Why I’m Forging my Own Path to Success 🔨
It’s not just acting with intention. It’s acting with intention on steroids after a bunch of mushrooms, unleashing my creativity, passions, purposes and wishes onto the canvas of my life to do what I can to shape it towards my dreams.
I’ve made it this far without a Dream Map. What went wrong? Or what didn’t go right-enough?
I’ve written previously about how I have a pretty good life, but aspire towards something greater. And, that’s despite living my life without the details of my Dream Map sorted. Anyone who’s been alive can tell you that without a map you can still get somewhere. If you have no expectations then maybe that’s fine, but if you have expectations, as I do, it’s a rather risky proposition to roll the dice and try to get somewhere without first thinking through how to get there. It’s like searching for your favorite restaurant by going to a bunch of restaurants without first referring to Yelp… but WAY more consequential. So at this crossroads in my life I’m at a point somewhere on my life globe (if I’m drawing my Dream Map, I suppose that means my life’s a globe 🤷♂️). My globe, like Earth, has peaks and valleys and as I traverse my way around it, I’ve come across a mix of both. If I take a snapshot of where I am today I would describe it as pretty good. I’m happy that I’m here now, but if I’m still here📍 in 50 years then in my eyes I’ve done something wrong. I haven’t staked my claim on this somewhere where I find myself today. It’s not a hill for me to grow and to die on and I didn’t take one giant leap to get here.
My point being that without a Dream Map I’ve just stumbled my way onto a place. This place isn’t my dream. I don’t need Morpheus to tell me that.
So what’s the point of drawing my Dream Map? Why am I doing it now?
Zooming wayyy out, when we come into the world and walk through our earlier years we’re often guided. Whether our guide is societal convention or something different is irrelevant. There comes a point where we develop our own agency. I think of it in terms of Paul Atreides in Dune. Early in life we’re trained for something, molded into a better version of ourselves and at some point we realize that we’re being trained.
It’s at that point when we have the decision to continue on and to carry the torch from there, or to choose a different path. I consider this time in my life in the here and now an inflection point. I want to take the reigns of my life and proactively increase the chance of leading a successful life. A life that’s successful according to my definition of the term.
Or, to think about it in terms of Uncle Iroh from Avatar: The Last Airbender…
” Life happens wherever you are, whether you make it or not.”– Uncle Iroh, Avatar: The Last Airbender
What have I considered before, prior to the Dream Map? Why am I doing this and not that?
You’re probably wondering why I’m going to all the trouble of building out a whole life map 🧐. It’s because I want to know with specificity that the things I do in my day to day influence me towards my ultimate destination. It’s possible that going through life as I am now, armed with intention and a whole lot of piss and vinegar that I could arrive at my dreams. People win the lottery every day. But what control do they have over that outcome? I’d venture that there are others like me that are living life, dissatisfied with the progress they’ve made, mired in the muck of discouragement, distraction or general lack of awareness. They’re probably on one of the common paths that society outlines for us as well. To break it down with an extremely broad brush I’d venture that quite a few people fall into one of these categories:
- 📁 They’re doing what they’ve always done and wondering why they’re not getting any closer to their dreams (i.e. on autopilot)
- 📁 Or perhaps they’re doing what their parents did before them…and wondering why they’re not getting different results. The same inputs as our parents today leads to the same or worse results. (Way more people go to college these days than a generation before, for example.)
- 📁Or they’re on a pre-determined track that society has outlined. (The overlap between this and the previous examples is non-zero). This path increase the chance of success, according to a specific definition that society has outlined. Whether it’s your definition of success is a matter of preference.
What I don’t like about these buckets is that they suggest lack of agency. There’s a pseudo-agency sure, but it limits me to certain bounds. When I read that and find myself lumped into those buckets, it doesn’t make me feel good. It makes me question what I’m really doing here. And so we’ve stumbled onto another reason I’m taking control and drawing my own Dream Map, to increase my agency over my life. It’s not just acting with intention. It’s acting with intention on steroids after a bunch of mushrooms, unleashing my creativity, passions, purposes and wishes onto the canvas of my life to do what I can to shape it towards my dreams. To shape it towards what today seems impossibly far away.
Disney said, “it’s kind of fun to do the impossible.” I think the impossible sounds like a fun challenge to tackle, and the stakes couldn’t be higher 🔰.
This is part of my Drawing My Dream Map series. For more, follow along here as I work towards my dreams publicly and in real-time.