The following is an excerpt from my forthcoming book, “Prescriptions for Winning at Life:”
The Dream of Dreams
I believe that one can describe the journey through one’s business and personal life as playing a series of winnable games worth playing. One of my mentors, Coachville’s Dave Buck says there are 3 types of people; people who are playing winnable games that are worth playing, meaning that they are engaged in life’s activities that are either where their passion is or where they really want to be or better yet both, AND they are winnable games. Without both elements, they fall into the second category of folks who in the long run will never achieve the level of happiness and satisfaction of the first group.
This group is either doing what they want to do but the game is not winnable or the opposite they are playing a very winnable ( meaning achievable) game ( their job, profession, life) but it is not their winnable game.
An example of the first type would be a person who has aspired to be a world-class pianist but just doesn’t have the chops, the talent to achieve that goal. An example of the latter type could be a person whose parents pressured him into becoming a medical doctor. He became a renowned surgeon but he was very unhappy. When he once again took up jazz piano along with being a surgeon, his life felt totally fulfilled.
The third group is those people who are neither playing winnable games nor do they have a clue as to what is worthwhile playing. These folks just wandering aimlessly through life in job after job, only temporarily happy at what they are doing and not having a clue as to where they are or why they are there. All they know is that this is another less than happy situation in their lives.
For this last group, they are like the poor little lamb that has lost his way, of nursery fame. They are either those who started out in life with an idea of what they wanted to do, but did not do anything to keep that vision or dream alive or they really haven’t a clue and just muddle on through life aimlessly. For those who really do not have any idea of what are their interests or passions, consulting with a career coach that specializes in assisting people to discover their passions and/or aptitudes would be a good first step.
Just knowing where one’s passions are and what kind of life’s work would be most satisfying or fulfilling, is not enough to ensure that in the long run those goals will be achieved. The missing element is what I call, “The Dream of Dreams.” The Dream of Dreams is a visualization of what life would look like if his or her fondest, most passionate aspirations are happening right now. The Dream of Dreams is like an automatic pilot in an aircraft. The autopilot is an instrument that once it knows the destination of the plane will keep the plane on course even when the wind keeps attempting to blow it off course. Autopilots cannot do their work if they do not have specific destinations entered into the system. If an airline pilot was heading to Hawaii from Los Angeles and the pilot gave the autopilot the destination of “West” rather than the exact coordinates of Honolulu Airport, everyone will get very wet when the plane misses the island and runs out of fuel. That is exactly what happened to those folks who did not continually work on their Dream of Dreams.
When the inner mind, which computes visually, gets a clear picture of where the person wants to go, it will automatically keep him or her on track. The best way to program the inner mind is through visualization. The following is the visualization process. Please keep in mind that this is a practice, not just a one-time thing. Machines like autopilot in planes only require a one-time setting for them to work. Our inner minds need continual visual suggestions for them to finally get that this is a new program for doing things, a new destination. When it does, they will continue on that course forever. This is why habits are so very hard to get rid of.
All suggestions and imagery must be in the positive, meaning that the inner mind drops the word, “not” out of the suggestion so, “I am not afraid,” gets heard as “ I am afraid.” “I’m feeling very confident,” works much better. Because the inner mind only thinks of time as being in the present tense, ie: NOW!, with little or no concept of pasts and futures, all imagery must be in the present tense as if it is happening now. It is a strange construction but the effective form would be, “In 10 years, I AM doing….” not “will be doing ……”
So what is The Dream of Dreams? The Dream of Dreams is that dream that, assuming you have all the education you would ever need, all the finances, all the breaks, and all the experience, in other words, every resource you would ever need, would be exactly where you would ultimately like to be ending up in your life. The dream incidentally, is always under construction. The most important part is that for it to produce the intended results, dreaming it must become a part of one’s daily practice.
There was a period in my life when I realized that I was stagnating and not liking what I was doing, work-wise. I started depressing myself a bit. Because it was not the me that I am used to. I started an exploration of why this was happening and discovered that because I had actually achieved and had been living my original Dream of Dream, I had neglected to revise it to include my new goals and life’s desires. So my inner mind no longer had a destination and it shut down the creative process and therefore I was in the doldrums.
When I take clients through this exercise of forming and imaging The Dream of Dreams, I would usually say, “Close your eyes and go inside for a while. Imagine and picture that I have a magic wand and when I tap you on the shoulder, you will be transported to a time in your future when you are in your perfect life. You are doing the things you always most wanted to do and living the life you always wanted to live. You have all the resources and abilities you will ever need to be living the ultimate life. So now picture and imagine that if you were open your eyes, you would be in that ultimate life. Look around now. What do you see you doing? What is your occupation? Where are you living? Who are your friends and associates? Now look closer and engage all your senses. If you are at work where are you? If you see yourself as a renowned professor, what does your office look like, what degrees and letters of appreciation are on your wall? What are people telling you and writing about you? If you are a famous actor, picture yourself in the ultimate role in the movies or play of your fondest dreams. What do your surroundings smell like? Who are your co-stars? Notice the rave reviews of your performances hanging on your dressing-room walls. How does that feel? What are you telling yourself about all this success? Picture yourself being interviewed by the TV interviewer who only interviews major celebs. How great does that feel?
If you regularly practice dreaming this Dream of Dreams, always revising it to reflect your current aspirations, it is almost guaranteed that you will someday realize that you are living what you once dreamed of being. That is because your inner mind, once it grabs that this is the destination it is supposed to be moving towards, will automatically get you to make the responsible choices you need to make to keep you on track. The beauty of this technique is that it is a willpowerless solution! Willpower is an outer mind trying to override an inner mind program, an utterly useless effort that usually leads to frustration and failure. Because The Dream of Dreams usually updates that vision directly into your inner mind through visualization, a language it understands the need to override or try to override its programming is avoided.
One last requirement about visualizing the contents of your dream, it has to be absolutely positive, totally devoid of any downsides or negativity or less than exquisite performance. Job in the Bible, said,” What I fear the most is upon me!” I say that what you imagine tends to be realized. If you imagine Doom and Gloom, as Job did, that’s what you get! It is okay to include how well you adapt to changing conditions or bits of adversity or how each performance is better than the last. You just have to be vigilant to keep doubts and uncertainties from entering The Dream of Dreams. Remember that the primary assumption for this exercise is that all the prerequisites and conditions are more than favorable to ensure the total success of your The Dream of Dreams.
©2015, Jason Wittman, M.P.S., LAADC, CATC-IV
[Permission to reproduce this article is granted as long as this notice and the “About the Author and the copyright information is included.]
*About The Author* Jason Wittman, MPS, LAADC, CATC-IV (aka Successful People’s Secret Weapon) is the former Executive Director of Los Angeles Youth Supportive Services, Inc. ( http://www.la-youth.org ) and has had a private practice as a Counselor and Coach for over 40 years. His practice, http://Stage2Recovery.com focuses on coaching and advising business and professional clients, who are recovering from alcoholism and addictions, to work and live at their exquisite best. He is an expert on teaching and coaching the “getting-on-living,” self-esteem building and spirituality parts of recovery. He has his master’s degree from Cornell University in counseling-psychology and is certified as a drug & alcohol counselor, a clinical hypnotherapist and a practitioner of Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP). He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or 213-804-4408