Turning Dreams into Realities

Future pacing

I used to be a dreamer…

Head in the clouds, moonwalking through life. But for every dream I had I wasted a day in the real world.

It can be easy to get caught up in the day to day. Waking up and thinking how many minutes you can lie in bed before you have to get ready for work…

Watching the seconds tick away as you procrastinate until the end of the day.

But what about those future plans? When is the time for dreams?

Life doesn’t start at some indefinable point in the future, it doesn’t start tomorrow, it starts now.

This is an exercise designed to make those dreams of yours something tangible and achievable that you can start working on today.

It’s crammed full of NLP exercises, designed to motivate you and structure your thoughts to achieve your future goals.

It’s something you can do in a few minutes, but you can continue to use for years to come.

Whenever you’re feeling tired or de-motivated I want you to stop for a moment and perform this exercise. It only takes a couple of minutes, and once you get good at it, it will trigger automatically when you’re having doubts.

Resource anchoring.

I want you to imagine a moment in the future where you have everything you’ve ever wanted: absolute happiness…

I doesn’t have to be a complete vision of success, just a moment in time where you feel like you’re there. Like you’ve won.

Maybe it’s sitting in front of a cosy fire surrounded by your future family…

Maybe it’s walking into your dream home for the first time…

Maybe it’s standing on top of that mountain you’ve always dreamed of climbing…

Now step inside yourself and think about what you see, what you hear, what you feel.

Maybe it’s the warm touch of a lover, the feeling of elation as you watch the sun rise over the peaks, the pride of finally achieving your goal.

Close your eyes and take a moment to feel this, to live this…

 

How does it feel? Good right?

I want you to save this in your mind. The sights, the sounds, the emotions. This will be your light at the end of the tunnel, the thing that get’s you out of bed in the morning, that lifts you up when you fall…

This is your “Anchor.”

I want you to give it a name. Make it real. Use it like a resource, a trump card. For the sake of this article let’s call it “Absolute Happiness.” Because that’s what it really is.

Side Stepping

When you’re feeling demotivated I want you to close your eyes and perform this simple exercise.

See how it makes you feel now. Compare it to the state you were in a moment ago. Realise the “Trigger” that got you feeling the way you were.

Maybe it was something someone said that made you feel down, or something you saw, like looking at your bank statement.

When you get good at seeing the cues, it will trigger the thought of performing the anchor automatically.

If you want to take it further, you can take a deep breath and imagine side-stepping out of yourself.

Look down at your current self and think about what they look like. Think about how this state of mind will hinder them from achieving that goal.

Compare this to how you think being in the anchored state will help you to achieve your goal.

Shake your head at your other self and then step back inside and perform the Anchor.

 

Small chunks

Now I want you to image that this moment, Absolute Happiness, was going to be tomorrow.

How does that make you feel? Do you feel excited, nervous…prepared?

If you were to achieve your ultimate goal tomorrow, would you be ready for it?

Chances are, the answer is no.

Now can you see that your ultimate goal, absolute happiness, isn’t something that you can wave a magic wand and it will appear. It’s a process that you must build up to, that you must be prepared for, that you must achieve.

And how much better is achieving something than having it given to you?

This will help you bring that dream down to earth.

So let’s take a step back.

Now I want you to think about what it would take for you to be able to experience Absolute Happiness.

Perhaps in order to have the dream home you need a certain sum of money and financial security. If it’s the family you dream of, then perhaps you need to meet your future partner. And if you’re climbing the mountain, perhaps you first must have the physical or mental strength to achieve it.

So let’s make this the future goal. Because if you have this, you have the tools you need to experience the Absolute Happiness you named earlier.

Let’s call this “Readiness.”

Now I want you to think about how long it would take for you to achieve Readiness. If you started today that is, and put all your efforts into it. Just this one thing, nothing more.

Think about it…

 

Would it take 10 years? 2 years? 2 months?

Chances are, when you actually think about it, you could achieve this in a relatively short amount of time. Perhaps shorter than you’d previously thought.

