7 Assured Ways To Drown Your Dreams

We have this incredible dream. In fact we have had many dreams and aspirations since we were kids which come and go, but some of them just stay with us and become permanent and our “ must Achieve”.

They give us the very purpose that drives our lives, and as Paulo Coelho puts it, “ the possibility of them coming true makes life exciting”

What is that one secret dream that gives you purpose and excitement when you think about it?

Your face lights up and you can see yourself achieving it over and over in your mind. You can hear the applause, the cheering, feel the exhilaration, the likes on Instagram going into millions and bank statements going crazy…

Whether it is the next level in your career, or becoming the next big billionaire… or that start up you keep going into a reverie about, that business which is your ambition, or whether you want to take your existing venture to the next level and beyond. Whether it is a personal goal of finding the perfect partner, or taking your present relationship to the greatest heights… your dreams are valuable and mean everything to you and worth achieving.

However, if realising a dream can be compared to building or a house, do we have a floor plan? And the technical drawing? The location, the budget, the aesthetic plan? The timelines, the actionable daily steps?

Probably Not.

Here’s the fact of the matter: Dreams don’t always come true and many times they just die a slow and painful death, never really becoming real, tangible and attainable. The reason you ask?

They were drowned in the depths of assumptions, misconceptions, procrastinations, perfectionisms, and many other such turbid factors.

Here are 7 such dangerous depths we need to safeguard our precious dreams from:

“Obstacles can’t stop you, problems can’t stop you, People can’t stop you. Only you can stop you”.

1. NOT MAKING A CLEAR DEFINITIVE DECISION

What is the first thing we do before we do anything? We DECIDE to do it!

Not having the clear intent and not making a very strong definitive decision will keep you looping into doubts, procrastination, failures, and never really getting there. You can safely consider your dream drowned and gone.

Decision is a very important principle to both personal, and corporate growth. Until you DECIDE to succeed, to take massive action, to turn your life around, you will struggle to breakthrough in life.

I personally believe that the only thing that could hold people back from success and massive breakthrough is their decision to NOT take a decision.

“It is in your moments of decision that your destiny is shaped”. – Tony Robbins

“Once you make a decision, the universe conspires to make it happen” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

You can call it The Law of Attraction, or whatever you want, but the fact is that ENERGY FLOWS WHERE ATTENTION GOES.

When you set a clear intention to experience something in the physical world, your thoughts and energy begin to construct that experience, you start figuring out the process, you meet the right people who will help you and your plans will start falling through.

There is no magic or mumbo jumbo in this. There is a deep science which talks about the internal communication between our thoughts, feelings, and actions. Taking a strong decision activates our inner dialogue in a Get set & Go mode.

2. LACK OF LASER SHARP FOCUS

Focus is the life jacket your dream will hold onto when it get’s into deep waters. No Focus, no Dream. It just went under.

The Oxford dictionary defines focus in a very simple and beautiful way. It defined it as the; “The centre of interest or activity”

A great example of LASER SHARP FOCUS:

Mark Zuckerbergh’s wardrobe contains shirts and jeans in one single colour. He does not even want to lose focus over something as mundane as deciding what to wear to work every morning.

It’s not enough to say you want something, it has to be the centre of your attention. If you focus on what you want the path will be clear for you to navigate and sail through. You don’t have to be smarter than everyone else, or better looking, or more connected, or luckier to make it big in life. You just have to focus—really focus—on what you want and how you can get it.

It reminds me of that science experiment we used to do in school. Remember using a magnifying glass to burn paper? You could leave a piece of paper in the sun all day and it would be almost unaffected by the sun’s rays. But concentrate the sun’s rays with a magnifying glass and within a few seconds the paper would be on fire. That’s the power of laser sharp focus.

Dedicating your total focus to your dream will reduce the focus on the unnecessary activities of your day.

Focus is what will eventually bring concentration to the work at hand.

