
7. Remind Yourself Every Day of Your Commitment
Write your goals on different-sized cards and scatter them at home and at work in places where you can easily see them. This way, you will constantly be reminded of where you want to be. Remember, writing down your goals helps them stick.
8. Accept Failure, Learn, and Resume Your Journey
Failing is normal, especially when we’re trying out something new. When you fail, simply recognize it, learn from it, and move on. Failure, in the end, is the best way to learn what does and doesn’t work, and you simply won’t be able to learn how to reinvent yourself if you don’t accept the inevitable failures that await you.
If you truly want to learn how to reinvent yourself and live the life you desire, take the advice above and start taking action. It will take time, patience, and plenty of effort to make the change you want happen, but it will be all worth it.
More Tips on How to Reinvent Yourself
- 10 Things You Can Do Now to Change Your Life Forever
- How to Start Over and Reboot Your Life When It Seems Too Late
- 7 Ways to Make Life Changing Decisions
Featured photo credit: Ashley Rich via unsplash.com