Dreams don’t come easy

I substituted “dreams” for “goals”, as a goal sounds so scary – like something you have to roll up your sleeves for, something you might fail. It has nothing to do with playing safe, avoiding pain and frustration; it has something to do with guts.

Some people would have been glad to spend some time lost in reverie, visualizing themselves in contexts that have always fascinated them, being and doing what they have always dreamed of. Most of my students, though, are never keen on daydreaming. Why? Is it because they don’t want to cherish dreams that might never come true, thus getting frustration and disappointment? Or is it because daydreaming takes pro-activity, creativity and effort? Yes, dreaming is not easy – it’s like building a house on your own – coming up with the idea, the design, producing blueprints, laying foundations, and then brick after brick … It takes time, focus, passion and sweep. It’s a waste of time. Yes, developing a vision is costly. Taking orders to implement somebody else’s vision is cheap, unless you share in it, which, actually, makes it your own.

You don’t have goals? Well, aren’t you applying to college? Isn’t it a goal? Why do you want to go there? Is it because it’s the thing to do? Even if you don’t believe you have your own unique reasons, then think of common ones? Why do people go to college? What do they expect from it?

Let’s say it’s the trivial – a license to a well-paid job. We can dig further. Why do you want a well-paid job? What are you going to spend the money for? What kind of lifestyle would it provide for you? If the way you earn money does not matter to you, then focus on your leisure time – how would you be spending it – day in and day out, for years and decades? If the way you earn your living matters, then tell us how it does – what you expect from a good job.

If you believe college is more than a license to a well-paid job, then what is it? Hell, yes – isn’t it time to think what college is after all? Is it where you would like to spend four years of your life? How do you know?

Dreams and goals might be related to what you care about, what you are concerned about. These could be related to people and things outside you – the orphans and the alcoholics, landmarks, pollution, animals, energy, religion, family, etc.

If you have never cared about anything and lack the energy to build a dream, you might start in a reactive, rather than a pro-active way – by thinking of your likes and dislikes, i.e. “I would like to be surrounded by familiar people every day.” or “I would like to meet new people every day.” or “I would like to be away from people.”; “I would hate to spend time outdoors.” or “I would hate to spend all day in an office in a suit and tie.” Try to do that for every possible aspect of your life.

Why do it? Because the colleges you have chosen would like you to. Do you still want to go there?

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