Too often, we’re discouraged from dreaming big. We’re told it’s audacious, or unrealistic to imagine the most magnificent possible version of our lives. We often accept that our dreams may be too large or too difficult to achieve, and let them go. So as you ponder your coming year, I want to encourage you to indulge in pure, uninhibited possibility.
Move into a dreaming state, beyond the boundaries of doubts and limits. Allow yourself to imagine and be inspired by what’s possible. Envision your life evolving in whatever ways you wish, whether large or small: your health, career, education, relationships, or contribution. And if this is experience is uncomfortable, remember that every great invention started in the imagination of someone who dared to imagine it. Every breakthrough, every discovery, every solution to every problem ever solved came from a place of possibility. So begin dreaming, and get comfortable existing in a place of pure possibility.
Is it just me, or does reading something like that have the ability to instantly improve your mood, too?
This is the power of possibility.
Those are the words of author and mindfulness coach, Tamara Levitt. For those of you into meditation, you may know her from the Calm app.
I downloaded the app the day before 2020 began in an attempt to make meditation a daily habit this year. I’ll be honest. I haven’t stuck with the “daily” part of that intention, but I can tell you that the app has benefitted me in more ways than I originally expected.
Here’s why: it does more than just lead me through a meditation exercise; it also inspires me.
No matter how I’m feeling when I sit down to begin, it always leaves me better off, sometimes drastically so. And we all know that when we feel good, we’re more likely and able to do good — for ourselves and others. We’re more motivated to act, and more equipped to navigate our relationships with ease and kindness and patience.
Not only does it leave me in a better state of mind, but I often get an added, unexpected bonus: writing ideas!
For most of my life, I’ve teetered on the edge between optimism and pessimism, dipping my toes in each pool during different times in my life. Looking back, I now see that the pool of choice was often directly tied to my state of mind at the time.
Think about it: if you believe people are bad and the world is doomed, what incentive is there to act or change? How motivated do you feel to try and make a difference? How much energy do you have to go about your day? If you’re anything like me, the answer is probably none. All your energy goes towards one thing, and one thing only: surviving another day. All you’re doing is existing.
I’ve experienced this way of living, but I’ve also experienced its opposite. There have been times in my life where I’ve seen the world from the perspective of potential, rather than what most people call “reality.” Some people see dreamers and optimists as delusional or disconnected from reality, but I always saw them as leaders.
To me, they were the people worth listening to, because they were different from the rest. They had big ideas and were brave enough to stand up and share them when most others weren’t — and that courage is what drew me in.
They dared to explore the unknown, to expand their minds, and to indulge in imagination, rather than viewing their lives and the world from a place of limitation and lack.
It seems obvious to me that living from possibility would be better than living from limitation. But if this is the case, why do so many of us seem to live our lives confined? Why are there so many pessimists running around, trying to squash anything remotely imaginative or creative or different?
I don’t have the answer to this, but my best guess is that we’re afraid. As humans, one of our deepest fears is to be vulnerable.
The thing is, in order to do anything in life, we have to be vulnerable. There’s no way around it. If you want to make anything, improve a skill, learn something new, or change your life, it will require vulnerability.
It takes courage to stop living from a place of lack and fear, and to start actively trying to see the good in the world, and I think that’s why so many of us stay safely within the confines of our limitations.
But maybe it’s time to be honest with ourselves.
Ask yourself which truly feels better: possibility or limitation? Optimism or pessimism?
If you find that allowing yourself to dream (even a little bit) feels like a better place in which to live from, don’t be afraid to keeping doing it.
What’s the worst that could happen? You already have to be vulnerable, so why not enjoy it?