4-Dimensional Dreaming

4-Dimensional Dreaming

Never stop dreaming. 

 

Dreams are not a childish waste of time. It’s in our dreams that we plant the seeds of our future. Today, we’re matching the power of dreaming with the energy of intention, so that we can catch our dreams and turn our wildest fantasies into our reality.

 

In this article, we’re looking at how we might live from our dreams in lots of different ways. We may have some disappointed dreams. Perhaps your job, hobbies, house or social life might not look exactly like you dreamt at 10-years old (and that’s not necessarily a bad thing!) But are there parts of the dream or attitudes of the dreaming that you can bring into your adult life? In 2007 Randy Pausch delivered his “Last Lecture.” A month before giving the lecture Randy had received the prognosis that his pancreatic cancer was terminal. So Randy used his ‘last lecture’ as an opportunity to impart his final wisdom on the world. And what did the professor of computer science, human-computer interaction and design at Carnegie Mellon University choose to present on? “Achieving your childhood dreams.” In this surprisingly upbeat and light-hearted lecture, Randy talks about how you can still accomplish your childhood dreams and truly live your life to the fullest. 

Join us as we look at ways we can reinvent our childhood dreams and bring an attitude of dreaming into our everyday interactions. To quote the American poet and philosopher Henry David Thoreau: “Our truest life is when we are in dreams awake.”

So…let’s get dreaming!

 

 

Distill your Dreams

 

You can still live from your childhood dreams. Because your dreams don’t have to look exactly as they did when you were growing up. Not if we deconstruct the dreams and capture the essence of the dreaming.

In ‘The Last Lecture’ Randy Pausch talks about his childhood dream of wanting to be an astronaut. However, as he got older he realised that it wasn’t blasting thousands of miles up into orbit that was the aspiration. Rather – the fun and fascination of floating in zero gravity was really at the very heart of his dream. What this distilling process left him with was the dream in its purest, simplest form. And this was a much more reachable dream that he could realise in many different ways. 

So, how did Randy do it? Well as it turns out NASA has something called a vomit comet they use to train astronauts, which offers the experience of weightlessness for about 25 seconds. NASA offered a programme where college students could submit proposals to win a flight on the vomit comet. So, Randy got a team of his students together and they won. But unfortunately, Randy missed the T&Cs which stated that under no circumstances were faculty members allowed to fly with their students. Luckily there was another bit of small print stating that students were allowed to bring a local journalist with them…and just like that Randy retracted his application as a college professor and applied again as a web journalist accompanying the students and as a result accomplished his childhood dream of experiencing weightlessness!

Could you put some of your long-shot childhood fantasies through this distilling process and live from these dreams in different and perhaps more tangible ways? Distilling or deconstructing your childhood dreams can help you to uncover the essence of the dream and will give you clarity around what you really want. As Randy Pausch realised, he didn’t really want to live the life of an astronaut and spend months away from family and friends. What he wanted was to experience weightlessness. And that was a dream he managed to accomplish. 

Let’s follow in Randy’s powerful footsteps and take a moment to deconstruct one of your childhood dreams. Perhaps you wanted to be a ballet dancer. What was it about that dream that you were specifically attracted to? Maybe it was the physical expression, the performance, the storytelling through movement. From here you can dig further still. What was it about the physical movement that made your heart sing? Maybe it was the flow, the symmetry or the precision. Keep going until you believe you’ve captured the essence of the dream. An essence that you can live from in lots of different ways. You may discover you can find a similar sense of flow or symmetry on the yoga mat. Or maybe you- like me- make your dream an important part of your personal life… 

 

Build your hobbies into your dreams

 

Hands up, I have a fantasy of being on Strictly Come Dancing! 3 years ago, I started taking ballroom dancing lessons. And I immediately fell in love with the grace and flow of ballroom and the patterns and precision of the different dances. Yet the dream- to dance on Strictly- still sang in the background. And if we don’t chase our dreams, we will never catch them.

