4 Tactics of a Dream Thief
Our dreams give us things to look forward to in life. Big or small, working toward them, provides us with the will to get out of bed in the morning, to have a great attitude and aspire to reach whatever it is we want.
Some dreams are easy to discuss. But it seems the ones that matter most to us are the ones we hold deepest in our hearts, and those we might or might not discuss with others. Largely, how open we are about our dreams depends on the reception we get from others to them. If we are met with support, we’re more inclined to talk about them. If not, we tend to keep them under our hats and just silently work toward them.
When I first started writing, I didn’t know another writer. I had no support. I dreamed and dreamed, but no one knew it. The first time I called myself a writer (to another writer), I was told I had no right to refer to myself that way. A writer needed to write a million words before s/he had earned the right. Needless to say, I didn’t discuss my dream of being a writer with that individual again. Another from whom I expected support bluntly told me I wasn’t qualified and wouldn’t be a real writer until I sold a book.
I kept my dreams to myself. Got qualified and wrote books until I sold one. Then I figured out something significant: Selling is about selling what you write.Writing is about writing. A writer writes. S/he might never sell, might never try to sell, but s/he writes. Important lesson.
These weren’t vicious or cruel people, and they intended no harm. But dreams are delicate, fragile things. And in both cases, these individuals could have been dream thieves. Fortunately, I’m stubborn and hardheaded—the kind among us call it persistent and determined—and when I want something, I go for it. No matter how long takes, or how much work is involved, I’m going to do it. Admittedly, part of the reason is I hate being told I can’t do something I really want to do. I really wanted to write. So I did.
These two individuals were being protective and practical. But dreamers need their dreams. They need to be visionary and to dare to take risks and leaps of faith. They need fields of daisies to run through, and rainbows and pipedreams to chase, and to envision the impossible as not only possible but attainable. Dreamers need to tell themselves (and really mean it) “With or without anyone else” and go for their dreams.
Being silent about your dreams might seem like a self-protective measure. That’s because it is. But if when open all you meet with are reasons you can’t reach your dreams, you need to refuse to take those meetings. Remember, no one came into this world as an expert at anything. Everyone started where they were and moved toward their dreams. Most moved with little more than interest or a desire and they worked hard on hope and a prayer.
The last thing someone aspiring to reach a dream needs is to be bombarded with negativity. Dreamers all hear no a lot more than yes, especially early on. At times, it takes all they have to just keep going and not give up. But it is always up to the Dreamers whether or not to allow those who should be supportive become dream thieves.
The Dreamer chooses how much weight to give others’ opinions, and how much power over the Dreamer’s dreams to give others. Remember, even those who know you best don’t know you as well as you know yourself. They can’t see your “big picture” as well as you do. They can’t feel the drive to fulfill your purpose that you feel. They’ve got their hands full trying to deal with their own.
Negativity doesn’t work alone. Other dream thief wannabes tackle us, too. Busy-ness is a frontrunner. We stay so busy we’re too weary to dream at all. Or to put any muscle into our dreams. It’s up to us to cull the clutter and make room for our dreams.
If you can get up a little earlier, or stay up a little later to have a designated dream time, great. But remember that sleep-depravation isn’t conducive to dreaming. Volunteering for everything that comes along isn’t, either. Some of the best advice I was ever given: “No is a complete sentence.” It’s also most fair to the person who asks and to yourself. If you can’t fully invest, leave the task to someone who can. Then the project and your own dreams get more of what both need. Focus and attention. TLC.
We know there are many good causes, worthy investments, but we must remind ourselves—sometimes often—that we can only do what we can do. While we can all do something, we can’t be all and fix all for all. We’re human.
Diversion is a dream thief. We’ll be rolling along on plans or preparation or doing something constructive working toward our dream and along comes some shiny object and snatches our attention. Social media, for many, is great at this. We say, “I’ll just check notifications real quick,” and the next thing we know, two hours have passed, and our dream time has been eaten away.)
If this happens a couple times, Dreamers lose momentum. It becomes easier and easier to be diverted. That’s bad for dreams and for dreamers. So guard your dream time. If you don’t, who will? And if you don’t, who suffers?
Whether or not you feel resentful at the moment, there will come a time when you do. But you’ll also have to take the hit for letting it happen. Remember, if you condone it—(the diversion)—then you own it—(the theft of your dream time).
The fourth big dream thief often encountered is fear. Fear of failure, fear of success, fear of feeling foolish, of disappointing others or ourselves. Before you minimize the strength and power of these fears, pause and examine your own life for them.
No one who has a dream wants to fail. Fearing failure can hamstring us. When the fear of failure, or of success, becomes so weighty and important that it keeps us from trying or taking reasonable risks that are essential to success either can be debilitating.
An example. A writer friend wrote and sold books consistently for $30,000. She dreamed of writing a different kind of book. Risky business, but she went for it. She sacrificed free time between her contracted books and wrote her dream book. But then she was terrified to submit it. She feared the book that meant the most to her would be judged and found lacking.
Finally, she submitted it—and received a two-book offer. The first book was for $50,000. That elated her. But the second book was for $100,000. That intimidated her. She wasn’t sure how to write a $100,000 book. It was as difficult for her to work beyond that fear of success as it had been to work beyond the fear of failure. (She did it, by the way, but not without effort!)
Whether it’s fear of failure or success, or diversion, or busy-ness or negativity, the dream thief lurks, waiting for an opening to pounce on us and steal our dreams. The thing is, that thief can only steal what we permit to be stolen.
So long as we dare to dream, dare to work toward our dreams, and we’re willing to fail our way to them, we need not fear the dream thief. Tactics are strong, but they are no match to a dreamer’s relentless pursuit. Confronted by courage and determination, the thief’s tactics fail every time.
Final score? Dreamer 1. Dream Thief 0.
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© 2017, Vicki Hinze. Vicki Hinze is the award-winning bestselling author of nearly thirty novels in a variety of genres including, suspense, mystery, thriller, and romantic or faith-affirming thrillers. Her latest release is The Marked Star. She holds a MFA in Creative Writing and a Ph.D. in Philosophy, Theocentric Business and Ethics. Hinze’s website: www.vickihinze.com. Facebook. Books. Twitter. Contact. KNOW IT FIRST! Subscribe to Vicki’s Monthly Newsletter!