3. LOOKING FOR EXTERNAL APPROVAL OR VALIDATION

The need for validation turns your biggest Ambitions into a paper boat in the ocean. Whatever the wave will throw you, you will go, and if there’s a large wave, then probably never resurface.

“ If you want to kill a Big Dream, tell it to a small minded person”

People are different, their views, perceptions thoughts, and life purpose, are so unbelievably different.

The biggest stumbling block most people face in achieving their dream is thinking that everyone should be as excited about their dream as they are, and should get goosebumps when they hear it and get into this dance of joy just at the bare mention of it. They feel it is mandatory to have each and everyone’s approval before they can pursue such a dream. But the truth is, that hardly ever happens

Chances are, people might not understand you, some might envy you, some will laugh at you, and others won’t even care why you’re in the pursuit of your passion. most likely no one will get what is the driving force behind you dedicating your life to THIS particular cause… and will give you 1000 reasons why you can’t do it.

Even though we are all on the same planet travelling around the sun, let us understand that not everyone is on the same journey as us.

Just as many times we do not understand other people’s reasons and motivations, people don’t understand ours.

Waiting for everyone to give us the go ahead and validate our dreams might keep us from moving forward.

And NO!! Just because someone is very close to us, need not be the reason we expect complete enrolment and understanding, and get upset and break up if we do not get their 100% validation. Most of the times our closest ones get us the least (let us never judge or blame them for this) and are the biggest obstacles we encounter.

We give so much weightage to their points of view and opinions and it’s difficult to have a heart strong enough to understand that it could be their limited capacity or understanding about things that is the real problem. It is not a slur on our capabilities, nor their regard, respect, affections, intentions for us. They just don’t get it!

4. NOT HAVING S.M.A.R.T. GOALS

Do you know where, what, how, by when, and how much of your Dream? If not, then you dream will sink faster than a sack of rocks.

A DREAM

written down with a date becomes a goal

A GOAL

Broken down into small steps becomes a Plan

A PLAN

Followed by action makes your dreams

A REALITY

Goal setting is the exercise which starts in brain and then your whole body move towards to achieve it.

The best way to understand the importance of goals in life is a game of football or hockey. If there is no goal post then players don’t know in which direction to run and where to score goals. Everybody needs goals in their life to make it purposeful.

Every New Years, we all make resolutions about things we want to start or stop doing. If you look back to the first day of this year, can you proudly say that you have achieved even 30% of your goals?

Goals Are Clear and Specific One of the worst mistakes a person can make, which is invariably fatal to success, is to think that they already have goals when all they really have are wishes.

When I ask a room full of workshop attendees “How many people here have goals?” every hand goes up. When I ask people in the audience at random “What are your goals?”

they say things like “I want to be successful,” “I want to make a lot of money,” “I want to be happy,” “I want to have a happy family,” “I want to travel,” “I want to be a billionaire,” and so on. But these are not goals; these are fantasies, wishes, hopes, and day dreams. But they are not goals. THESE ARE WISHES

Goals have to have the following 5 qualities:

  • S – Specific
  • M – Measurable
  • A – Actionable
  • R – Relevant
  • T – Time-bound

Be specific. What do you want to Have/Do/Become? What is it exactly? If you want to become a billionaire for example, what will you do and how exactly will you do it, to become one.

Write it down. Only 3 percent of adults have written goals, and they earn, on average, ten times as much as other people with the same talents, education, ability, and opportunities.

Set a deadline. A goal has been called a “dream with a deadline.” A deadline acts as a forcing system for your subconscious mind. It gets you out of bed in the morning and drives you all day long to achieve your goals on schedule.

Remember, there are no unrealistic goals, only unrealistic deadlines. Make a list. Write down everything you can think of that you can do to achieve your goal.

As Henry Ford said, “Nothing is particularly hard if you divide it into small little jobs.”

Organize the list. Create a checklist, and write down everything you will have to do in sequence, by time. What will you have to do first, second, third, and so on?

The rule is that every minute spent in planning will save you ten minutes in execution. Once you have a checklist, you work from it every single day. you will be astonished at how much you get accomplished and how fast you accomplish it.

