Do This Exercise To Uncover Your Dreams

Do you know what you want from life? Here’s an exercise to uncover your dreams.

What do you want?

It’s a simple question. It’s also really difficult to answer, especially when you frame it in terms of your entire life.

You might not know the answer. You probably haven’t taken much time to think about it.  Why not focus on what you want to create with the precious time you have on this planet. Here’s where to start.

In this video, The 3 Most Important Questions to Ask Yourself , Vishen Lakhiani, the founder and CEO of Mindvalley, asks us to address 3 simple questions about our life:

  1. What experiences do I want to have and create in my life?
  2. What ways do I want to grow, learn, and express myself?
  3. How do I want to contribute to the world?

If you watch the video, he suggests taking out a timer and setting it for 2min. Answer the questions quickly, without filtering any responses. The idea is to get it all on paper and see what comes up.

So what did my list look like?

I will share it with you in a minute (or cheaters can just scroll down to the bottom the page).

First, a little background on how answering these questions will help you design a life worth living. Here’s what you need to know about big, guiding questions.

Why you need to write you ask yourself these questions:

  • If you want something to happen, put it down on paper. Writing things down makes them concrete and explicit. It moves vague thoughts into a more concrete realm. As creative beings, we are always transforming nearly limitless potential (e.g. anything we can imagine) through degrees of probably (e.g. how likely such things are to occur) into specific actions. Going from thoughts to writing, moves things along that continuum, increasing the likelihood they will occur.
    • Note that writing things down is more important than just putting them into words. Utterances, although powerful, are ephemeral. What did you just say 10 minutes ago? Exactly. Writing has staying power and can act as a continual reminder of where you want to invest yourself.
  • Exploring dreams and mapping out your big vision act as an anchor for your energy. Visions and goals create a sense of direction for how we spend our days. If we have no goal, we’re likely to do what we did yesterday. The past repeats itself. Taking time to think about what we really what out of life helps us stretch our status quo. Perhaps the trickiest part is being bold enough in our dreams. Don’t play small.
  • Vision statements create structure that can keep us motivated to grow into our best selves. Answering these questions makes us think about how we can become better. What will stretch us and make us grow into our best selves. Writing it down in concrete terms creates a sense of momentum. It reminds us who we want to become and reinforces that it possible to get there.

Why these questions alone won’t change your life—The pitfalls to pay attention to:

Now that you’ve written down what you want to experience, grow, and contribute, now what? How do you make it happen? What’s the follow through? How will you know if you’ve made any progress? Enter: Baby Steps.

  • Goals that go from A to Z without mentioning B, C, or D… are likely to fail or fall apart. Small baby steps i.e. concrete, specific actions are absolutely necessary to get you from where you are to where you want to be. Breakdown big visions into small chunks. Always ask, what is one thing I can do today, right now to get me a step closer to what I want? Start there.
  • Visions that don’t account for obstacles and challenges that will arise usually amount to wishful thinking. The path to achieving these dreams won’t be straightforward. Things will get in your way. People may get in your way. Most importantly, you may get in your way. You must be able to see yourself clearly enough and anticipate where you will hold yourself back and where you might need extra support. What is likely to stand in the way between you and your vision? How confident are you that you can close this gap and realize your vision?
  • Visions must be authentic and express what you truly want. Stop chasing a vision of life that has been handed you by someone else. This is why I like approaching it from the 3 questions stated in the video because it gets at the heart of the types of experiences you want and the personal ways you would like to grow. It helps avoid the pitfalls of falsely assuming external, socially accepted goals as your own.  As Oscar Wilde famously said, “Be Yourself, everyone else is already taken.”
  • Visions that really motivate at a deep level are about more than just what you want but what you can give of yourself. Again, this is why I like answering the question “What do you want to contribute?” into your vision statement. What good will come from following through on your vision? After all, the work we do to better ourselves is never complete if we don’t use our knowledge, energy and resources for the greater good. How can you doing you be of service to others?
  • Vision statements must be revised and updated. Dreams and goals are best when they’re not static, but are living aspirations that require fine-tuning and adjustments. Think about revisions à re-visions à renewing your vision to be more real, juicy and alive for you based upon who you are as you grow. Revisit your big picture goals ever few months and make sure they still resonate with you.