Isn’t that amazing? To think that you could achieve Absolute Happiness in such a short period of time…if you started today.

So what would you need to do in order to achieve Readiness?

If you need a some of money and financial security, perhaps you would need to have a good job. If you needed to meet the partner of your dreams, then perhaps you would need the confidence to start and nurture a relationship. And if you needed the physical and mental strength to climb a mountain then perhaps you would need a personal trainer, or life coach.

So what would it take?

Let’s call this “The Vehicle.”

Think about what that Vehicle is for a moment…

 

So how long would it take for you to obtain The Vehicle?

What do you need to do in order to obtain The Vehicle?

Step back again, and again, and again, until you get to Today…

What do you need to do Today in order to achieve Absolute Happiness. Maybe it’s something as small as buying a book, hiring a life coach, or getting up an hour earlier.

Imagine if the road to achieving Absolute happiness started with something as simple as reading a book? Imagine that your road to Absolute happiness started toady?

Wouldn’t that be worth it?

Wouldn’t that be wonderful?

 

Life gates

To be able to think about something in this way is incredibly useful. To be able to say:

“In order to achieve (Absolute Happiness) I must first have (Readiness)…and in order to obtain (Readiness) I must first have (The Vehicle)…and in order to obtain The Vehicle I need to (insert action here) Today…”

These are your Life Gates.

So you see having an actionable plan with a time frame for achieving your life goals isn’t difficult. It doesn’t take more than a few minutes to plan your life.

And there’s nothing stopping you from doing this today.

You see in this way, you are motivated by this moment you named earlier, your Anchor, your Absolute Happiness, whilst at the same time you can see The Vehicle you need to obtain Readiness.

That intangible dream that used to float somewhere off in the future has now been brought down to earth. We have defined it, defined what you need to achieve it, and set an action plan that you can start today.

I want you to practice this every time you are feeling lost or de-motivated. Re-live your moment, Anchor those feelings to now, then break it down in to small chunks, and focus on what you can do Today to achieve it.

Identify your Triggers, use your Anchor, practice Side-Stepping.

If you can plan in this way, then you Will achieve your moment. You will achieve Absolute Happiness.

 

And so you see minutes don’t matter: Plan in years, live in days.

I used to be a dreamer…

Now I’m a doer.

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Take Back Time Part Eight: On The Precipice

So I travelled far and wide, all over the world: Africa, China, Europe, America, seeking out the most beautiful and desolate places on earth…

So I could ask them the question…

I walked naked through the Gobi desert alone, stood on mountaintops and sang to the peaks with not another soul as far as the eye could see…

Avalanches, lightning storms, hurricanes, all the most powerful and violent forms of nature…and the most beautiful…I saw them all…

And do you know what is there…?

Only what you take with you…

I did not find god or reach enlightenment, though I thought I came close…

I did not find some font of eternal youth, or some mythical wish granting fish…

I only found the self…not myself, I can already see some of you cringing at that statement, this is a far too overused phrase…

What I found was The Self

The Precipice

2 years into my travels I sit here staring out over a 1000ft drop down to a verdant jungle. This is one of the hundred secret places of Zhangjiajie, Hunnan province, China.

A towering sandstone obelisk sticks out of the ground in front of me, its base thinner than its top. And from a crack down its entire length, life spills out like a great wound…

I am all alone, and I am trying to overcome my fear by sitting on a precipice so thin and narrow I can’t even see stone beneath me…

At first the fear grips me and I cannot relax, my body tense, my breathing erratic. One false move and I could slip…

What if the rock breaks? What if the wind blows too strongly and I fall? What if I get dizzy and collapse? All these questions harrow me like crows circling around my head…

After what seems like an eternity, the fear slowly subsides, and at last I begin to relax…

The air moves around me every so softly, the warmth from the rising sun slowly bathes my body and the sound of absolutely nothing surrounds me…

As this feeling of relaxation spills over, I do the unthinkable: I fall asleep…

And in my sleep I have a dream…

The Dream

In this dream an ever changing figure traipses an endless plain of white. A shadow stretching on the ground without a body to create it, like a candle made of darkness…

Eventually the figure transforms into a white bird and flies off. The world becomes the scene in which I sit again and the white bird flies towards me and when it reaches me it becomes a winged horse and beckons me onto its back…

Suddenly I wake and realise that I had fallen asleep, that I’m sitting on a precipice and reaching out into the empty air in front of me, millimetres from death.

