How to Realize Your Wildest Dream

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By Mary Jaksch

What is your wildest dream? Maybe you want to do something or become something that seems impossible right now? I’ve been spending time reviewing goals and setting new ones in the last few weeks. I could sense that something was missing, but I couldn’t figure out what I had left out.

And then it struck me: I left out my wild, seemingly impossible dream! Why? Because I daren’t tell even myself about it… Ok, yes – I will tell you what my ‘seemingly impossible’ dream is, but I first have to gather some courage…gulp.

What is your wildest dream?

The one that seems too big. The one that you don’t even confide to your best friend. I think we all have a secret dream. But that dream seems so far away that we can’t imagine how it could ever happen. And we fear that if we talk about the dream, we will be ridiculed and someone will rip our precious dream apart. Because of this fear, we never activate the dream Activate? Well, a dream stays just that:  a dream. But when we turn a dream into a goal, we activate it. It then becomes like a heat-seeking missile – it’s impossible to miss.

Activating a dream means making it public.

When we start to own the dream and share it with others, we start the journey of realizing it. There are two steps to realizing the wildest dream:

Step #1 Speak about your wildest dream to others

Step #2 Take one small step towards your dream

Here’s what triggered my wild dream: A couple of years ago I visited Morocco. One day we visited the Cascade D’Ouzoud, a spectacular series of falls. After we had explored the falls, my brother George said: douzoud

“Why don’t we go for a little stroll and explore the ancient olive groves above the falls?”

For a moment I was fooled. I forgot that a ‘little stroll’ in my brother’s language means something like the ‘pleasant ten-day bike ride’ that took him from Germany to Portugal – over the Alps and Pyrenees! Three hours later we saw a steep hill in front of us. The sun was beating down on us and we had no water. George was still enthusiastic:

“Oh, look at that nice hill! Let’s go up and take a look at the view around us!”

There was a collective groan from the three others of our group. When we finally arrived at the top of the hill, we found a family living in a little walled compound. They offered us their hospitality and we sat on the earthen floor in their main room, gratefully sipping sweet mint tea. The parents introduced their five children to us. The oldest two were a fourteen year old girl called Aneesa and her younger brother, Thamar. They both looked alert and interested.

I asked the boy, “How do you get water up here?” ” I bring it up with the donkey each day.” “What about school?” “Oh yes, Aneesa and I go to school.”

I turned to Aneesa:

“What do you want to do when you finish school?” “I want to become a police woman!” “And you, Thamar?” “I want to be a teacher!”

The mother shook her head.

“It’s not going to happen,” she said sadly. “Because there’s no high school they can go to here.” “But, what about Aneesa,” I said, “can’t she go to a high school that’s further away?” “Yes, she could. We could send her to relatives in Marrakesh. But we would have to give them some money and we only have just enough to live on.”

This conversation stayed with me. It seems such a waste that intelligent young people like Aneesa and Thamare are denied education! Especially as Morocco, like many other African countries, is heading towards a grim future because of global warming. What they need now and in the future is enlightened leaders. That experience triggered my wildest dream.

Which is…

I want to become a philanthropist!

Ulitmately, I want to start a charity that helps gifted children from poor families to get an education. The way I envisage it, this charity would follow individual children through their education, rather like Kiva gives micro-loans to named individuals.

Phew…I’ve said it publicly!

I’ve now taken step #1 of realizing my wildest dream.

Now for step #2: taking one, small step towards one’s wildest dream.

In my mind I always put up conditions, liker5f

“Maybe one day, if I make some money on the Net, I’ll become a philanthropist.” Because I set seemingly impossible conditions, I didn’t need to take responsibility for actually making the dream happen.

What conditions do you set for your wildest dream?

Setting seemingly impossible conditions is an interesting move, don’t you think? It means that even if we never attain our dream, we can’t blame ourselves. We can always say, “Oh well,  the conditions weren’t right.”

To achieve anything worthwhile, we need to take responsibility for our actions.

So, let me tell you how I took responsibility for my dream. I thought, “What’s the smallest step I could take towards my wildest dream?” And I came up with something very simple. I joined Kiva a non-profit website that allows you to lend as little as $25 to a specific low-income entrepreneur in the developing world.

And then I lent $25 to Ndaga Beye Mbaye, a woman who sells jewellery and ready-to-wear clothing for children in Senegal, so that she can buy more stock and continue to feed her family. (You can read my post about this here)

Afterwards, I felt uplifted and full of hope.

(Find out how here how to join the Goodlife Zen lending group on Kiva )

What is your wildest dream?

Maybe you would like to say it out loud in the comments. If that’s too difficult, you could perhaps say something about how you feel about having a wildest dream. I’d appreciate  your comment so that I don’t feel quite so out on a limb!

If you feel inspired, please stumble or reddit this post and retweet it.

Photo by abmiller99

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{ 20 Comments }

  1. Donnie says:

    Might I also recommend Hiefer International, which allows you to buy livestock for a needy family, and they in turn use it to provide for other families.

    My wife and I have been discussing going to Africa when our children are old enough to move out on their own. We are entirely sure where or what effort we will help out with, but we have time. “If you are blessed with the ability to aid others, then you are also blessed with the responsibility to aid others.”