5. BY NOT LOOKING AT MISTAKES AS LEARNING OPPORTUNITIES

No one gets it right the first time, but making failure the rating system by which you evaluate the value of your vision will crash your dreams even before you start.

As a young girl, Sara Blakely’s ( founder of SPANX,an American inner apparel company) father would ask: what did you fail in today?

Then they would discuss the learning she got from that experience, and how to convert a similar situation into a win next time.

These enthusiastic interactions towards trying new things, regardless of the outcome, helped Sara avoid the paralyzing fear that prevents many young people from reaching beyond their comfort zones due to fear of failure.

What an amazing parenting tool!

In 2012 she was the youngest self-made woman to join the Forbes billionaires list.

Sara Blakely was able to succeed because she never made failure something to avoid or to be scared of. it was only viewed as a stepping stone, she learned from her failures.

“The size of your success is measured by the strength of your desire; the size of your dream, and how you handle Disappointment and failures along the way” – Robert Kiyosaki
( Founder of Rich Global LLC and Rich Dad company )

6. IF YOU’RE NOT OPERATING FROM A GROWTH MINDSET

Your mind is your compass, your steering wheel, your everything on your journey. Watch where it is trying to take you.

“Our core beliefs and Mindsets run our lives in more ways than we can imagine”

Most of the time, the stumbling block people face is their own self sabotaging belief patterns. Imagine if there was a way that almost guaranteed that you would become a success in life, a belief system that the vast majority of “geniuses” shared.Imagine if this attitude was learnable and that when you adopted it, in almost every area of your life.

According to professor of psychology Carol Dweck, it exists, and its called the Growth Mindset. She has spent the last twenty years researching how mindset affects your failure and success rates. She discovered that there are two mindsets that govern a human’s failure rate most powerfully: the Fixed Mindset and the Growth Mindset.

People with a growth mindset are always looking at ways to improve their skills, talents, and abilities, even if just a little bit. Eventually that commitment to incremental improvement leads to enormous gains and massive improvements in life satisfaction.

We always worry about do we look successful enough? Do we impress enough? but we ignore our mind which is the starting point of transformation. Until you shape your thoughts, you will continue playing the same old defeating patterns in your life over and over again.

The richness of your thoughts determines the richness of your life and bank account and the lack in your thoughts determines the lack in your life and bank account.

Those with a growth mindset are not immune to pain, but because they believe they can learn to find a solution to any problem, they persevere and eventually often conquer. No situation is hopeless to the growth mindsetter. They are confident they can overcome hardship—they just need to learn how.

“Are your excuses greater than your Dreams ?”

If yes, then you need to take a good look at your mindset. You probably need a revamp on what your core beliefs are telling you. As per Brian Tracy The Worst Disease, the one that undermines and sabotages most of success, is called excusitis.

This is defined as “an inflammation of the excuse-making brain part.” It is invariably fatal to success.

7. IF YOU HAVE A NEGATIVE SELF IMAGE

What do you keep saying to yourself? Do you know you are listening? If we are letting our inner world be directed by our inner words, they better be about sailing safely, and not about capsizing.

Confidence and a positive self image will push you to move forward despite you face failures.If you don’t have a healthy, strong self-image you can try as hard as you like but you’ll never get the success you hope for.

Why is your self-image so important? Because it determines what actions you’ll take and how you’ll feel each and every day. Those daily actions over time determine your results and success.

Your self-image is like your mental operating software. Everything you do stems from it. It’s like your mental blueprint of what’s possible for you. You can dream mighty dreams, it’s because your self-image says it’s OK to do so. You can approach a person you like and ask him or her out on a date, it’s because your self-image says you have a chance. You can after countless failures persist in trying once again for a goal, it’s because deep down your self-image tells you that you’re capable of making that goal a reality.

