The Deceptive Perfection of What Could Be

Stop me if this sounds familiar: a person is daydreaming at work and his or her mind wanders to a place that leads to the following thought “that will be the great thing I devote myself to…some day.”

This is, no doubt, a thought that every one of us encounters with regularity. It doesn’t matter what great accomplishment we’re daydreaming about, what’s important is that we all have something inside of our heads and hearts that occupies that ‘some day’ space.

Be it starting our own business, running a marathon, traveling somewhere amazing, helping others in some altruistic way, or writing a book, many of us have dreams and desires that we keep just out of reach and have yet to act on.

If we are indeed envisioning a dream that could realistically take us down the path to amazing and fulfilling results, it would seem that the slightest nudge in the right direction would be all we need to get started.

And yet, here we sit, living out our lives clinging to dreams we’ve chosen to keep tucked away without taking the slightest action to get started. But maybe that’s because we all know, perhaps only subconsciously, that as soon as our perfect dream begins to exist anywhere besides our own mind, it ceases to be perfect. We shift our thinking from how fun and rewarding our dream would be, and we start focusing on how much work achieving that dream would entail.

Our dream is transformed from being something that existed exactly how we wanted, to something that is suddenly constrained by reality.

Our dream is no longer an escape from a bad day or a way to pass the time when we’re bored; it’s suddenly something that requires work, planning, and sacrifice. We’ve removed the wondrous possibility of ‘what if’ and replaced it with an action plan, a to-do list, and deadlines.

Once our dream starts to become real, it is no longer ours alone. As much as our dream may be moving closer to becoming a reality, it is also in some ways, moving closer to criticism and the possibility of failure.

Anyone who has followed their dream will tell you that certain aspects of the process can be terrifying. Those same people will tell you that many more aspects of the process are rewarding and incredible, but we already knew that. After all, this is our dream; we know how amazing it is!

But our dream is no longer an escape. It’s no longer something we’ll be able to conjure up whenever we want for our own enjoyment, it’s now in the process of becoming a reality and there’s always a chance that it doesn’t manifest itself just as we had hoped.

And perhaps this is why we haven’t started and why so many of our dreams are still just ideas that exist only in our mind. The beauty of our dreams existing in this space is that because we haven’t started to realize them, they’re still possible and have unlimited potential.

Until they don’t. Until it’s too late. Until we’ve been so hesitant to get started and spent so much time enjoying the perfection of what could be, that we wake up one day only to realize we missed our window altogether. We were so afraid that our dream might not be exactly as we had imagined that it didn’t have a chance to be at all.

No matter our dream we all know, deep down, that we might fail. And that surely must be ok.

Because the only thing worse than failure is not giving ourselves a chance to discover what could be.

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