Why Dreams are Like Bubbles and How to Prevent Them from Popping

My dog, Sita, loves to pop bubbles. She’s like the dog who’s always bringing you a ball to play fetch, except she’s standing by the bubble gun, whining.

She’s quite good at it. Often she’ll stand on her hind legs like a bear and pop all the high bubbles she can reach.

But sometimes her eye catches the highest bubble, and she decides none of the other bubbles matter. Her vision narrows to a tunnel as all the other easy-to-reach bubbles float past her and expire. And then right before she’s able to reach the bubble, it fades into nothing, disappears.

Imagine now, that the bubbles are dreams, and you’re Sita.

What’s the highest, most difficult-to-reach goal you have? Are you working toward it, or waiting for it to come to you?

For a lot of people, I think that top bubble might be a large sum of money. That’s a fine goal to have, but if you sit and wait for that bubble to fall into your snapping jaws, you’ll never get it.

Sometimes she gets lucky, and she gets that bubble. It’s like winning the lottery. All you have to do is buy a lottery ticket (which is little more than zero work) and possess an incredible amount of luck. Don’t plan on winning the lottery.

What is Sita missing out on by letting the lower bubbles fall past? Maybe she doesn’t care. Maybe those bubbles mean absolutely nothing to her.

If they’re smaller, more attainable dreams, you should think about whether you should snatch those up, or just forget about them, grab a stool, and jump for that high goal.

Big goals require big work. If you want to take a month to explore the Andes, you’ll have to do things to make it happen. You’ll need money for living and travel expenses. You’ll need the freedom to be gone that long (and if you don’t currently have that, you’ll need to figure out how to acquire it). You’ll need to book the trip and figure out the logistics. And you’ll need to get off your couch and leave.

But sitting and waiting for your dream to happen is a sure-fire way for your dream to never happen. Don’t let your bubble pop.

If you know what your dreams are, but you haven’t figured out how to achieve them, I want you to immediately start writing everything down. Now.

  1. What are your dreams? List them in order of importance or attainability — your choice. I list them in order of time frame; the most short-term are at the top. Add photos if you like.
  2. When do you want these dreams to happen? Back to the Andes example — do you really want to wait until you’re retired to travel? Or do you want to be able to enjoy it more while you’re young and traveling isn’t so hard on your body?
  3. What exact steps do you have to take to make these dreams happen? Do you have to have money? Exactly how much do you need? How are you going to make that happen? Save? Start a business? Get a second job? Pare down on expenses?

There are a lot of different ways to do this. I created a sort of vision board with timelines and steps in my Google Keep. Keep is where I also keep my need list and different planning and to-do lists. All of my dreams and goals are pinned above my other lists so that I have to see them every time I open Keep. This is incredibly motivating for me.

This is the desktop version of Keep. I also have the app on my phone. Notice my goals aren’t that crazy. My short-term dreams are some of the lower bubbles, because the results of the lower bubbles will act like stepping stools to get the higher ones. My financial goal isn’t to become a millionaire. It’s the exact amount of money I need to get the things and experiences I want in the near future.

Wherever you keep your list, keep it in a place where you will see it often. Then, take the steps necessary to get it done. Just start working on it, especially if it’s a short-term goal. What steps can you takeĀ right now to make your dream a reality?

Remember when your parents told you anything is possible? (You know, before you grew up and then suddenly the opposite was true.) They were right. Don’t accept excuses. If you want it, get after it, even if that means bucking the status quo and doing things completely differently than everyone else.

You have one life. That’s it. How do you want to spend it? Go get those bubbles.

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