Here’s an experiment to do. It was fun for me. Maybe you hate it.

Kill your dream.

Maybe not forever, but just for right now. There’s a good chance your dream is poisoning your food and tripping you when you’re not looking. Dreams are sneaky bastards that won’t be any fun if we blindly adopt them. Not that you shouldn’t ‘go for it’, it’s just that the ‘it’ is usually not IT.

I know this sounds dumb. Having a Dream is part of the American Religion. But so was having a house, going to college, and having sexuals with Angelina Jolie. Killing your dream will give you a second to actually look at it and decide if it’s for you. Are you chasing it just to chase something? Are you having fun chasing it? If you’re right on track then tallyho. Either way, I think anyone can benefit from killing their dream (or their perceived need to have one) for a minute at least.

People talk about chasing dreams. But I’d rather have a dream I can live. Human nature is to grow. When you achieve your dream of being on American Idol, then you’ll want to win, then you’ll want to punch Kelly Clarkson in the boob, then eventually you’ll get sick of all the paparazzi. What I’m saying, really, is that chasing dreams will almost always result in a life of chasing X and not knowing why you were chasing it.

It’s interesting how we all have the same dreams. I want to be famous or rich or powerful. We want to be a rock star, climb corporate ladders, be a star. Because of social pressures and other forces we’ve created a situation in which it seems everyone is going for the same thing. These dreams of fame and fortune – always skipping the work – may serve to inspire us for a limited amount of time but then they don’t. Then they turn on us and stab us in the back and retroactively destroy our childhoods and destroy our children’s childhoods. These colossals bring on regret and frustration and fear like no other.

Yoda kicks the Hulk’s ass any day

Other people take solace in never being able to achieve their goal, it’s a safe thing to have. It’s just a ready-made answer for the inevitable inquiry “What do you really want? What do you dream of doing?”. We are trained to think that the only way to true happiness is to attain something that we surely can’t.

These dreams are usually cries of “I need more attention!” or “I want all the things!” or “Why aren’t you doing everything I want you to!?”. They aren’t fantasies of doing anything – just fruits of some mystical labor. Default dreams are have some serious issues:

  • They’re crowded. Creativity is hard for people who are scared of it. So the standard dreams are the toughest chase and the most improbable to catch.
  • They often don’t sustain drive. If it doesn’t come from you then your drive to attain it is only as great as you belief in what they think you should do.
  • They’re too big. They should be big, they should be scary big. But not paralyzingly big or comfortingly big. If you aim too high you won’t shoot. Going smaller builds confidence so you can take those big shots later.

It’s better to, as Kevin Smith says, chase whimsies. In that way, you’ll understand where you’re at now. Each project or job or whatever isn’t a ‘step’ but a dream in itself. Sure, you may have that Master Dream that guides the whimsies, but it will be easier to stay satisfied on the way to your Thing.

A whimsy is essentially a micro dream that you can begin building now and see real progress. You know you can finish it but it’s going to be hard.

“I would write on the lintels of the doorpost, Whim. I hope it is somewhat better than whim at last, but we cannot spend the day in explanation.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Because you’re able to stay in the now – you can see whimsies forming before your eyes –  and not having to keep day dreaming about being in some magical perfect place in the future you are more able to see all the badassery taking place here and now. You notice that you’re building something that you like a lot. Maybe it looks like that dream you had, maybe not. Either way, it will be a more true representation of you and thus more fulfilling. Because you’re chasing whimsies you stop feeling like you’re chasing, grasping. Whimsies bring us the gift of constant forward motion – and that consistency snowballs quickly. When you have this massive ‘some day’ hanging over your head it’s hard to do anything but sit there paralyzed and maybe draw up the perfect plan. Maybe by the 100th draft you’ll say ‘fuck it’ and hold onto a whimsy.

A whimsy is the dream of Now. It respects life because it is honest action. Chasing whimsies means that we trust ourselves. We know that our soul is on course. We are heading where we need to and the urges we have will take us there. Denying ourself the fulfillment of these micro-dreams is denying our life.