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7 steps from ‘I wish I had’ to ‘I’m glad I did’

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“If you don’t build your dream then someone will hire you to help build theirs” – Tony Gaskins

We live in a world where the ‘job for life’ no longer exists and where people in employment today may well have to change careers several times in their working lives. Thanks to the Internet jobs like travel agent, postal worker and retail cashier, amongst others, are fast approaching their sell-by date.

At the same time, as people live longer and have more leisure time then there is a need for more entrepreneurial thinking in life outside of the workplace. This blog is about how to successfully release that creative spirit in all walks of our life.

Now if anyone reading this expects a Harvard Business Course in 7 steps then they will be disappointed. There are plenty of gurus out there who will give you chapter and verse about running a business.

This is much more about galvanising those latent entrepreneurs, whether they want to run a business, a charity or a social activity. Too often I hear people say ‘I wish’ when they should be saying ‘I will’. So here goes with my seven steps to dream fulfillment.


1. Unlock your inner artist

“Every child is an artist. The problem is staying an artist as you grow up” – Pablo Picasso

To me, one of the failures of the Industrial Revolution was the creation of a conveyor-belt education system that relies on conformity and unwittingly removes our belief in the importance and our ability to create. The pursuit of academic qualifications has made us believe that creativity is not important.

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I recently worked with a lady that made her own clothes but who always used a pattern because school told her she couldn’t draw. By downloading some outline manikins from the Internet she found she could draw and she now designs the clothes that she makes.


2. It is never too late

“You are never too old to set another goal or dream another dream.” – C S Lewis

Too many people go through life assuming that they have to follow the rules. They believe that a ‘proper’ job is the way to social acceptance and that doing something different is considered slightly weird. Too many people are doing what they think they ought to do rather than what they want to do.

So before you can have dream fulfillment you need to have a dream. It may sound obvious, but in today’s activity overcrowded world we often don’t take time to just dream about how we would like our lives to be.


3. Problem or Opportunity?

“All problems are opportunities in disguise” – M V Harsen

Before people can have a creative idea they need to find a problem that needs fixing. In practice these opportunities come up almost daily, so how do you miss them? You miss them because your natural instinct is to moan about it rather than seeing the opportunity.

How often have you said to yourself, ‘why didn’t they do this or that’ instead of saying ‘I think I could do this or that’? If you don’t like the activities available in your area, why don’t you start one that you do like instead of complaining?


4. Free up your mind for creativity

“Make an empty space in any corner of your mind, and creativity will instantly fill it.” – Dee Hock

Whether in your work life or your social life, problems take time to fix. That means you need to give yourself time, space and peaceful surroundings to create and develop a solution to the problem.

Creativity cannot be carried out with earphones blasting out music, chats on smartphones or while paging through spam emails and Facebook. You need to create significant amounts of silent space where you can sit and think. Further down the line you may need to check out your idea by that old fashioned method of actually talking to someone face-to-face!


5. Don’t make assumptions

“One should never assume anything” – Dick Francis

All to often I have heard people say things like ‘I bet someone else is already doing it’. Don’t assume that to be the case. If no one was working hard to find a vaccine against Ebola, what chance is there that someone is round the corner dreaming up a new social activity that you really want to partake in?

Most innovations are incremental advances on existing products. Given that chopsticks have been around for centuries, you would have expected someone to take until the 21st Century to come up with the Chork to save the embarrassment of admitting you can’t use chopsticks!!


6. Believe in yourself

“Whether you think you can or think you can’t, you are right” – Henry Ford

Even when people come up with a good idea, all too often they fail to go forward with it because their educational conditioning leads them to think that all entrepreneurs are young, IT literate, went to university and ideally dropped out!

When Trevor Baylis created the clockwork radio he was none of these things. Trevor had a dream to bring health information to the outlying areas of Africa and he had a fix that he believed in with the clockwork radio.


7. Don’t be afraid of failure

“Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, but this time more wisely” – Henry Ford

Finally, in order to take that final step to dream fulfillment you have to come to terms with the fact that what you do may not always work. That does not mean you are a failure. It just means that it didn’t work this time.

Edison took 10,000 attempts before he succeeded with the light bulb, and his concrete piano design never did become popular!

As a final thought, remember the bumblebee. According to aerodynamics he is too fat, too heavy, the wrong shape, with wings that are too small and that flap too slowly, and yet he flies. Why? Because he believed that he could!

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