So, finally, what were my responses to the 3 big questions?

Jeffrey Siegel 3 Question Exercise – April, 2016

1. What experiences do I want to have/get out of life?

  • Want to talk in front of groups of people and feel like I’m making a difference in the their lives.
  • Want to feel completely serene and whole, just the way I am
  • Want to feel awe and amazement
    • Want to marvel at nature’s beauty
    • Travel to beautiful places
    • Behold masterpieces
  • Want to leave a trail of smiles/delight/insight/warm feelings of love wherever I go
    • Random act of kindness
    • Intentional love and presence
    • A shoulder to lean on
    • A beacon of strength
  • Want to feel connected to something bigger than myself
    • Seeking truth
    • Universes/non-dual/Brahma/god-head
    • Be part of community
  • Want to feel strong, limber, flexible and energized
    • Working out, moving, lifting, exercising, playing
    • Challenge myself to race, preform, compete
  • Want to work with others to accomplish something I could not have done on my own
    • What projects will arise?
  • Want to perform on stage and feel super alive
    • Dance – So You Think You Can Dance?
  • Want to feel confident in my support network
    •  “I’m not in this alone” – people are there for me)
      • People I know are there for me: Family, Friends & Claire
  • Want to feel deep connection
    • Love & intimate relationship
    • Unspoken energetic bond
    • Trust  
  • Want to share this journey—the good, the bad, the ugly—with those I love
  • Want to age gracefully
  • Want to experience things that my feeble mind cannot imagine (e.g. mind-blown, skull-flapping in the wind, completely unreal)

2. What ways do I want to grow/express my creativity?

  • Develop curriculum/lessons/workshops for personal growth, nutrition, spirituality, introspection, exercise, etc.
  • Teach/Facilitate/Lead courses, seminars, classes
  • Cultivate a garden
  • Build, design and decorate a home
  • Become a better surfer
  • Connect with and people from other countries and learn about how they live their lives
    • Travel and talk, host, homestay
  • Deepen my spiritual practice
    • Go on retreats
    • Find a mentor, guru
  • Become more humorous
    • Stand-up class?
    • Improv?
  • Take care of my health and fitness (obviously)
    • Grow my movement intelligence and bodily grace
      • Dance, B-boy, caperoria, martial arts, gymnastics
  • Grow my business by reaching more people, earning more money
  • Having my world torn apart only to have it be rebuilt more beautiful than I can imagine (I don’t necessarily want this, but feel like it might just happen.)

Ways I want to contribute to the world?

  • Build a magical yoga farm/fitness/wellness/spiritual healing retreat center?
    • A physical space that promotes peace, health, wholeness, and evolution
  • Help my family and friends become healthier and happier
  • I want to contribute my heart
  • Teach others how to take care of themselves so they don’t have to make the same mistakes I’ve made
  • A new perspective that rejects stale paradigms and old thinking
  • Create a system/support network for ongoing personal development
  • Teach school kids about nutrition, exercise and self-compassion
    • Design a curriculum? A class?
  • Start a non-profit?
  • Become a school dean of holistic health? 
  • Make my home beautiful, green, peaceful and welcoming to everyone as place of refuge
  • Role-model the type of person I want to become in all my interactions
    • BigBrother program

A few questions that came up as I was writing:

  • How do I live up to the self-proclaimed title “Wellness Warrior”?
    • How can I defend the health of friends, family, neighborhood, children, elderly, the nation, the ecosystem, the world?
    • What makes me a “warrior”? How am I protecting the Truth? How can I be fearless?
  • What do I want my Legacy to be? Does it even matter? Do I even matter?

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