The power of self-image is clearly evident with lottery winners. It’s a known fact that many people who win the lottery end up in the same place financially within a few years. Why? Their self-image makes them uncomfortable with having millions of dollars; they don’t feel it’s deserved. So after a while they do things subconsciously that cause them to end up where they started (in fact, plenty of times they end up with even less money than they originally had).

Watch out for these subconscious traps, and no one can separate you from your magnificent dream ever again.

Why we sabotage our own success , and 4 techniques to stop doing that

Self-sabotaging behaviour is extremely damaging and can stop you moving forward in life. The scary part is that we are completely unaware of the fact that we are doing it to ourselves.

Achieving Our Dreams is what gives us purpose, and motivates us into action every morning, adding that little bounce to our step as we go about our day, and the lilt in our voice as we talk about our ambitions.

We all have dreams and desires, like owning a business, having a start up, finding that perfect partner, living a luxurious life in a mansion and driving a Bugatti, going for that cruise we’ve fantasised about…. And so many more.

we’ve lived these moments over and over again in our head and frankly they keep our mental batteries charged & jiving. But what if it will all just stay just that: a fantasy.

it’s quite possible. because when we look back we realise that everytime just as we got close, really close to finally getting there …. “Something Happens” and like a game of snakes and ladders, we slide back to the very bottom each time. We end up blaming our stars, our parents, our finances, our in laws, neighbours, someone else, everyone else. Never does it once occur to us that it is WE who have this blueprint in our subconscious that acts like a thermostat and will not allow us to grow beyond a preset point.welcome to the horror of Self-sabotage :

the subconscious programming or patterns that drive our daily actions and decisions. Minute by minute. second by second. 24/7/365. Self-sabotage will crawl into our relationships, academic success, professional growth, self-development , happiness, wealth creation … to name a few areas. it’s our own creation, and serves the purpose of keeping us safe and out of harm. but rather than allowing it to run wild and do its own thing, it needs to be understood, acknowledged, and tamed. if we wish to regain control over our life, we need to understand that we are our biggest obstacle, and it’s time to learn how to get out of our own way.

Why do we self-sabotage?

At first, self-sabotage might seem like the greatest paradox. One wants something so much and works towards it, only then to allow the subconscious to work against it. The self-saboteur will, just when he/she is about to cross the finish line, end up doing something, or something gets “done” to them … that does not allow them to finish. They will fall ill, they will get into accidents, They will lose money, they will have a break up , they will get betrayed by their business partner …anything that stops them from going forward and reaching their goal.

It’s a pattern that repeats over and over, like a loop robbing the person of their enthusiasm, with no answers in sight. The individual is left exhausted, confused, and beaten from repeated failed attempts.

the sadly funny part is that A self-saboteur is actually highly successful on a subconscious level, but in realising the secret of not succeeding at something. If you’ve met some of those people who really want something and have a list of 5000 reasons why they can’t achieve it? Yeah that’s them!

Why do we do this? Here are a few possible explanations of limiting self-sabotaging behaviours.

1. Partial Evolution of the brain.

Interestingly, self-sabotage is embedded into our genes. Seeking pleasure and avoiding harm are, in a way, two sides of a coin and are built into our DNA like a software programme. In simplest terms, they both trigger dopamine secretion that make us feel good , therefore the brain chooses to fire up it’s circuits to activate the pleasure and survival loops most of the times because it feels good. This adaptive mechanism was necessary during the evolution of humankind, during the good old days when lions and bears were roaming free right outside our front door and we had to avoid being eaten by them every time we stepped out of our cave.

When we self-sabotage, it’s not conscious and we don’t even know that we are operating out of a primitive jungle mode that was built into our DNA millions of years ago. We actually seek the pleasure we get from avoiding harm, or (here’s the catch) what our subconscious mind INTERPRETS as harm.

2. “Playing” the victim

self-sabotage has been a subject of psychological research for decades. Most of the studies were to find the reasons embedded deep in our subconscious minds. Research showed that these behaviours are rooted in one’s ingrained beliefs about our unworthiness, and our conditioning that wants us to be a “victim” to gain affection or sympathy to feel worthy , even at the cost of causing harm to the self!

