Have you noticed the tone of my blogs? Do I sound upbeat most of the time? Well I’m not always. The point I want to make today is that negative things matter just as much as positive ones.
Do you have dreams?
Let’s talk about the dark side.
Negative Thoughts: Dreaming Darkly
Negative experiences ALSO form who we are.
I would never take away the negative experiences of my childhood: they made me into the strong person I am today.
So, what does dreaming darkly mean?
Let’s take my dream of having a beautiful, powerhouse of a self-development blog that helps people everyday as an example.
When I dream darkly, I think about it this way:
What will it be like to fail?
Will I be happy doing this even if I epically fail?
Failing could be having no traffic. Eventually I’d like to monetize the blog to provide for my family. True failure would be if no one finds value in my work. But in the end, if I find value in it , it would totally be worth it. This could be my legacy of thoughts, too, and that is a neat idea.
Doing this will make my days long. Am I willing to put up with that? Is the reason strong enough?
I think I’ve had unique experiences that can help others. I always wanted to be a teacher so I’ve been storing up lessons in my heart. I think this is strong enough: it’s a core component of who I want to be!
This will take time from my family, will it be worth the sacrifice?
This is following my heart: I think my wife will agree, but I made sure to discuss it first. Moderation is key – I won’t write blog posts at the exclusion of family time. Blogging will come after taking care of family 🙂
What are the things I don’t like about this goal? Can I put up with them?
I’m not super good at making things, so I’ll have to figure out the design. There’s quite a bit of set up to do, too. Overall, though, not too many negatives for me. I think I can handle learning a little graphic manipulation.
Will this bring me closer or further away from the kind of lifestyle I want?
This is a key step in bringing me closer. I intend to publish a book eventually and this is a good step in ramping up my writing. I need to be wary of myself, however. I’ll want to work on this all the time, so I need to remember to step back, moderate, and give myself a rest now and then.
When I’m dead tired, will this still be appealing to me?
To a degree. I don’t want to kill myself with tiredness, but writing really appeals to me. I get into my flow when I’m in the middle of writing down a good idea, so returning to that is incredibly encouraging.
If this is such an important goal, why haven’t I started yet?
Priorities. I had to finish my data science master’s degree and then figure out HOW to do data science after I finished it. Then, I took a break. Now, I’m ready for a new challenge.
To be holistic, I’ll share how I think about a dream positively, too 🙂
Does this goal give you energy?
Yes! Thinking about articles is really energizing for me. This gives me daily motivation to move forward and keep writing quality content!
Does it make you smile thinking of it?
Yassss! I smile thinking of having 1000 articles all filled with really high quality writing. Hehe, someday I’d like to fully fund the expenses of the website and maybe take a vacation if I can start earning money from it.
Could you be happy doing this?
Honestly, at fifteen articles, I’ve been very humbled. I’ve had multiple messages from people I know and don’t telling me how helpful the blog has been to them. In my mind, I’ve already achieved success.
Does this goal move you toward who you want to be?
I love the idea of this because it gives me a forum to show how human I am: yep, I’ve had successes, but I’ve also had tons of failure. I look forward to continue to learn and share learning with people.
What is your favorite part of this?
Getting back to writing. My bachelor’s degree is in English, but I honestly haven’t used it much in the last 10 years.
Why This Matters
By asking hard questions, it better prepares me for the days ahead before I achieve my goal. I am much more likely to succeed if, when I get tired, I’ve already thought: I really want to write out lessons I’ve learned into a blog. Even if I’m tired, I need to remember the thoughts could help someone have an epiphany and THAT is worth all the work.
When I’m really tired I’m probably not going to have the willpower to think that up on the fly. We know that willpower is limited.
I’ve found that if I deeply know the reasons I am doing something, it is much more likely I won’t get discouraged and give up.
Writing helps reinforce this for me. I’m pretty visual, too, so for really important things I like to make signs to remind me. I love canva.com for this, btw. It makes pretty things really easy 🙂
If this is a really serious life decision, negative questions help, too.
By being familiar with the downsides, you will really be prepared to face that decision you make. I used this process when trying to figure out where to work when my company was going bankrupt, for example.
Think about how you would deal with a diet? Would you keep chocolate bars stocked in your pantry if you are trying to lose 20 pounds?
Plan for your mental victory the same way: think about the negative thoughts ahead of time. Decide your thoughts about them and write them down!
When you are tired or exhausted or feel doubt raining down, leverage your awesome smart self and READ WHAT YOU WROTE DOWN!
It will raise your success rate and give you confidence in your decision. It will show you how much grit you truly have, too.