I dreamed a dream
I was watching the new Hollywood version of Les Miserables recently. When Anne Hathaway appeared on the screen, singing I Dreamed a Dream, somehow I began thinking about my job, my clients, and our understanding of productivity (yes, I am that weird and lucky at the same time). Let me share with you three extracts from the lyrics that inspired this article.
I dreamed a dream in time gone by
When hope was high
And life worth living
I dreamed that love would never die
I dreamed that God would be forgiving
Then I was young and unafraid
And dreams were made and used and wasted
There was no ransom to be paid
No song unsung
No wine untasted
If you stop for a moment and read those lines, you will discover that is exactly how some people believe productivity is going to help them. Hope was high and life worth living… These people, most likely turned to productivity tools and systems with the hope that no song would be unsung and no wine untasted. Sadly, the song continues, saying:
But the tigers come at night
With their voices soft as thunder
As they tear your hope apart
And they turn your dream to shame
Killing the dream
The dreams and hopes of productivity can be forgotten after some people find out that, despite using productivity systems, they are still overwhelmed and behind. These people are determined to carry on regardless, so they continue reading productivity material and making the effort. And the song continues…
And still I dream he’ll come to me
That we will live the years together
But there are dreams that cannot be
And there are storms we cannot weather
I had a dream my life would be
So different from this hell I’m living
So different now from what it seemed
Now life has killed the dream I dreamed
If you are still reading, don’t get depressed. You may be in a difficult position. Perhaps you can identify with that last line? I did some time in the past.
Is there hope? The answer is YES!
Many of us believe that life has killed our dream, and we forget about it. In many cases, however, we ourselves are mostly to blame. We simply forget the dream we dreamed. I used to feel as though life was lurking around each corner, just waiting to kill my dreams. It took me years to understand that it is not life killing the dream, but more likely that I let life distract me from that dream!
I can provide you an example from my own experience. I have known that I wanted to be a writer since I was 14 years old. I wrote my first novel at the age of 18. Then, at 19, I allowed life to convince me that I should kill the dream. I revived the dream years later and let life convince me to kill it again. Finally in 2011, without as much drama as the famous musical, I decided to stop succumbing to the distractions of life and pay more attention to how the life I was living was different from the one I was dreaming of. I started to plan, quit my job, and changed many things in my life. Today, I have two novels published in English, four books on productivity released in English, four productivity books in Spanish, and, among other fun projects, I did a TEDx talk. One of my books is even used at a university as required reading. How cool is that!
What else to do
The reality is that you can plan to have back the dream you dreamed. Life still comes after me and tries to make me forget the dream, but I have learned to revise what my dream is regularly. I have a note on my phone with the detailed description of what my dream is and what it entails. I have also pinpointed the details that I identify as I get closer and closer to it.
Where is the productivity in all this?
You might ask what all these ideas have to do with productivity. When I first entered the productivity arena, it was because I believed it could help me get closer to my dreams.
I stayed because I learned that I was lucky enough to be able to teach people how to get closer to their dreams and how to make life spare the dream you have dreamed!
Photo: Flickr /christopher walling CC BY-NC-ND 2.0