But what was it about the Strictly Dream that I longed for? The glamour, the dresses, the competition, the grace, the show. The whole thing. And all of those elements are things I can chase in my personal practice- without having to become a professional dancer. How? By entering an amateur ballroom competition. These kinds of competitions are totally accessible and represent a truly tangible way I can turn my hobby, something I love to do in my free time, into my dream. It doesn’t have to be our profession or a full-time job for it to be achievable. Not if we deconstruct the dreaming and look at other ways we can accomplish our dreams through our hobbies.

Put your goal out there and then rub out the fixed path because there are many routes to accomplishing a dream. Setting a goal doesn’t often give you a clear set of directions. What it gives you is much more powerful: it gives your internal compass a bearing and sets you off in the right direction. But there are still are many other paths along the way. Stay open and you might be surprised by which one leads you to your dream. 

They say don’t judge a book by its cover. Well, the same applies to dreaming: don’t judge a dream by its title, as you’ll be undermining its depth and limiting opportunities to live from it in lots of different ways. 

 

Dream Blockers

 

“Never give up on what you really want to do. The person with big dreams is more powerful than one with all the facts.” 

 

– Albert Einstein

Can we dare to dream in spite of the potential set backs? Some of the past century’s most inspirational leaders were people who were told no, experienced  great set-backs but dared to dream on anywhere. Martin Luther King is a perfect of example of someone who experienced dream blocks, yet continued to keep the dream alive by looking for ways around the dream block and towards the same end goal. 

Many things can block our dreams. We don’t operate within a vacuum. We are always dealing with the 2 Contexts as we call them at 4D: our environment and shared culture. Our environment is all the tangibles, like the weather, and the country you live in. Our shared culture is other people. A lot of these things are out of our control. And they can have a big impact on our dreams. Maybe our families had different dreams for us? Or perhaps society’s version of success has impacted the career we chose? 

So how do we push back out into the world when the world around us is blocking our dreams?

By waking up the 4th dimension: the intentional dimension. This is your best friend when it comes to dream enhancement. If you reach a road block to your dream, how might you find another way through, in order to reach the same end goal?

 

Activated Dreaming

“Dreams don’t work unless you do.” 

 

– John C Maxwell, ‘The 21 Indispensable Qualities of a Leader’

Bringing your intentional dimension online is vital for achieving your dreams. However, living with intentionality isn’t simply about setting an intention and then sitting back and enjoying the show. Intentionality is something that impacts all of your other dimensions. It’s not simply something you say or do; it’s something that affects your whole being.

 

So, how can we activate our intentions in order to live with intentionality? We can start to match intention with action. Say for example you have a big dream to one day run a marathon. That’s the intention you’ve set yourself.  To activate this dream, of course you’re going to have to start training! And as sports psychologists know, it is our intentional self that is going to make the difference as to whether our training is successful. Because, if the training feels physically hard, we may emotionally feel despondent, intellectually you may be telling yourself a story about being useless at running, and so perhaps you don’t push yourself as hard, so you feel disheartened and so the cycle continues. This will lead to an undermining of progress. And this unhelpful circle of feeling/thought/behaviour can appear in all areas of our lives and is why it is so important to keep our intentional dimension activated and online. Because of course when we’re tired, busy, despondent or stressed it’s all too easy to fall into our default ways of operating. And it’s our intentional dimension that keeps us motivated and our dreams on track.

Living with intentionality is the best way to fast-track your way to your dreams and help to keep you moving forward step by step in the direction of you dream. There is perhaps no better example of this than Walt Disney. He matched the magic of his dreams with the energy of intention and quite literally built his dreams into being- a reality I’m sure you’ve had the joy of exploring, whether that be via wandering the magic kingdom or watching a film. To quote the man himself: “First, think. Second, dream. Third, believe. And finally, dare.”

 

Dream Team

 

To use the wonderful words of John Lennon: “You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one.” We all have dreams, however big or small. So how might the people around us help us with our dreams? And how might we help other people to achieve their dreams? Let’s use the power of dreaming and our ‘4D Dream Team Guide’ to help our team achieve even greater things…

 

Become who you want to become

“Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.” 

