What Is Crowding Out Your Dreams?

A few years ago, I took up cross-stitching as a way to de-stress during a particularly hectic period in my professional life.  The goal was not to design impeccable artwork.  It was simply to create something unrelated to my professional work.  My skill gradually improved, and before long, I was comfortable enough to frame some pieces to display on my walls, and even give away to friends and family.  I was encouraged by the praise I received for my effort.  Above all, though, I increasingly used my cross-stitching time for meditation and tap into the rejuvenation it brought.

This brings me to the purpose of this article.

I recently returned to my earlier designs, and came across one on this caption:

DON’T LET WEEDS GROW AROUND YOUR DREAMS

Weeds are tenacious, unwanted plants.  I think “weed” is a good euphemism for anything that detracts.

I recall why that caption appealed to me as the basis of a cross-stitching project.  At the time, there were so many things trying to derail my personal and professional dreams.  I needed a reminder, something to keep me on track.  The caption was just the thing!

Weeds come in various forms; some we knowingly invite into our lives, other weeds are thrust on us.  I’m sure you know them.  Here a few that I’m personally familiar with:

  • Inertia, a.k.a. rut, a situation when we begin to equate/accept what’s familiar as the limit of our capabilities.  We conveniently explain our position as our comfort zone.  However, settling into inertia deprives us of growth that new learning creates.
  • Naysayers, a.k.a. people who say they mean well.  These days, if you’re starting a new venture or expanding an existing one, you probably notice that there’s an abundance of advice from “experts” and acquaintances.  Sometimes, there can be too much of a good thing and sorting through all that counsel is time-consuming.  Regardless of how you process advice, it is important to stay clear of naysayers.  They may mean well, but on balance, they dampen enthusiasm by excessive focus on the negative.  Keep those people at a comfortable distance.
  • Experimentation is a type of weed, which we sometimes justify as “testing the waters”.  In reality, experimentation may mean the lack of a clear focus, undefined objectives, and fuzzy expectations.  This results in a lot of activity, but little measurable outcome.  The lack of progress translates into weeds – devalued dreams.  Better to commit to one well-laid plan than pursue several trails that lead nowhere.
  • Planning for perfection is a type of weed, which we sometimes explain as “paying attention to detail”.  There’s nothing wrong with being careful, but setting perfection as a standard is generally unrealistic.  The fact is, for most purposes, perfection is either overrated or unattainable.  Perfectionism may fuel the kind of self-doubt and second-guessing that prevents us from taking initiatives.  Planning for perfection may stop us from starting a new adventure or learning from experience — the death of dreams.
  • Failure to adapt, which we sometimes justify as “being true to our convictions”.  Don’t get me wrong.  There’s strength in convictions.  However, in today’s business and social environments, adaptability is strength.  New technologies and social networking media compel us to interact in ways that were unheard of even a few years ago.  Today, we must selectively adapt if we’re to realize the full potential of our dreams.  Failure to adapt will result in weeds –- isolation that chokes out creative energy.

Weeds are inevitable.  Above are just a few of the things that can potentially derail our plans and devalue our dreams.  However, we do have the ability to disallow their intrusion.  Regardless of how they get to us, we don’t have to embrace them.

We can take control of what or who influences our dreams.  Inertia, negative inputs, lack of focus, perfectionism, and failure to adapt constitute the kinds of weeds that crush dreams.  We owe it to ourselves to prevent them from depriving us of our aspirations.

© Copyright Rachel Agheyisi and Report Content Writer’s Blog, 2009.

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