    This is my first comment, but I have been reading this blog for quite a while. Just wanted to say thank you for writing, I really enjoy it. And if I can ever help out in any way, I would love to.

  2. Mark Lewis says:

    I like philanthropy; I wish I was a philanthropist too! I think philanthropist get the most out of their money. It feels so good to help others!

    I also want to be a successful entrepreneur. I’m chasing after that dream as we speak!

    Mark Lewiss last blog post..Interview with Sailor Geoff Holt

  3. Theresa says:

    Thank you so much for writing this post, challenging me and revealing something so personal.

    You are not alone here. About two months ago, I decided that I was more than “just” a mom. While I love my children and the responsibilities they bring, I wanted to realize something bigger. Something that would continue after they were grown (my youngest is two years old).

    I am surrounded by people who need help. Children and adults who feel defeated, uncertain and inferior. For some reason, they feel drawn to me and share their stories. I’d like to really know how to bring joy and positivity to their lives, so I want to become a psychologist specializing in positive psychology.

    My first step was to apply to Penn State University’s World Campus. I haven’t gotten further info from them yet, but I did take a step. It’s not my wildest dream, but it’s a dream I’m working on.

  4. So often we discount our dreams because we think they are too wild or too unlikely to happen. Your post is very inspiring. Dreams can be realized, but it’s up to us to work for them.

    Positively Presents last blog post..stop slackin’ & get crackin’

  5. […] How to Realize Your Wildest Dream How to Realize Your Wildest Dream […]

  6. Adrilia says:

    Dear Mary,
    What a beautiful post! Thank you. I love the image of an activated dream being a “heat-seeking missile”. The story of how your dream came about is great. You are already beginning to do this … and inspiring us all in the process.

    Adrilias last blog post..How to best welcome spring? Think Success!

  7. Angie says:

    I have spent several years trying to figure out what I want to be when I grow up. At almost 41, I think I am getting close.

    My dream is to own and operate a wellness center. I have a small farm where I go to escape cinderblock windowless spaces and electromagnetic fields. I want to construct a yurt on the farm which will serve as a yoga/pilates studio, juice and smoothie bar, and massage studio.

    My first step was to enroll in massage therapy school. I am proud to say that I have made it through 5 months of a 12 month program. Acquiring the yurt and related necessities will be the next more challenging steps as I don’t really want to incur debt.

    I have made my dream known to some in recent months, and it has been met with mixed reaction…everything from “Oh I am so excited…I’ll be your first customer,” to “…what the bleep is a yurt and do you really think you can make a living at that?” Takes some work to keep the dream alive. Thanks for the opportunity to go public.

    Angies last blog post..Composting Life’s Crap

  8. Hi Mary,

    I was able to obtain a wildest dream at an early age. It helped me to realize that all I have to do is believe in the dream and myself, even if no one else does.

    Now I dream of getting involved with helping the people of India. I’m not sure how or when it will come about, but it will come about because I believe it.

    Because of blogs like yours, we all have a place to go, where we can communicate with like minded people. That’s a big help for those of us that are reaching for the stars!

    Thanks

    Chad Prigmores last blog post..Create an Enriching Daily Routine

  9. janice says:

    My dream is to inspire and coach others through my writing, to support the world’s doe-ers, nurturers, connectors and philanthropists, like a big pyramid scheme. Some people are born to offer quiet, steadfast support, to give all dreamers their chance.

    You’ve already taken steps to make your dream happen, Mary. The hundreds of writers you empower over at Write to Done will, in their turn, go on to inspire and support thousands of others and who knows where that may lead.

    On a personal level, I’m trying to do my bit by buying folk Oxfam gifts each year. We enjoy buying, in our friends’ names, goats, school books and desks and fishing nets. Some day, I’m hoping to be able to do more to free girls from lives of torture, slavery and prostitution.

    Blessings for your venture, and thank you for sharing your dream. The universe rewards action.

    janices last blog post..Write Like Grissom, Feel Like God

  10. janice says:

    My dream is to inspire and coach others through my writing, to support the world’s doe-ers, nurturers, connectors and philanthropists, like a big pass it forward scheme. Some people are born to offer quiet, steadfast support, to give all dreamers their chance.

    You’ve already taken steps to make your dream happen, Mary. The hundreds of writers you empower over at Write to Done will, in their turn, go on to inspire and support thousands of others and who knows where that may lead.

    On a personal level, I’m trying to do my bit by buying folk charity gifts each year. We enjoy buying, in our friends’ names, goats, school books and desks and fishing nets. Some day, I’m hoping to be able to do more to free girls from lives of torture, slavery and prostitution.

    Blessings for your venture, and thank you for sharing your dream. The universe rewards action.

  11. Sami says:

    Hi Mary,

    My first post here. Congratulations! So great to see you taking the first (and often hardest) step. I have a philanthropic dream too. I want to build a number of profitable businesses that all give part of their profits to a foundation that performs random acts of aid. I know how you feel about putting it out there. I did the same on my blog too and it was a tad scary! Good on you!

