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

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9 Responses to My Dreams List

  1. Scrappy says:

    Just made myself a note to write down some items on my “Bucket List”

  2. Martin says:

    nice blog

  3. Martin says:

    I’ve enjoyed your three blogs on dreaming big living boldly. Now my PC’s working properly again I’d like to share with you what Nelson mandela said on the subject of having the courage to do both:

    “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate
    Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
    It is our light , not our darkness, that most frightens us
    We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented
    and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be?
    You are a child of God. Your playing small doesn’t serve the world.
    There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that
    other people won’t feel insecure around you.
    WE were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us.
    It’s not just in us: it’s in everyone.
    And as we let our own light shine,
    We unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.
    As we are liberated from our own fear,
    Our presence automatically liberates others.”

    1994 Inaugural speech of Nelson Mandela

    • Martin — Awesome quote! It captures several of the issues that people may confront when acknowledging their dreams. For example, if I’m capable of achieving all of this, why haven’t I done it so far; have I been wasting my life? What if I fail to achieve my dreams? Isn’t it selfish to be so focused on myself? There are positive, productive ways to address these considerations, which I plan to write about in an upcoming post. The solution is never to live a lesser life or play a smaller game.

  4. […] of the items on my Dreams List is to swim in the Blue Grotto.  I saw this on a television show years ago, and it looked […]

  5. […] Yuma, Arizona, I had the opportunity to fulfill a dream of mine.  Something that’s been on my Dreams List for years.  Nothing life changing – more of a guilty pleasure kind of […]

  6. […] trip has been an ambition of mine for a while.  Although not officially on my Dreams List, it’s something that I’ve been thinking about for several years, and it will provide an […]

  7. […] frequently make reference to My Dreams List in this blog.  People often ask me about it.  You too can use this tool to begin the process of […]

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