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How To Be The Master of Your Dreams

How To Be The Master of Your Dreams

Many people all over the globe dream about doing great things but never really get down the achieving them. In my viewpoint, these people aren’t foolish, laggards or cowardly: they merely have yet to find out ways to turn their dreams into reality. Dreams, like fire, are very powerful, but one is better off if the dream is one’s servant rather than one’s master.

Dreams are part of our lives and we cannot wish them away (as they are often in our subconscious minds), but as human beings we would rather fantasize than actually experience the challenges of what living out our dreams might entail. We know that living our dreams means we have to fight failure, frustration, monotony and long days in order to welcome success, jubilation and recognition, and as if our dreams know this, they encourage us to focus on the positive facets of realizing them. It’s as though we have sieves that filter out the difficult tasks and events that could stop us from achieving our goals.

Positive and Negative Aspects of Our Dreams

Well, no one is against dreaming here: in fact, dreaming is a pretty important aspect of our lives. We  should all have a vision that results from a dream we wish to attain, and it’s important to develop smart objectives of what we want to achieve in our lifetime. It is here that dreaming comes to our assistance by helping us shape our vision as well as our objectives. Dreams themselves are not bad at all, but they can be detrimental when one is stuck on a vision or objective that clearly cannot work out. For example, imagining that your lover will come back to life after they pass on may help with the healing process in the short run, but it will not bring the dead to life. After some time, that dream had better stop to pave room for other, more realistic dreams.

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In the case of dreaming about unrealistic events, dreams become your master, rather than your servant. Dreaming can also become your master if they stop you from taking that initial step in making your dreams come true. If you feel lady luck has to confirm something before you can to forge ahead with action, then you are clearly the servant. Fantasies are your master when you can’t change your dream to accommodate the random challenges that life tosses at you.

Ways in Which Dreams Can Control You

There are other ways that your dreams can control you: they master your behavior when you find a pure, unadulterated variation of your goal, and refuse to adjust to it because it is not what you had envisaged. Perhaps an alternative plan has presented itself, but because you are so transfixed on the initial dream, you still insist on following it and ignoring every thing else. Seeking the perfect time, or seeking the ideal situation, is precisely how your dream gets delayed or unachieved.

Setting Yourself Free

If you want to turn your life around and become the master of your dream then you must reflect back upon the points above and figure out who the master has been. Is it you or your dreams? If your fantasies have been in control, then you need to find a way to free yourself from their bonds.

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To do this, the first thing you need to do is to make decisions, and apply them. Remember that so long as you are unsure about what needs to be done, you won’t have the ability to move forward with your goal. If you wish to move forward, you simply have to choose a direction, and move towards it: any decision you make will spur you into action. At this point, don’t worry if your decisions are disastrous—if your decision produces a bad result, you can always change direction later on.

It’s also important not to over-analyze your vision. We often have a bad habit of focusing on how much cash we might make, or what awards we might get, immersing ourselves in case studies, etc. That in itself is okay, so long as we don’t get stuck there. In over-analyzing dreams, you will procrastinate a lot and fail to realize the goal you had in mind. Instead of analyzing all the “what if?” aspects of recognizing your ambition, make solid choices that will help you achieve them.

Self-Awareness and Detachment

When pursuing your dreams, it’s important to not compare yourself with others. You’ll never have the ability to attain the kind of success that someone else has already accomplished, and no-one else will be able to accomplish the kind of success that you might potentially accomplish. Each journey is an individual one, so focus on achieving the success that is only feasible for you.

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Ultimately, to win at mastering your dreams, you also need to detach yourself from the outcome and remember that you are just participating in the process. What will come of out of your efforts is not only up to you, as there will always be external factors. What you can control is your own effort in pursuing your goal.

Keep in mind that dreaming is good, but just like anything else, too much of it can be harmful. Daydream in moderation, but don’t let those fantasies keep you from accomplishing your dreams themselves.

If you follow the simple suggestions above, you will undoubtedly help your dreams become reality.

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Featured photo credit:  Painting the world. Smiling girl on grass with a paintbrush via Shutterstock

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Last Updated on March 21, 2019

11 Important Things to Remember When Changing Habits

11 Important Things to Remember When Changing Habits

Most gurus talk about habits in a way that doesn’t help you:

You need to push yourself more. You can’t be lazy. You need to wake up at 5 am. You need more motivation. You can never fail…blah blah “insert more gibberish here.”

