I dare you to dream

This is a guest post written by Hugh DeBurgh of The Passionate Warrior For Zen Family Habits

Dear Friend,

Did you ever notice, while driving to work or just out and about, those fancy RVs (recreational vehicles) go by, with bikes hanging off the back and stuff all over the roof, and wonder what it would be like to be the guy or gal driving that thing?

Did you ever wonder where they might be going, or where you would go if that really was you?

Do you imagine that the folks inside are on a long-awaited vacation? Kids laughing and singing while they drive to the beach, the mountains, or a resort somewhere?

Do you wonder how you could ever afford such a junket? How you can ever get ahead when it seems that you are running in place, with earthquake set-backs every so often for good measure?

Are you getting tired of this life of yours?

I’d like to give you a sneak peek inside a world you may know little about. Or perhaps you’ve heard someone mention it and wondered what it was?

First, I want you to form a picture in your mind. The central character is you. Around you are those people that you most love being around. And the activity that you are engaging in is that which you love the most.

I want you to imagine that you do not have money worries. That your family is safe and you are a model parent.

No. This is not a 1950’s TV show. Those shows crafted an image of what was supposed to be your ideal life. A standard set by the culture, which you were expected to conform to.

No, I’m talking about you living the way you really want to. We’re talking about a lifestyle carefully crafted around the things you love most.

Love your work? Great! Hate your job? Great! Love spending time with your family? Great! Crave sitting in a hot tub with gorgeous gals or guys all over you? Great!

Why am I doing this? Am I trying to depress you by reminding you of everything that you don’t have in your life?

No I am not. Instead, I am daring you to dream again. Honestly. I am encouraging you to seriously consider, perhaps for the first time in your life, the possibilities that your life could hold for you if only you knew how to achieve them.

And then I am going to tell you exactly how you can achieve them.

No, I am not selling anything! There is no catch. And yet what you will do to achieve your dreams will not be free or a walk-in-the-park.

But it is achievable. And it is much easier than you imagine.

The reasons that most people fail to pursue their dreams are typically one or more of the following:

1) They get overwhelmed with the everyday

2) They imagine that their dreams are not realistically achievable

3) They follow the crowd, and the crowd is not living its dreams

4) They think that their dream life will require tons of money

5) Peer pressure keeps them on their current life path

6) They think that guys like me are living in a fantasy of our own – that none of this can possibly be true – at least not for regular people – unless they win the lottery or something.

Do any of the above reasons sound familiar to you?

If you would prefer a change in your life, but you are not currently pursuing that change, ask yourself “Why?”

Why don’t you do something? Are you afraid of failing? Of succeeding? Of disapproval of your true desires by those closest to you? Are you embarrassed by your dreams? Do you think maybe you don’t deserve such a life? Do you hardly have time to read this article, much less do anything else right now?

I am going to challenge you to convince me that you simply cannot pursue your genuine dreams right now.

I want you to write down, on a piece of paper or whatever, all of the reasons why you simply cannot live the life that you truly deserve, starting today.

I’ll just wait here while you do that………

Hmmm hmm hmm…….

Done yet?

Good. Let’s take a look at that.

Oh, I see..Reads a lot like that list I just read to you above, doesn’t it? And I see that you weren’t joking. Some of you have serious responsibilities right now. Stuff that you just cannot blow off, no matter how much you might like to.

One of you is caring for a sick loved one. Yeah, that’s a toughie. What else do we have here? Hmmm. And I see that another one of you is working hard for a promotion. You’ve spent years getting to this point, so you just can’t drop out now. You’d be throwing out all of that effort that got you to this point. You are just about to cash in on your efforts.

And one of you owns a business? Or perhaps it owns you?

Ok, A lot of pretty good excuses (I mean reasons) as to why you just cannot pursue your dreams right now. A few really are difficult to deal with. But most of them are well within your control. If you choose to take control, that is.

Fine, why don’t those of you with the best reasons just stop reading now. You won’t need to hear any more. You have my sincere sympathies. I wish you the best.

If you are still with me, I appreciate what you just did. You see, you just did something that most of us rarely do. You put yourself first.

Our culture teaches us that to put yourself first is selfish. And selfishness is a bad thing. Sharing is good. And serving others.

We are told that you should derive your highest satisfaction from waiting on those around you.