Fear strikes me in the heart once again, but it quickly fades and as I overcome it I smile deeply.

“I am here” I whisper “and I am not afraid.”

“I see you.” It says back.

Was this some kind of vision? A metaphor for my own life? A message from God? No. It was just a dream, and this is just a memory.

The Reason

You see I used to think I travelled the world looking for a place to call home.

Then I met someone I called the love of my life and thought that I had instead been looking for someone to share the whole world with.

But on that day I saw that, while both of those thoughts were true to me at the time, they were merely oversimplifications of a common truth.

And what is this truth you ask? Well, it is as different for me as it is for you.

Some people follow their favourite sports team religiously, some follow religion itself, some pour all their energy into their career, or family, or a noble cause such as justice or politics.

In truth, though people may appear to want very different things, they are all seeking the same thing:

Absolute happiness.

You can call this fulfilment, gratification, enlightenment, whatever you like…

The feeling is indescribably unique and yet universal to everyone.

So I ask myself: “I have none of these things. Does this make me lost?”

“While I may not have anything in particular to focus my attention on: no faith, no cause, no state; am I destitute?

On the contrary, in the last 2 years I have experienced happiness almost constantly and I know that because of my personality, I will always continue to do so.

I move from occupation to occupation, from place to place, I explore the world and experience great things, things others only dream of.

This is the life I have cultivated for myself, and as I sit here staring over this indescribable scene, I am beginning to realise this, or rather remember it.

You might call this a life of self-indulgence, and you may be right – by your standards – but what’s important to you is very different from what’s important to me.

I don’t care where I sleep, what tomorrow brings, or what troubles yesterday served, as long as I have this happiness, this freedom.

And I don’t judge others, or consider their lives less meaningful, or less fulfilling than my own. We barely understand ourselves, let alone those so different from us…

But all of this is essentially irrelevant.

I am happy in this life because, for the first time in my life…

I have the knowledge in my heart that when I die, I will become dust and nothing more.

Even if I leave behind a family, a legacy; within two generation my actions, no matter how great, will be forgotten.

Do you know the name of your great-grandmother? What did she do? I don’t.

This rock that I sit on was once a billion grains of sand, which were once a part of a billion other rocks, and in another billion years they will be sand once more.

We have been on this earth for such a short amount of time that we forget that the earth has barely noticed us at all.

We are but a breeze in eternity.

What does it matter what we do in our short lives? Who will it matter to a hundred, a thousand years from now?

We will be but dust and air…

If I were to pick up a stone and throw it from this cliff, would you miss it? So then, if I throw myself instead, will the world miss me?

I twist the stone in my fingers and ask it… “Are you afraid?”

It says nothing…

“Then why am I afraid?”

Six Seconds

“When you hit the ground you will smash into pieces, but those pieces will become a part of the forest floor, and one day they will become a part of this rock again…

“I will be long dead by then, but you’ll still be here…”

And what will have happened in between…?

I will have lived my life…and I will have died…and other people will have been born and died…

“So why am I afraid…?”

“I am afraid because I think that the end of my life is the end of everything.”

And why do you think this?

“Because I have been so afraid that I couldn’t let myself think about anything else.”

Why?

“Because I am afraid of living in fear…”

Why?

“I am afraid that this fear will stop me from truly living…”

Why?

“Because I want to live my life without fear!”

And How Will You Do This…?

I throw the stone over the edge of the precipice…

It is six seconds before the rock smashes into pieces and the echo of its existence travels up to my ears, and in that time I have overcome my fear of death…

“I will no longer be afraid, because I know that I am the same as the stone!”