 

– George Bernard Shaw

Dream dreams that are bigger than the things you could do. Dream about who you could be and step into a new way of being and experiencing the world. As Dan Pallotta says in his TED talk ‘The dream we haven’t dared to dream: “It’s time for us to dream in multiple dimensions simultaneously, and somewhere that transcends all of the wondrous things we can and will and must do lies the domain of all the unbelievable things we could be.”

Who do you want to be? For both yourself and also the people around you….

We used to think that the brain was fixed from around the age of 30. Over the past two decades, research into neuroplasticity has proven that this couldn’t be further from the truth. Yes, our brain’s change at a slower rate at 7-years old compared to when we are 77-years old. But our brains are still building and changing right into later life. And that’s exciting because the science tells us that as human beings, we’re not fixed but constantly evolving. So, the question we should all be asking ourselves is: what kind of human being do we dream of being?

What would be your dream story about you? Maybe it’s around being funny. So, what behaviours would help you to build a new belief system around comedy? Perhaps it’s as simple as learning a joke a day and sharing your favourite one in your bi-weekly team meeting. Or maybe you sign-up for an improvised comedy course and try out some spontaneous comedy. Step in to the dream of who you are and your beliefs about yourself will follow. Be the thing you want to be, with regards to your actions, words and thoughts, and step into a version of you that you’ve always dreamt of.

 

 

Dare to Dream 

 

Our modern world stems from dreams – dreams turned into reality. So if we want to help shape the experience of ours and others lives, we have to value the dreaming stage in any project, decision or relationship.  Never stop dreaming, because living with an attitude of activated dreaming can completely transform yours and others experience of life and inspire your teams, friends and family to think outside of the box and push through boundaries.

Of course, dreaming comes more easily to some of us than others. So if you’re someone who struggles with dreaming, try asking yourself these 4 questions in order to fire up your dream muscles, and you might notice how much richer your life becomes and how much bolder and braver you can be! You may find yourself surprised by the dreams that arise…

 

1. What do you want your days to consist of?

Take a moment to think about the things you love to do, the places you like to go and the people you enjoy being around.

2. Imagine your 8-year old self…What did they dream of?

And how might you bring elements of these childhood fantasies into your adult life?

3. Now imagine your 80-year old self…What did they dream would happen?

How much of their dream could you make come true? Now plan it!

4. And finally, if your life were a movie what character would you be?

What appeals to you about the character or story plot? And how might you bring parts of that character into your everyday life?

 

Your reality starts from the essence of your dreams and the dreams of those close to you, so start living from your dreams today – with your whole being- and watch as your fantasies turn into your reality. Remember “You gotta have a dream, if you don’t have a dream, How you gonna have a dream come true?” (South Pacific, “Happy Talk”).

 

New Year, New Intention

New Year, New Intention

Eat better, exercise more, spend less money. You probably won’t be surprised to hear that these were the three most popular resolutions for 2018, (closely followed by sleep better, read more books and get a new job!) January 1st shows up and suddenly there’s a desperate desire to sweep last year under the rug and wipe the slate clean. Over night, New Year’s celebrations evolve into ‘New Year New Me’ shame, inspiring impulsive urges to change and challenge ourselves. In this chaotic clean up we cling to commitments that WE WILL stick to this year because this is the year where everything changes.

Unfortunately, by the first week of February your resolutions- along with 90% of the population’s- have failed. So how can we take a fresh look at New Year’s Resolutions in order to avoid the 90% failure figure? By ditching resolutions all together. Instead of making- and inevitably breaking- a New Year’s resolution, why not give yourself the gift of a New Year, New Intention.

Why Intention?

The word ‘resolution’ might itself, be the source of many-failed resolutions because it suggests that something needs to be fixed, that something needs to resolve. Consequently, we start from a place of “I’m not good enough” which serves to encourage negative self-talk, low self-belief and a sense of lacking. This is why resolutions don’t often inspire ‘New Year, same old, wonderful me’ thinking because the very concept insinuates that you- as you are- are broken and need to be fixed. They set you off full of self-doubt and dissatisfaction, tying the start of the year to a sense of never enough.

