What comes to mind when you think of the word dream? Do you think of almost every child’s dream of going to Disneyland and seeing Mickey Mouse? Perhaps you think about counting sheep in your sleep. Maybe you even ponder over the infamous “I have a dream speech.” The thought of what a dream is can be easily described but where those desires come from and how we obtain them is not so easily comprehended. Though there are many forms of dreams, each requires the key components of reasonability, a direct path to success, and optimism to be fulfilled.
Making Reasonable Decisions
As a teenager, preparing to go off to college reasonably is something I encounter in everyday conversations with my parents. It has always been a dream of mine to further my education by attending college but when looking at potential universities I have to remember to keep my desires reasonable. It is not reasonable to ask my parents to let me attend college in another country during my first year out of high school. Though I might major in a foreign language and greatly benefit from this experience, being the youngest child and being thousands of miles away from my parents in a country where I have no family members is unreasonable, and I cannot be resentful of my parents when they do not let me go. I instead must be reasonable and realize that I can still achieve both my dreams of majoring in Spanish and going to college by applying to colleges in the state and then by further applying to study abroad programs.
This is a specific example that applies to my life but the concept is true for all dreams. When trying to reach your dreams, you must first check to make sure they are reasonable, and if they are not, alter them. Once you have ensured your dreams are attainable, you can then move on to planning for success.
Planning for Success
Dwight Eisenhower once stated, “Plans are nothing, planning is everything.” If we replace plans with dreams, the sentence would read,” Dreams are nothing, planning is everything,” which is the next step to reaching your dreams. For dreams that are more long-term, planning multiple stops along the way can assist in making you feel proactive and accomplished even if you have not met your overarching goal. For example, if my dream is to make an A in my science class this year, I can feel discouraged when my grade is still a C average although I am completing my labs and homework assignments. To help me from being disappointed, I can set goals for myself, such as making an A on my next test. That way, even when the overall grade is slow to improve, I can feel secure in knowing that I am improving and growth is still happening.
This once again can be applied to other stops we take in life to reach our dreams. If we want a particular dream job, the first step might be getting a smaller job to gain experience. These stops on our path to reaching our dreams should still be viewed as significant accomplishments.
Long-term Dreams and Optimism
So what are my long-term dreams, and how does optimism help me reach them? Being a senior, I have been asked this question time and time again. I sometimes respond with my aspirations of being bilingual and learning Spanish. I also tend to explain my passion for becoming a United Nations Ambassador, but the truth is I am still unsure. My dream for what I want my future to look like is blurry at the moment. I can oftentimes picture my surroundings and small glimpses into what I dream for myself, but the full image has yet to be painted.
In these moments of uncertainty and unclarity, my optimism has to be its strongest. I don’t know what my dreams for my life are, but I am optimistic that whatever road I will take will lead me to success. I know that optimism will be the driving force that will push me to succeed in my classes and then later on in my social spheres of life. Optimism will help me know that there is good in the world and that I can be a part of that and overall help others think and act more optimistically by first showing them kindness. Regardless of who we are and who we want to be, and what we dream versus what we dream of attaining, the spirit of optimism will ensure that we have the mindset to get it done.
Need another push? Read these motivational quotes by ten extraordinary women!
Check out this article from Medium on how to plan for success.