I was once dust, and over millions of years this dust formed into the thing that is currently me

And when I die I will become dust again

And in millions of years this dust will once again form a person and they will be alive!

“I am an inseparable part of this universe…and the life of the universe is my life…and the universe is infinite…I am infinite…”

Six seconds…

Once I found out why I needed to rid myself of fear….it took me six seconds to figure out how

In Part 9…

So what did I do after I discovered the answer to my fundamental question…?

After I had learned the secret to finally conquering fear…?

Did I throw myself off the rock? No.

There’s an old Chinese proverb…

“Before enlightenment: chop wood, paint fence…

 After Enlightenment: chop wood, paint fence…”

Life, as it is, goes on…

In Part 9 I am going to tell you about The Great Separation, why people perceive themselves as separate from the rest of the universe.

Subscribe to find out how you can become one in Part Nine: The Great Separation.

Take Back Time Part Seven: The Dancer

I was walking down a deserted beach in Kenya when I came across a young man dancing in the sand. I thought this was the most wonderful thing I’d ever seen, so I joined it.

Little did I know that this would be one of the most important discoveries of my life….

Baraka

He First introduced himself to me as Joseph, and we spent long days dancing on the beach and wandering amongst the deserted streets of a tiny, run down town near Mombasa.

After we got to know each other a little better he told me his real name.

“Dean, my name is not Joseph.” He said to me one day, with a deep frown. “Joseph is name the Christians gave to me. My real name is Barakka. I don’t think it’s fair to take someone’s name away from them…”

He stared out over the ocean, watching the brooding clouds in the distance, and then he told me a story.

He had been in love with a beautiful local girl named Beckah and they had been happy, but she had been scouted to become an actress.

After a while she began having nice things and this made Barakka feel less of himself. He felt that if he could not give her nice things then she would not love him.

His hair was shaggy, his clothes were old and he could not take her to places she wanted to go.

Even though he was in love and had everything he had ever wanted, he was afraid of losing her.

He was afraid that she thought less of him for not having money, or clothes, or being able to give her nice things…

So he left her…

She still loved him and she came after him, begging him to come back to her, but he told her that until he had money, they could not be together.

So after telling me this he looked at me and said:

“Dean, I have a dream. My Father, he had a friend like you, an Englishman named Mr Phillip, and his dream was always to do business with this man. So one day I want to come to England, like you have come here. Then maybe I can have my Beckah…”

What could I say to Barrakka then?

The Traveller

After a few days I left that part of Kenya, but before I did, I wrote Barrakka a story and left it with him.

The story went like this:

There once was a dancer who lived by the sea. He had a happy life, content with what god had given him, but each morning he would walk on the beach and stare out at the ocean, dreaming of dancing on distant shores.

One day he was walking on the beach and he saw a strange man. This man was not like anything he had seen before. His clothes were different, his hair, his skin, but the man stared longingly over the seas as he did.

“Who are you?” asked the dancer.

“I am a traveller.” Replied the man, “and I have come from a distant land.”

“From where have you come?” asked the dancer excitedly, for he had never met someone from another place before.

“It is the land of dawn.” Replied the traveller with fond recollection “and it is good and righteous, for the people who live there make great things and do fine deeds.”

“Where is this great land?” asked the dancer, for he saw the strange clothes and manner of the traveller and wished greatly to see it.

“It is to the west, across the distant sea, under a bright sun.”

And for a while the dancer danced, content with dreaming of the land of dawn.

The next day he did not walk along the beach, but instead lay in bed all day dreaming, for each time he opened his eyes he saw only the plane things he had and wished to dance under a new sun.

Eventually, he could not lay in bed any longer and went down to the beach once more. There he saw the traveller walking and ran to him.

“Show me something from this new land.” He said, and the man brought forth a strange object from beneath his coat.

It was smooth and golden and moved without any effort from the man.

“This is a watch.” said the traveller “Each time the hand ticks, time moves forward.”

“Will it tick forever?” asked the dancer.

“No.” the traveller replied “Time is always running out and one day it will stop for you and I.”

And the dancer danced happily again, for he had seen a great thing.

