Tag Archives: dream big

My Dreams List

"I have a dream" printed on sign on a bulletin board
I have a Dreams List. It is what has become known in recent years as a ‘bucket list’, a list of things to experience before I ‘kick the bucket’. Over the years, my list has become an important tool to help me achieve my dreams. More information about why I choose to Dream Big and Live Boldly is available in earlier posts.

My Dreams List is an evolving thing. I review it several times a year. I incorporate it into my annual planning, selecting some dreams to pursue each year. I add new dreams to the list from time to time. I change priorities. To guard against ever giving up on a dream, I never remove anything from the list. Lower priority items remain there to remind me of what I once thought was important. As a result, I will probably never fulfill all of the dreams on the list, which is fine with me.

I started my Dreams List in 1991. I was 25 years old, recently graduated from university and working at my first professional job. My first list was hand-written, done as an exercise at a personal finance seminar that I attended. When I started my list, it seemed like a purely mental exercise, a bit of fun that would put aside and soon forgotten like the notes from virtually every other seminar I’ve ever intended. I was not particularly invested in it. The downside risk of writing down my dreams and never achieving them seemed more likely and more intimidating than the chances of ever fulfilling them. But I wrote them down nonetheless. In the following years, my awareness of my dreams ebbed and flowed. I was focused on my career. I got married. We bought our first house. Interestingly, none of these things was specifically on my Dreams List, but they were important to me (results speak) and essential to achieving my other dreams.

It was 9 years before my first dream came true. Two years later, I completed 5 more. Encouraged by my positive results, I began to focus more on my dreams. I reviewed them more frequently. I began to target specific dreams to pursue. With greater awareness came even greater results. I have already fulfilled more of my dreams than I ever would have imagined when I began.

Over the years, my Dreams List has grown and changed dramatically. It currently has 162 items on it. Of these, 56 have been completed. I plan to fulfill 14 more dreams in 2012, although the actual number will probably be less (I tend to bite off more than I can chew). There is something very satisfying about returning to my list to check off a dream that I added 20 years earlier, but the list is just a tool, a means to my goal of living a greater life.

I believe that having dreams and remaining conscious of them will increase the likelihood that they will occur. Writing down my dreams helps me with both of these. It also helps me to believe that I’m capable of fulfilling my dreams. I choose to believe that I can do virtually anything that I set my mind to.

I do not believe in magic nor pseudoscience and am therefore skeptical of the notion that intention alone can manifest certain things in my life. I have difficulty buying into Law of Attraction ideas such as those postulated in the books The Secret (Ronda Byrne), Think and Grow Rich (Napolean Hill), and The Power of Positive Thinking (Normal Vincent Peale), although I have read all three. But it is my actual experience that if I get clear and remain conscious of the things that I want, they are more likely to happen. Although the mechanism is unclear, it makes sense to me that this should be the case.

The first step is daring to dream in the first place (Dream Big). The second is to remain focused on my vision and to deal with whatever comes up (Live Boldly).

“A #2 pencil and a dream can take you anywhere.” — Joyce A. Myers

The word "Dream" written in the sand with water

Why Dream Big?

I chose the name for this blog Dream Big Live Boldly thoughtfully. What does it mean to me?

Life is short, way too short to sit back and wait for something good to happen. This is not a dress rehearsal. I want to live the best life that I can. I don’t want to settle for mediocrity.

Neon sign with the words "you only live once"

There are two essential components to experiencing my best life. The first is dreaming big, and the second, having the courage to continue to pursue those dreams despite all obstacles. This posting will address the first of these.

Why Dream?

When we were children, we all had dreams. Ask a child what they want when they grow up and they’ll quickly volunteer lots of ideas. But something happens on the way to adulthood. We put away our childhood dreams. We lower our expectations. We compromise. We give up. As adults many of us have forgotten how to dream or don’t dare to for risk of disappointment.

Everyone has a default script for our lives (parents, employer, spouse, kids, the government). Although they are generally well meaning, if I don’t have dreams of my own, these scripts will become mine. I’d rather be the master of my own destiny.

Dreaming is the essential first step to living a full life. To bring something into being, I need to first imagine it.

Before your dreams can come true, you have to have those dreams. — Joyce Brothers

Dreams have a tendency to morph into reality. Dreams envisioned are more likely to occur than those that are suppressed. There is no magic here. Although it is helpful to believe that one’s dreams will come true, what is necessary is only that one remain conscious of their dreams.

Despite what we’ve been taught, we don’t have to be rich, powerful, or unique to make our dreams come true.

If you can dream it, you can do it.  Always remember that this whole thing was started by a mouse. — Walt Disney

Why Dream Big?


Yoda looking up at The Hulk

Big dreams are inspirational. They can compete with all the other things demanding my attention. I seek a dream so compelling that I can’t help but achieve it. Something attractive and powerful.

Big dreams expand my abilities. They challenge me. Why limit myself?

Big dreams attract support.

The moment one definitely commits oneself, then providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamed would have come his way. – W.H. Murray

Even if I fall short of my big dreams, I’ll still gain a lot. I doubt that I’ll achieve all of them, but it is better to fail spectacularly then to fade away without pursing them.

If you shoot for the stars and hit the moon, it’s OK. But you’ve got to shoot for something. A lot of people don’t even shoot. – Robert Townsend

The journey is the reward. I will live a greater life pursuing my dreams, even if I never achieve them.

Have you dared to dream? If so, are your dreams big enough for you?

The Blog

Welcome to DreamBigLiveBoldly.com. This blog is about my travels through life, both literally and figuratively. I intend to share some of my experiences in the world as I explore it, including exotic foreign locales but also special places closer to home. I will also write about the things I’m learning on my journey of self-discovery that I think may be of value to others. They may be things that have worked for me, or something that I’m currently learning or trying.

This blog is an experiment in creativity, intimacy, community, and self-reflection. For more information, see Why I’m Blogging. For more information about me, see About The Blogger.

Why would you want to read my blog? Ultimately your reasons are personal. I hope that you will find value and benefit from the time you spend here. My intention is to be entertaining and engaging enough that you want to participate and to return, that we both might benefit. Hopefully, you will share your experiences as a student of life, or perhaps be inspired to dream bigger or live bolder than you might have otherwise.