But you don’t really believe that, do you? Have you ever believed that? Have you ever really derived any true pleasure from serving people? I’m not talking about volunteering at the local soup kitchen – anyone would derive satisfaction from helping out people who really need our help.

I’m talking about waiting on those people around you – family, friends, lazy bosses and co-workers, and various hangers-on.

Any of us who work hard are likely carrying an armload of others with us.

Is that fun for you? But you have no choice, right? You have a duty to these people, right? Well, at least to some of them? And the rest you tolerate because your spouse or other high influence individual won’t let you kick them out?

How much of your efforts, do you estimate, are really to cover the extra expense and burdens of these hangers on?

OK, and how about taxes. If you work hard you probably pay a lot of these too. But they are necessary, right? I mean, we hear everyday about the huge bonuses that the top executives at defense contractors are getting, right? And all of those hard working people down at the DMV need to be paid, too. And then there is the monumental waste. But taxes are the same everywhere, aren’t they?

And who knows who else is relying on you to keep on driving to work, and forget about those crazy ideas.

It was all just a momentary daydream, anyway, wasn’t it?

But let’s stick with this and see where it might go. Just for fun.

How much effort would you need to expend merely to support you and those you care about most, at minimum?

Do you know this number?

Minus all of the hangers-on and involuntary expenses that I just mentioned? Now factor out all of the stuff you buy to keep up with the latest things, or just to entertain yourself at the mall. Did you really need that 3-way automatic wizbang device in your home shop, guys? Ladies, did you really need that thirtieth pair of shoes?

And then there is health care. If you’ve been sick lately, you know how unbelievably expensive medical care is today in the US. You need to work just to pay for health insurance.

What else is there? House payment, car payments, fuel, parking fees and tolls. Food for the hungry munchkins in your home, and of course, you.

What you are doing now is a quick lifestyle audit.

You are thinking about why you need to work. And work takes up most of the time of those of us who are employed.

Time is the one resource that you cannot duplicate. Your only have so much of it. And the time you spend doing whatever you do every day defines your life.

You are also considering your life’s priorities. By breaking down the cost of things by the importance that they have in your life, you are discovering what you may be able to abandon some day, and what really matters to you.

How much do you really need to work to support just those things that you voluntarily choose to support?

And what about the not-so-obvious expenses that you may not really need to carry?

For example, where does the vast majority of your money go?

Do you really need that huge house? All of those cars? How much of your auto expense is related to commuting to work? Or running the kids around to incessant activities? Do they really need to be involved in all of that stuff? Do they really want to? Could you achieve the same thing by just letting them have some sleep-overs with their friends? What will that cost you? A couple of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and a bowl of cereal in the morning?

Now you can determine your true cost of living.

OK, Great. Now hold that number.

Add to that the costs associated with a moderate involvement with those newly prioritized activities that you truly love. This is about you putting what you love first. And what about your family? They have loves too! And with all of this newly freed up capital, they can afford to live it up, too.

Now, how much do you really need to have each month to live a life with your loved ones truly crafted by you? A life built directly around what matters to you most?

Not really that bad, is it? And you haven’t really sacrificed anything important to you. Just a lot of fluff and stuff you didn’t want or need anyway.

So, how do you get from where you are to this “dream life?”

One careful step at a time, my friend.

Some of these steps will be easy. Others can be quite complicated. But every single one of them can be achieved by you.

How much energy do you think that you should put into an effort like this? Well, how important to you is your quality of life? How badly do you want to be happy?

You get the idea.

I call this process of re-crafting your life to fit your dreams “Creative Family Lifestyle Design,” and these days I spend most of my time writing about it.

When I discovered this concept, after much difficulty and trail and error, I realized for the first time how huge it was. And how much people like you and me need to know about it.

That’s why I’m writing this article.

I hope that by reading this piece I have stirred up in you a realization of what your life could be like if you woke up one day and decided to really live it.

Might today be that day? I hope so!

All the best, Hugh

Hugh DeBurgh, The Passionate Warrior, has dedicated his life to the achievement of the ultimate family lifestyle. You can find him writing about Creative Family Lifestyle Design over at his blog, The Way of the Passionate Warrior. Currently he is on the second leg of a worldwide travel adventure with his wife and four young children. Follow Hugh on Twitter or sign up for his RSS feed and don’t miss an update!

Reprinted from Zen Family Habits.