The next day he did not walk on the beach, but he could also not lie in bed, for he remembered that time was always ticking and that one day it would run out. He paced up and down thinking all day about the new sun and dancing on a distant shore. In the morning he ran to the beach, for he could not wait any longer.

“How do I get to the land of dawn?” he asked.

The traveller looked at him gravely and said:

“It is a long journey across the sea and you would need a fine ship.”

“But how would I get a ship, for I have only plain things and know nothing of great deeds?”

“Cut down these trees.” said the traveller “And I will instruct you.”

Many days the dancer spent cutting down the trees, thinking about the new sun and dancing on distant shores, and when he was finished, he asked the traveller:

“I have cut down the trees as you have said. What now must I do to see the land of dawn?”

“Now you must cut the trees into planks and lay them side by side.”

“But how will I make the planks?” he asked, for he had no knowledge of such things.

“I will instruct you.” replied the traveller.

And for many months the boy cut the trees into planks and laid them side by side, thinking always of the land of dawn and of the ticking clock.

When he was done he asked the traveller:

“What must I do next to see the land of dawn?”

“Now you must make nails to hold the planks together and arrange them into their proper shape.”

“But how will I do all these things?” asked the dancer, for he had no knowledge of them.

“I will instruct you.” replied the traveller.

For many years the dancer worked on the ship and the traveller instructed him, until the traveller grew too old and would just stare out over the sea.

But the dancer continued, thinking always of time and of the completion of his labours. When the ship was finally finished, he asked the traveller:

“Now I have done all things you have told me, instruct me how to sail the seas and find the land of dawn.”

The old man brought forth the watch and turned it over.

“This is a compass” he said, “it will guide you to the land of dawn.”

And the traveller gave it to him.

“Will you not travel with me?” he asked.

“I am old and I shall travel no more.” he replied.

And so he left the traveller and sailed the seas in his fine ship. Long he sailed until he reached a distant shore to the west where the sun was setting.

“This cannot be the land of dawn.” he said “For it is the same as my homeland.” and he sailed on.

For many years he sailed the seas, searching for the land of dawn, always with the watch in his hand, but each time he landed, the sun was setting and it was just like his homeland.

One day, so conscious of time, he sailed all night and arrived at a new shore at dawn. There he saw a man dancing on the beach and asked him:

“Is this the land of dawn?”

“Yes.” replied the dancer, and the traveller climbed ashore, weary of his long journeys. “And where have you come from on such a fine ship?”

“I have come from the land of the setting sun.” he replied.

“Then perhaps you have news of my father,” asked the dancer “for he sailed for that place long ago.”

“I have met your father.” said the traveller. “This once belonged to him.” and he gave him the watch.

“What is it?” asked the dancer.

“It is time.”

“What shall I do with it?” he asked.

“Do with it what you will, for it is done with me.”

“Will you not dance with me?” asked the dancer.

the traveller looked out over the sea to the east longingly.

“I am old.” He said “and I shall dance no more.”

 

You see the problem is not just confined to you. It is not just you who suffer. It is a problem as old as time.

Everywhere in the world there are people who feel the same way.

They feel like something is missing in their lives and that they will find it somewhere else.

What else could I say to Barakka? Had I not left England searching for some other life? And now he wanted to go back the way I had just come to find a new life for himself.

We were both the same…

Do you know what his question was?

“Will I ever be free from doubt?”

So why wasn’t I happy? What was I searching for?

That’s the problem…I didn’t know.

I didn’t know what I was looking for.

Was it divine inspiration? Enlightenment? Some greater purpose to hold onto that was bigger than myself?

What was the answer?

I looked at Barrakka that day, tears ready in my eyes…

But he was smiling…

He had the same look as me when I first started out on my journey: He had hope…

In Part Eight…

I sat there on the precipice of a 1000ft drop, on a ledge so small…

All I needed to do was to lean forward and I would have been free of my fear…

In Part Eight I’m going to tell you the story of how I finally overcame my fear of death.

Subscribe to find out how in Part Eight: On the Precipice…