The word also evokes a sense of completion and closure. In a story, the resolution appears at the end and is where everything is wrapped up in a conclusion (which is quite often neat, tidy and full of ‘happy ever after’). However in life there is no resolution. It is an ongoing process, constantly changing and challenging us until we eventually reach resolution and conclusion at the end of our journey. When of course, New Year’s resolutions become completely irrelevant.

So at 4D we much prefer the word intention because it helps to invigorate and inspire us through life. Not simply because of the linguistic limitations mentioned above but because they encourage curious, honest and liberated living. Unlike resolutions, intentions aren’t something you do or don’t do: they are something you connect to. And when you connect to intention you are connecting to a force and an energy field that is so much bigger than yourself. This is why we find intention so exciting because it invites you to live a life without limits and opens up a world of opportunities!

 

 

You only have to consider Roger Bannister- the first man to run a mile in under 4 minutes- to appreciate the power of intention in action. Bannister was an ex-pupil of my secondary school and I remember at the age of 13 listening to him speak about how he connected to intention, visualising his goal for many months before finally making it his reality. History speaks for itself because the very next year, 4 other runners joined him in the sub-4 minute ranks. And the year after that, 57 had managed to meet the grade! Now this isn’t because they all suddenly got better at running. It’s because Roger Bannister made the impossible possible and showed them that it could be done. To use the words of Wayne Dyer, “Intentions shape your reality.”The question is: what intention do you want to take into 2018?

“Everything is energy and that’s all there is to it. Match the frequency of the reality you want and you cannot help but get that reality. It can be no other way. This is not philosophy. This is physics.”

 

-Albert Einstein

What do you want to be?

Working out who you want to be is often much harder than working out what you want. But it will give you much more momentum and meaning than any material gain or goal. Between having a new puppy, living in the countryside and eating my body weight in Christmas pudding I was somewhat sluggish by the beginning of January. So I decided to start a yoga class. The alarm went off at 7:30 AM and I lay in bed mulling over whether or not I wanted to go. Maybe I’ll start yoga tomorrow. Then suddenly a thought popped into my head: I want to go to yoga because I want to be energised, balanced and calm. I was motivated out of bed and onto my mat not by the thought of doing: but by the thought of being.

 

You may have noticed from the list above, that New Year’s resolutions typically involve doing something. Or having something. Or giving something up. For example: I’m going to do more exercise. I want a new job. I want to stop smoking. They focus on the results or the doing. But we are not human-doings, we are human beings. Connecting to intention enables you to operate from this being state. Rather than resolving to do something, you stay present with who you are in the moment, moving with the ebbs and flows of life.

 

 

Instead of starting with what you want to HAVE or what you want to DO, flip the formula and start with what you want to BE. Suddenly you have the flexibility and freedom to be what you want to be, even when life gets in the way. For example, say you set yourself the goal of running a marathon this year (HAVE), so you resolve to run everyday (DO), in order to feel healthy (BE). What happens when a knee injury prevents you from training for several months? The whole formula falls apart and the idea of ‘being healthy’ feels hopeless. However, if we start with what we want to BE, we start to see many other ways we can serve this intention. So maybe I can’t run but I could definitely do some gentle yoga. And I could use the extra time to make home cooked meals. And the physio mentioned I should be able to cycle in 2 months. So maybe I’ll sign up for a cycling challenge instead… Intention not only offers you flexibility and freedom but it also opens you up to other opportunities that you may have never considered. Perhaps I’ll cycle in the 100-miler across London this summer…? Who knows where your intention will take you!

I was motivated out of bed and onto my mat not by the thought of doing: but by the thought of being.

What is your WHY?

On many occasions I’ve worked out what I want to BE but I still haven’t managed to connect to intention. The so-called power of intention definitely isn’t driving me out of bed this morning. Why? Because we can’t live from intentions that are impersonal, generalised and not connected to our core: they need to come from within. So in this section we move away from broad-brush stroke intentions and consider ways in which we can make meaning for ourselves. I’m sure everyone on planet wants to BE happy. Yet I’m certain everyone has a different reason, a different WHY that motivates this intention.