Bizarre but true!

3. Boosting Self Esteem

Self-sabotage is believed to be a subconscious manifestation of low self-esteem. Whether it’s masked or conscious, low self-esteem causes us to be overly sensitive to the prospect of failing. Which is why we procrastinate, come up with excuses, stop trying, attract misfortune, and employ all sorts of rationalisations of why we “can’t do it”. Instead of trying and persisting, our brain helps us “cook up” reasons why we can’t do something. You see, I didn’t really fail, I couldn’t do it because my dad was poor, or my mother scolded me, or I was rejected because I am a woman, or my teachers didn’t encourage me, or because I have this or that limitation…… and so it goes on and on playing like a tape in our heads till we actually believe it…. and manifest it.

4. We are Control Freaks

Although it may sound illogical at first, when we sabotage our success, we actually gain a misdirected sense of control. It ‘s a form of controlled failure. Repeated patterns of failed relationships are the perfect example of this. Love ( in the eyes of the self saboteur) is potentially painful, unpredictable, and difficult (or impossible) as it makes us vulnerable. Which is why we choose to demolish the relationship ourselves rather than risk being hurt in the future – in this way, we maintain control over what’s happening to us, who we let in, and who we throw out of our hearts. We get to control our hurt, not THEM.

Aah the games People play … and lose every time anyway!

5. Success is So Scary

Although we rarely recognise it, many of us are petrified of success. The reason? Success often means getting out of the comfort zone and having to face new challenges, demands, and commitments. It means showing up relentlessly, consistently , and performing to certain standards, and this scares us. There’s also a more subtle reason – If you are not on a pedestal you cannot fall, but if you are on a pedestal, you have to be constantly worried about falling down from it. People with a shaky identity avoid achieving a goal that comes with new roles, as it might be too much pressure and associated anxiety of losing what you’ve gained…. And Falling.

How to stop self-sabotage: 4 proven techniques

Self-sabotage can range from falling ill, addictions, accidents, procrastination, denial, and much much more.

Here are four ways we can learn to stop the pain of self-sabotaging behaviour.

1. Becoming aware of self-sabotage

As with other matters of the human psyche, recognising the devil inside is the first step. Even when it’s obvious to those around you, you might not be aware of what you’ve been doing to yourself. Examine your behaviour. Analyse your past actions. Understand your patterns and inner conversations. Acquire a habit of awareness. Have you been preventing yourself from realising your full potential? Have you been receiving any payback from being a victim? Do you think of more ways of “not doing” something rather than “doing” it?

Developing and practising conscious focus on such behaviours is an essential tool towards defeating the underlying cause that has been defeating you.

2. Truth. do you REALLY want it?

You need to dig deep and understand why it is that you, personally, do it. Be painfully honest to yourself without judging yourself. You need to be true about your desires and goals. Do they belong to you? Do you really want that promotion, or to get married, to start that business? and do you want it for the right reasons? Do you desire something just because it will sound cool when you talk about it? What is it that you’re truly seeking in your goals? Ask as many questions as you can around it. Unless you do so, you’ll be a puppet of your subconscious strivings and desires , failing each time and never really know what kept you spinning all your life and reaching nowhere.

3. Face your fears

As you now know, most self-sabotaging behaviour comes from some shade of fear , and believe me, fear can show up in many sneaky ways. Be it fear of losing control, shaking one’s identity up, not being up to a challenge, or ready for responsibility or a change , rejecting love and caring – fears drive us to self-destruct. Instead of being inert, take a moment each day to look your demon in the eye. With time, you’ll realise that the only thing you need to fear is spending your life being chased around by your fears, instead of breaking free and moving towards your freedom.

