Cultivating the Ability to Dream- Part II

In our previous Blog post we have brought forward the idea that developing our ability to dream starts with connecting to The Need–  the Why that moves us forward.

In this second part we look further into how to connect with Inspiration. 

One of the qualities that makes us human is our ability to see something that is not yet there. 

Our aspirations and dreams are seen by our kids as inspiration at a very young age. Growing up, the inspiration comes from the stories we read, the teachers we have, the mentors, and the people we meet.

The books we read, the conversations we have, the role models we have as adults are inspiring our children too.

It’s no wonder that if someone would’ve asked me at 18 what I am dreaming of, it would be something coming from those books and my environment at that point in time.

I daydreamed all my life, sometimes about becoming an entrepreneur, myself, wearing a fancy black suit and a briefcase (there was no laptop back then ;)). I could see myself having a routine full of adrenaline: morning running, working hard, and partying hard.

Now I laugh at the silliness of my imagination or the naiveté of all my dreams. But I am extremely grateful that I had inspiration and someone to look up to.

Jane Goodall mentions the human brain and the energy and enthusiasm that can be kindled among young people as two reasons for hope. Without dreaming technological advancements and innovation would not have been possible.

Our goals and intentions are dependent upon our ability to dream and to be inspired.

Giving Permission to Others to Inspire Us

I felt inspired when I read Steve Jobs’ biography by his vision, passion, and resilience. His addiction to create something simply beautiful, paying attention to all the details and “think different,” even questioning every unnecessary click. 

Of course, many were inclined to contradict my opinion bringing arguments about his leadership style and other aspects of his life. I could never assess those aspects, but I can take those qualities that resonate with me at that time as inspiration.

In our quest for perfection, we tend sometimes to become a tough critic of others, and we miss the opportunity to appreciate someone else’s gifts.

The sad part of missing inspiration is that it reduces our capacity to dream and to accomplish our dreams. We are not hermits; we generate results together with the others.

There is good and bad in everything and everyone. As much as I don’t like social media, the ability to pull resources for a good cause is exponential because of social media. 

Exposure Matters

Another aspect that enhances our capacity to dream is creating opportunities to expose yourself to something different or the ability to see the difference of perspectives. It could be different people with different opinions, different countries and cultures, different jobs.

The more we stay in our bubble and surround ourselves with the same people, the less opportunity for feeling inspired. We feel confirmed in our opinions, and we take pleasure in being “right.”

Exploring things outside of my work allowed me to connect with different sources of inspiration. In one of my moments of feeling stuck I enrolled in a barista training because I loved the idea of having a coffee shop. I took up creative writing lessons, social cooking classes, social impact incubators, you name it. I realize now that while all these could be seen as dabbling, they enriched my life by simply taking me out of my own comfort zone. 

Suddenly, my world opened, I could find more inspiring connections between my work and my life. I wouldn’t know anything about alternative education if I wouldn’t have said yes to volunteering one day to listen to the students at “The Alternative University” talk about their learning and business ideas.

Life is all about the many moments and opportunities to learn and grow, no matter the age.

Our Perception of Failures

Sometimes our fear of failure is what keeps us from dreaming.

We need to learn to see our failures, disappointments, and mistakes as learning opportunities.

This is a hard one for me personally, as making mistakes is triggering my assessment of being a failure myself.  Maybe because of being the eldest, or my education or the messages I listened to around “perfection.”

The need to be perfect is deeply ingrained in my discourse of being a woman.

I will leave this topic for another article. 😉

But I will say that part of my work is to reflect on the distinction between the mistake or what actually went wrong, and my explanation. 

In addition, sometimes we might need to stop taking ourselves too seriously and start seeing some of our experiences as experiments. We learn from them.

At the end of the day, the consequences of our mistakes aren’t massive (unless you are a brain surgeon). 😊

Connecting to our needs gives us the motivation to pursue our dreams and stay on the path when the road gets tough. We can respond to any challenge that comes our way if we connect with the reason behind it. 

Our challenges today are more about finding a sense of purpose than ensuring safety and comfort needs.

Cultivating our ability to dream needs both “the fire in the belly” and inspiration.

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