Dream on

ALICE'S ADVENTURES IN WONDERLANDSo here we are then, a brand spanking-new year, three hundred and sixty five days (or thereabouts) to make all our dreams come true. Just like we did last year…

It being January, it’s customary for everyone to either dutifully make plans and resolutions for a better, brighter future, or adopt the role of the rebel / iconoclast / misanthrope and say, ‘To hell with that! Pass the tequila!’

Tread softly because you tread on my dreams, wrote William Butler Yeats. Sage advice, one should always beware of treading on dreams, especially the ones featuring cacti or hedgehogs. I personally always wear dream slippers, just in case. They are extremely fluffy, like clouds. In fact I think they are clouds, which probably explains the floating and the mysterious indoor downpours.

The phrase may all your dreams come true might conjure up rather disturbing pictures – who’d want to live in the visions of Salvador Dali or Hieronymus Bosch? There are plenty of dreams I’d prefer not to see happen, especially that one with the giant space-eels nesting in my sock drawer and keeping me awake all night with renditions of old eighties pop hits. I mean we all love Duran Duran and Soft Cell, but there’s a time and a place for Rio and Tainted Love.

According to some, the secret of making your dreams come true is all about utilising something called the Law of Attraction. This pile of hokum perfectly proves the dictum There’s a sucker born every minute. Of course it worked for the author of that book, because that’s how these things generally work – promise folks something amazing but nebulous and if it fails to materialise, you can always say, you weren’t doing it right / trying hard enough.

The reason why such notions remain popular is simply down to the tendency for us to want easy solutions and shortcuts. Why slave over a project for years with no guarantees of success, when you can use this magic principle / amulet / charm made from unicorn poop to bring you instant fame and fortune? Only twenty quid! Or get two for thirty!

There are certainly ways to increase your chances of seeing your more down-to-Earth dreams fulfilled. The psychologist and amateur magician Richard Wiseman has looked at the factors that tend to separate the ‘lucky’ people from the rest. It’s not good news if, like me, you tend towards the introverted end of the sociability scale.

Lucky people it seems tend to be more extrovert and open. They also tend to be less neurotic. It makes sense, if you meet lots of people and are relaxed, friendly and sociable, your chances of ‘lucky’ encounters and events occurring are greater. No magic, simply a question of opportunities and connections.

Our mindset can make a big difference too. A mishap, setback or catastrophe can be an impossible hurdle for some, while others turn it into a chance for growth and even success. Silver linings are surprisingly common, when you start to look for them. It’s often the thinking style we’ve adopted that makes the difference and there is some evidence that it can be modified, once we are aware of it.

There usually comes a point in life when most of us have to give up on some of our dreams and face reality. I know it’s unlikely I’ll be joining astronaut school or winning an Oscar / Nobel peace prize anytime soon. I’m still hopeful about the Mr Universe title though and I’m sure the good people of Time magazine will be calling soon re the cover shoot.

It’s nice to have dreams, but we have to accept our limitations. So dream big, but try to keep it real people. Now, where’s that bottle of tequila?

Copyright J.Lennick 2016 All rights reserved.
Illustration from Alice in Wonderland by John Tenniel

33 thoughts on “Dream on

  1. Being able to get past a setback or failure is essential for success. Not everything we do can be a win. But as you say, we also have to be realistic about our dreams. We need to find the ones that are practical and go for it. Nice post.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Interesting combo; part C.S. Lewis surrealism, part down to Earth, practical advice.

    I’ve not read ‘Law of Attraction’, but the title suggests it might me similar to your extrovert point? If you have a personality others find attractive, you’re more likely to come across opportunities?

    For us introverts, I’ve read that many revolutionary ideas have come from less sociable people, as they spend more time thinking, and are also able to think more independently. So, maybe one of the Nobel Prizes is still a possibility?

    Liked by 1 person

    • The Law of attraction idea is cobblers, it’s all about positive vibes, man. Karma and all that. If you wish for it hard enough, it will happen. It suggests bad things happen because you were not thinking positive thoughts hard enough…

      There is a TED talk and book I think on the subject of ‘the power of introverts.’

      I’m not totally giving up on the Nobel prize yet, I’m just hoping they’ll introduce a new category for mildly interesting / occasionally amusing blogs.


  3. I think you’re being a bit hard on the Law of Attraction, Jason. Just the other day, I was outside on the street thinking positively about what I really wanted. Sure enough, three number 38’s arrived at the stop at the same time.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I get this and can relate to so much of it. Whilst I wouldn’t say I am full on introvert I do think I am more introvert than extrovert, maybe 70/30, even 75/25 ratio. I’ve read, or rather started to read the self help books (that cover a number of things) but I quickly tire of them, it all seems like “fluff” that is not really tangible (least to me it isn’t).

    As for my dreams I think mine are pretty do able, apart from retiring at 50 because that is only a few months away. I only lack knowledge (oh ok and funding) but here is the kicker, I don’t know where to acquire that knowledge from so the idea twirls around in my head and the excitement of the idea ebbs and flows, but because I don’t know where/who/what to ask.

    But I will hope  that is the get out clause to pursue the dream this year, and my dream is opening my own bar, so you can get your Tequila there 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m probably a similar ratio to you. I like people, for the most part, but prefer them in smallish doses.

      There are scores of self-help titles and many are indeed rather ‘fluffy.’ I’ve managed to find a few that are useful, like the one I mentioned from the ‘School of Life’ series.

      I think your dream is eminently do-able. I’m sure you can find the info you need, give the data-rich times in which we live. Maybe just asking some Bar owners if you could chat about their experience during a very quiet period would probably be the most direct approach.


  5. I know what you mean about the ambivalence of dreams, mine are usually nightmares or at least very unpleasant, not once did I dream I was flying. Unfair really.
    However, after all these years I still work very hard on turning my DREAMS (as in heart’s desires) into REALITY, corny but I’m making progress.
    I love Yeats words, will remember them and just ordered myself a pair of your slippers!
    have a joyful new year Jason and may ALL YOUR HEART’S DESIRES COME TRUE!!!

    Liked by 1 person

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