But let me share with you the unconventional truths I found out:

To build and change habits, you don’t need motivation or wake up at 5 am. Heck, you can fail multiple times, be lazy, have no motivation and still pull it off with ease.

It’s quite simple and easy to do, especially with the following list I’m going to show to you. But remember, Jim Rohn used to say,

“What is simple and easy to do is also simple and easy not to do.”

The important things to remember when changing your habits are both simple and easy, just don’t think that they don’t make any difference because they do.

In fact, they are the only things that make a difference.

Let’s see what those small things are, shall we?

1. Start Small

The biggest mistake I see people doing with habits is by going big. You don’t go big…ever. You start small with your habits.

Want to grow a book reading habit? Don’t start reading a book a day. Start with 10 pages a day.

Want to become a writer? Don’t start writing 10,000 words a day. Start with 300 words.

Want to lose weight? Don’t stop eating ice cream. Eat one less ball of it.

Whatever it is, you need to start small. Starting big always leads to failure. It has to, because it’s not sustainable.

Start small. How small? The amount needs to be in your comfort zone. So if you think that reading 20 pages of a book is a bit too much, start with 10 or 5.

It needs to appear easy and be easy to do.

Do less today to do more in a year.

2. Stay Small

There is a notion of Kaizen which means continuous improvement. They use this notion in habits where they tell you to start with reading 1 page of a book a day and then gradually increase the amount you do over time.

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But the problem with this approach is the end line — where the “improvement” stops.

If I go from reading 1 page of a book a day and gradually reach 75 and 100, when do I stop? When I reach 1 book a day? That is just absurd.

When you start a habit, stay at it in the intensity you have decided. Don’t push yourself for more.

I started reading 20 pages of a book a day. It’s been more than 2 years now and I’ve read 101 books in that period. There is no way I will increase the number in the future.

Why?

Because reading 40 to 50 books a year is enough.

The same thing applies to every other habit out there.

Pick a (small) number and stay at it.

3. Bad Days Are 100 Percent Occurrence

No matter how great you are, you will have bad days where you won’t do your habit. Period.

There is no way of going around this. So it’s better to prepare yourself for when that happens instead of thinking that it won’t ever happen.

What I do when I miss a day of my habit(s) is that I try to bounce back the next day while trying to do habits for both of those days.

Example for that is if I read 20 pages of a book a day and I miss a day, the next day I will have to read 40 pages of a book. If I miss writing 500 words, the next day I need to write 1000.

This is a really important point we will discuss later on rewards and punishments.

This is how I prepare for the bad days when I skip my habit(s) and it’s a model you should take as well.

4. Those Who Track It, Hack It

When you track an activity, you can objectively tell what you did in the past days, weeks, months, and years. If you don’t track, you will for sure forget everything you did.

There are many different ways you can track your activities today, from Habitica to a simple Excel sheet that I use, to even a Whatsapp Tracker.

Peter Drucker said,

“What you track is what you do.”

So track it to do it — it really helps.

But tracking is accompanied by one more easy activity — measuring.

5. Measure Once, Do Twice

Peter Drucker also said,

“What you measure is what you improve.”

So alongside my tracker, I have numbers with which I measure doses of daily activities:

For reading, it’s 20 pages.
For writing, it’s 500 words.
For the gym, it’s 1 (I went) or 0 (didn’t go).
For budgeting, it’s writing down the incomes and expenses.

Tracking and measuring go hand in hand, they take less than 20 seconds a day but they create so much momentum that it’s unbelievable.

6. All Days Make a Difference

Will one day in the gym make you fit? It won’t.

Will two? They won’t.

Will three? They won’t.

Which means that a single gym session won’t make you fit. But after 100 gym sessions, you will look and feel fit.

What happened? Which one made you fit?

The answer to this (Sorites paradox)[1] is that no single gym session made you fit, they all did.

No single day makes a difference, but when combined, they all do. So trust the process and keep on going (small).

7. They Are Never Fully Automated

Gurus tell you that habits become automatic. And yes, some of them do, like showering a certain way of brushing your teeth.

