Are your dreams overrated?


Sometime between the end and beginning of each year, we talk about new year’s resolutions. We joke about them. Some actually formulate them. Most are experts at breaking them. And a tiny portion of us are determined enough to keep them.

I’ve always believed that a list of new year’s resolutions are important to have for self improvement. I’ve had different kinds of resolutions year after year, but I’ve never been able to keep them, until the day I woke up and realized that I was in my 25th year, and that I was nowhere close to where I wanted to be. It freaked the crap out of me. I immediately made a list of things I needed to achieve in 2013 and I kept most of my resolutions. It gave me the best feeling of self-satisfaction I’ve felt in a very long time.

This year, I asked myself why I didn’t keep my resolutions in the past. For if I had, the possibilities of being in a much better place at present are higher. In all truthfulness, the answer is known to us all. We’ve hidden it deep within us, because we find it convenient. The answers we’ve managed to effortlessly bury are very simple. We are afraid of letting out the greatness that lies within us. We are afraid of failure. And we are afraid of moving out of our comfort zone. And of course, we are huge-ass lazy bums!

Very recently, I was reminded of these answers when I was privileged enough to interview Dananjaya Hettiarachchi, a Sri Lankan ranked amongst the top 20 best speakers in the world.

There were a few very important things he told me in the interview.  Do go through it if time permits, but in a nutshell, he said, that resolutions are important, but not important by themselves. The reason we don’t keep our resolutions is because we don’t align them to a broader purpose in life. “Every New Year we have resolutions, but more or less they are just statements. We Inevitably end up breaking those resolutions down the line because they are not aligned to a common purpose” he said.
He brought a simple example of quitting a habit such as smoking. A thought some of us have not just at the beginning of the year, but all year round. If this was your resolution, you would come across many instances where you would be tempted to break it. But if it was aligned under a broader purpose, such as ‘quitting smoking to be a better father’, your resolution becomes meaningful, and your will power becomes stronger. 
Many times in life, we have no clue what we want, hence we don’t have dreams or purposes. I’ve come across many people who’ve told me they don’t know what their dreams are. According to Dananjaya, dreams are overrated, and I agree. Dreams can be unrealistic, and once achieved, done with. But a purpose lasts forever. You can close your eyes and visualize a dream. But you can’t envision a purpose, but come up with different ways to continue to fulfill your purpose.  If you find your purpose in life, that’s striking gold. But how do we find it? 
The first step is to want it rather than wishing it. Every little thing we’ve achieved in life is because we’ve wanted it, not because we’ve simply wished for it. In Dananjaya’s words, “we wish we are successful, but we most often don’t want it”. So start from really wanting it. Once you badly want it, you’ll start taking risks. You will move out of your comfort zone and start experiencing new things, and all the answers will start falling into place. You will start to understand the difference between realistic and unrealistic dreams. Not all of us have what it takes to be singers and movie stars even if we wish we were, but every single one has something big enough that is realistically achievable.
I’m writing this post on the final day of the first month of 2014, but it’s still not too late to come up with your resolutions for the year. So maybe your purpose for now, should be to understand what you want in life if you don’t already, and your resolutions can help you to find different ways of discovering your purposes. It’s really not too late 🙂

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