 

 

If you know the work of Simon Sinek you will be familiar with his ‘What, How, Why’ model. Lots of organisations are focused on WHAT they’re doing and perhaps even HOW they’re doing it. But really successful organisations start with WHY: why do we do what we do? Yet this model doesn’t just apply to organisations: it also applies to individuals and is a great way of connecting to intention. As we just mentioned, intention doesn’t exist in the realm of ‘doing’ and therefore isn’t concerned with the WHAT and the HOW. With intention, we are connecting to our WHY. So rather than focusing on the WHAT: “I want to buy a flat.” Or the HOW, “so I’m going to apply for a mortgage.” Bring it back to the WHY: “Because I want to create a life with my fiancé.” This is a real example that comes from a friend who is struggling to get a mortgage. She found herself increasingly stressed and arguing with her partner. Yet, when she brought it back to the why her anger softened because she suddenly remembered why she was doing what she was doing. Whilst there are still difficulties around the mortgage, she no longer feels like she is struggling in vain because she is connected to her intention. As she said: “ it’s not about buying a house: it’s about the home I want to create.”

 

Therefore, it’s important to take the time to really connect to your WHY. Don’t just settle with the first WHY that comes to mind, as your core values can easily become confused with cultural ideals. So quiz your WHY. Become that annoying, questioning child in the backseat of the car that won’t stop asking “but, why?” ‘5 Whys’ is an iterative interrogative exercise that cultivates this same curiosity. You start with a problem, a situation or in our case, an intention and question it with ‘why?’ 5 times. Every answer forms the basis of the next question and therefore encourages deep digging. So question yourself. Really look in the mirror and ask yourself WHY in order to work out what really lies at the heart of you intention. Make sure you’re connecting to your core intention, not a cultural ideal.

Trusting Intention

 

 

Finally, in order to connect to intention we have to allow ourselves to trust. Even though intention may not take us down the road we planned, we must try not to judge or label events as ‘good’ or ‘bad’ because who knows where they will lead us. So many seemingly ‘bad’ or ‘unfortunate’ events in my life have brought me so much unexpected joy and surprise opportunity. So whilst intention offers expansiveness and opportunity, you too have to remain open and curious to it. This is by far the hardest piece of the puzzle but perhaps the most rewarding because it releases you from the fear and doubt that judgment brings. It’s not good or bad- it just is.

There is a wonderful notion in Buddhism about the two arrows. The first arrow is referring to an action or event. The second arrow is alluding to our attitude or opinion towards it. Sometimes we can’t do anything about the first arrow but we can do something about the second. So whilst we can’t stop ourselves feeling pain we can limit our suffering by consciously choosing our response. When you set an intention, set it lightly and try not to have an opinion about what the first arrow does because the power of intention comes into play when the second arrow strikes. This is why there is no such thing as failure in the world of intentions, only playful curiosity, exciting potential and an unshakeable sense of purpose.

 

As many of you know, Viktor Frankl was an Austrian neurologist and psychiatrist who survived the Holocaust, staying in several different concentration camps including Auschwitz. He is an astonishing example of someone who harnessed the power of intention and chose to live with gratitude and purpose in spite of his dire circumstances. Intention gave him a freedom that the concentration camps could never take away from him. 

Living from intention each and everyday…

At 4D we often use an assertiveness tool called “can do.” The tool retrains the brain to focus on what you can do rather than what you can’t. Often when it comes to tasks and intentions the brain and body will default to the negative and to what’s not possible. For example, let’s say your intention is to ‘help others’ but you recently missed out on your dream job in the charity sector. How else might you live from your intention whilst you are applying for similar roles? It needn’t be a huge act of kindness. In fact I’d encourage you to think tiny because it needs to be compatible with the everyday. Perhaps its holding the door open for a stranger, or saying a few kind words to the exhausted waitress. Maybe you silently offer a homeless person a kind thought as you walk on by. Think of small, simple and powerful ways to live with intention, each and every day.

“By banishing doubt and trusting your intuitive feelings, you clear a space for the power of intention to flow through.”

 

-Wayne Dyer

When you live your life with intention, you give yourself the gift of meaning regardless of your external circumstances. Your life is in your hands, so make 2018 a year defined by endless possibility, potential and purpose.