But some habits don’t become automatic, they become a lifestyle.

What I mean by that is that you won’t automatically “wake up” in the gym and wonder how you got there.

It will just become a part of your lifestyle.

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The difference is that you do the first one automatically, without conscious thought, while the other is a part of how you live your life.

It’s not automatic, but it’s a decision you don’t ponder on or think about — you simply do it.

It will become easy at a certain point, but they will never become fully automated.

8. What Got You Here Won’t Get You There

Marshall Goldsmith has a great book with the same title to it. The phrase means that sometimes, you will need to ditch certain habits to make room for other ones which will bring you to the next step.

Don’t be afraid to evolve your habits when you sense that they don’t bring you where you want to go.

When I started reading, it was about reading business and tactic books. But two years into it, I switched to philosophy books which don’t teach me anything “applicable,” but instead teach me how to think.

The most important ability of the 21st century is the ability to learn, unlearn, and relearn. The strongest tree is the willow tree – not because it has the strongest root or biggest trunk, but because it is flexible enough to endure and sustain anything.

Be like a willow, adapting to the new ways of doing things.

9. Set a Goal and Then Forget It

The most successful of us know what they want to achieve, but they don’t focus on it.

Sounds paradoxical? You’re right, it does. But here is the logic behind it.

You need to have a goal of doing something – “I want to become a healthy individual” – and then, you need to reverse engineer how to get there with your habits- “I will go to the gym four times a week.”

But once you have your goal, you need to “forget” about it and only focus on the process. Because you are working on the process of becoming healthy and it’s always in the making. You will only be as healthy as you take care of your body.

So you have a goal which isn’t static but keeps on moving.

If you went to the gym 150 times year and you hit your goal, what would you do then? You would stop going to the gym.

This is why goal-oriented people experience yo-yo effect[2] and why process-oriented people don’t.

The difference between process-oriented and goal-oriented people is that the first focus on daily actions while others only focus on the reward at the finish line.

Set a goal but then forget about it and reap massive awards.

10. Punish Yourself

Last two sections are pure Pavlovian – you need to punish bad behavior and reward good behavior. You are the only person who decides what is good and what is bad for you, but when you do, you need to rigorously follow that.

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I’ve told you in point #3 about bad days and how after one occurs, I do double the work on the next day. That is one of my forms of punishments.

It’s the need to tell your brain that certain behaviors are unacceptable and that they lead to bad outcomes. That’s what punishments are for.

You want to tell your brain that there are real consequences to missing your daily habits.[3]

No favorite food to eat or favorite show to watch or going to the cinema for a new Marvel movie- none, zero, zilch.

The brain will remember these bad feelings and will try to avoid the behaviors that led to them as much as possible.

But don’t forget the other side of the same coin.

11. Reward Yourself

When you follow and execute on your plan, reward yourself. It’s how the brain knows that you did something good.

Whenever I finish one of my habits for the day, I open my tracker (who am I kidding, I always keep it open on my desktop) and fill it with a number. As soon as I finish reading 20 pages of a book a day (or a bit more), I open the tracker and write the number down.

The cell becomes green and gives me an instant boost of endorphin – a great success for the day. Then, it becomes all about not breaking the chain and having as many green fields as possible.

After 100 days, I crunch some numbers and see how I did.

If I have less than 10 cheat days, I reward myself with a great meal in a restaurant. You can create your own rewards and they can be daily, weekly, monthly or any arbitrary time table that you create.

Primoz Bozic, a productivity coach, has gold, silver, and bronze medals as his reward system.[4]

If you’re having problems creating a system which works for you, contact me via email and we can discuss specifics.

In the End, It Matters

What you do matters not only to you but to the people around you.

When you increase the quality of your life, you indirectly increase the quality of life of people around you. And sometimes, that is all the “motivation” we need to start.

And that’s the best quote for the end of this article:

“Motivation gets you started, but habits keep you going.”

Keep going.

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More Resources to Help You Build Habits

Featured photo credit: Anete Lūsiņa via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy: Sorites paradox
[2] Muscle Zone: What causes yo-yo effect and how to avoid it?
[3] Growth Habits: 5 Missteps That Cause You To Quit Building A Habit
[4] Primoz Bozic: The Lean Review: How to Plan Your 2019 in 20 Minutes

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