  12. Great post – although of course sometimes people have trouble identifying their wildest dream or true purpose. The post linked to here might help with that.

    Seamus Anthonys last blog post..How To Find Your True Life Purpose (And Make It Pay)

  13. Hi Mary,

    I love the picture of the waterfall. I can relate to your experience in Morroco. I think what prevents people from going after their wildest dream is fear that the dream will not come true.

    I think people like to play it safe and they want a definite outcome. Sometimes with following our wildest dream we have no idea where the journey will take us but that is part of the fun too. Life is short and there is no need to waste it by being miserable. Good for you for encouraging people to go for it! You go, girl! 🙂

    Nadia – Happy Lotuss last blog post..Pain, Suffering and The Theory of Relativity (Happy Lotus Style)

  14. Amber says:

    Love this post! I think talking about your dreams is absolutely the best way to make them happen. Think, and talk as though you already are living the dream. That’s the law of attraction right there! I have found that when I discuss my hopes and dreams with others the universe usually lines up a lot quicker. Thanks for the read as always!

    Ambers last blog post..My New Theme Song(s)…

  15. Thanks for this interesting read.

    I have a problem of a lack of focus. I blame the world. Honestly, who decided that there should be just so many interesting and wonderful things out there for us to enjoy?

    Because of this, I’m just not sure what my dream is yet. I would also love to be a philanthropist, especially in the desperate circumstances of people who just need fresh water, education, and of course, food. It’s obviously hard not to be.

    That said, I’d like to start-up and run a successful business which interests me. Not selling pop-tarts for breakfast, but something which helps the world.

    I need more focus so that my dreams are not so much of everything, but something in particular. This is my journey!

    Cheers,
    Tristan.

    Tristan | The New Man Of Actions last blog post..Book Review: Everything is Negotiable – How to get the best deal everytime by Gavin Kennedy

  16. What a great article! I am in the process of just now embarking on my dream of writing and speaking. Originally, I was living this new journey quietly, “in case it didn’t work out.” However, I quickly discovered that part of really going for it, is sharing that you are going for it! While I was concerned others might dismiss my efforts, my experience has been the opposite. People are inspired by my goals. Your advice of saying your dreams out loud is dead on! Thank you for sharing it!

    Stephanie Baffones last blog post..My World Feels a Bit Out of Order… Oh, and Eggs

  17. Arun Sahoo says:

    I just want to say that both this article and everyone’s posts is very inspiring and heart warming. Nothing scares me more than the thought of what the future holds lol. Its just all a big mystery and its always disheartening to think my dreams won’t come true. Real glad to see I’m not alone. And I completely agree with not keeping it to yourself. Anything that’s held inside for a long time can really make your life hard so its always important to share. And that definitely includes dreams. Lately, I feel like I have been sharing my dreams with a lot of people close to me. While it may be a little embarrassing at first, I feel like a huge weight is just lifted off my shoulder. So, here’s to all of your dreams coming true and more importantly, the journey it takes to get there.

  18. Jeff says:

    The irony in my life is that while I always think that I want to “stand still” and avoid change, I invariably move toward something new. I’ve realized a number of “wild dreams” over the past decade. For instance, I wanted to play professional jazz piano, I wanted to have children (in the face of infertility), I wanted to own a house, I wanted to live and work in New England, and I wanted to be a public school teacher. I’ve since realized all of these dreams. Now I have a new “wild dream.” Surprise! Surprise! I want to leave public school teaching and be a professional artist (a dream I’ve had for all of my adult life, really). I want to be a web designer. There! It’s been published on the web!

    I’ve taken many of the steps I need in order to move in that direction, but I hit a snag yesterday. I bumped into the inevitable, “other people can become web designers, but you can’t.” The scary piece of my dream for me, the “wildest” part, is the fact that I want to leave teaching (eventually anyway), which is my paycheck. There are aspects to teaching that are agonizing for my thinking process (particularly, my need to focus for long periods of time…multi-tasking sets my brain on fire!). I’m in that familiar spiritual place where I need to visualize and trust.

    I’m making my dream public on the beloved internet! I really like the analogy of the “heat-seeking missile.” Let’s see where it goes next…

    Thanks for your post, Mary.

    Jeff

  19. Sharan says:

    Hi,
    Really heart warming post. I have a dream to become an Actor and tell stories that might bring positive changes in the society I live in. I too have shared this dream with a couple of very tight pals & I agree that to tell it out is the most difficult part as it was for me because what I dream of is really outrageous from where I see it! But as I gave it a real shot I was amazed to see for myself how far I could go as I almost made it there! Could not make it atlast but I haven’t given up! I trust my instincts and believe in my dreams!

    Thanks for the post,
    Sharan

  20. Lily says:

    Hi Mary,

    Thank you for the wonderful, inspiring post. You’ve inspired me to write my dream publicly here: I want to become a theoretical physicist! Not only that, but to study theory on systems that could potentially be relevant to our lives.

    I say this here because I study at a competitive university in the US where the attitude can often be all too deterministic and occasionally intimidating. I lost myself in the stress and lost a lot of confidence, but your motivation and ability to see past constraints has helped me reclaim my dream — even when my ego other people show doubt.

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