4. Practise self-compassion

Self-saboteurs often feel that they need to linger in a state of constant hurt and failure. They don’t think very highly of themselves. They feel that they deserve failure because they are unworthy of anything else. I am worthless so how can I succeed? If you think such belief is in the roots of your self-defeating behaviour, explore ways to introduce self compassion into your life . self love is a complete therapy in itself and the healing effects are far reaching. meditation, mindfulness, introspection, or simply rethinking your embedded convictions about who you are, can liberate you from constant self-destruction. , and turn self sabotage into self empowerment.

Shakuntala devi

While watching Shakuntala Devi the film I was fascinated to get a peek into the life of an incredible woman, Genius, celebrity, wife, mom, daughter who despite coming from a very humble background, lived her life on her own terms at a time when it was unthought of, at least in India. Being a mom myself who has been in a similar struggle, the film raises so many questions for me, plus there was so much in the story I could identify with. 

We do not just get to see the Genius of Shakuntala Devi, but also her relationships, with her Parents, husband, daughter, and many others.

It was clear right from the opening scene that even though she was considered a “human computer”, she was also “Human”.

Her Maths calculations never went wrong, but as a flesh and blood human being she had her flaws and not so perfect moments. Her Emotions were a jigsaw of hurt, sadness, elation, hurt, love, desire, arrogance, confidence, pride and the entire spectrum.

“ I never lose” was what she rightfully claimed. Having incredible genius capabilities and able to beat a computer in her calculations, She did not care about any one’s judgements or opinions….except when her own child mercilessly hurls accusations at her. Her Daughter was her only Achilles heel.

She could see mathematical patterns in EVERYTHING, and she was not permitted to even speak about it. Seems cruel. Its like telling a bird to not ever fly! But she demonstrates exemplary spunk even there and says “challenge accepted” Typical of her gender.

 Anu wanted her to be a “normal” mother. But whose definition of normal was she buying? Does Normal mean a mom who has no personal aspirations? And the minute you have them you become “abnormal”?

Even so, her willingness to sacrifice her very identity to become the “perfect mother” and fit into Anu’s narrow definitions of an ideal mom was Gutsy and brave, and akin to the struggles women of today are facing where they want it all… success and motherhood, maybe not in that order. She exemplifies what we are aspiring to become today, Women with aspirations, progressive, independent, self defining, free from judgements and condescending opinions. 

It’s a struggle that is so beautifully depicted, and there was so much familiarity to watch Shakuntala Devi being torn between the two worlds, and juggling in the best way she could. Applaudable and inspiring. 

A woman who could not be coerced into becoming a full time wife, relented to becoming a full time mom. It was heart wrenching to watch her give up the only thing she Loved and identified with….her Maths, For someone she loved even more. Her child.

In fact the movie opens with Anu equating a Mom to “God” and an “epitome of sacrifice” and stating that her Mom is None of those things.

Without knowing the story, the journey, the struggles, and the exemplary strength of the woman Anu had labelled her! 

Where most of the kids would have felt privileged to have a famous and rich parent, Anu’s contempt and complete invalidation for her moms achievements was puzzling.

Probably at some point Shakuntala Devi diluted the boundaries between being loving and being controlling, and that triggered Anu’s rebellious streak. Where in earlier days control worked as an unquestionable parenting strategy, we shouldn’t forget that Anu was a chip of the old block and was rebellious and independent and did not want to live her life under her mom’s shadow.

It seemed like Anu was doing to Maths, what many children do to the second sibling and considering it as a rival to her mom’s affections. Were her expectations unreasonable?…. that’s debatable. But when are expectations reasonable anyway? It would be easy to judge Anu at this point but I refrained, because what are the triggers and drivers for people to be a certain way, no one knows.

I’m a stickler for happy endings and loved the perfect ending in the film. But in life, and this is me talking as a relationships coach, it’s a tall order to assume you’ll be acknowledged for your struggles and sacrifices. 

People closest to you get it when they get it …. And very often they Don’t.

The biggest default setting we can operate from is Empathy. That means looking at the other person ( anyone we would jump to label and judge) as another flesh and blood human being, and not an equivalent of some God, nor as an imagined definition of the role they play in our life.

It is we who create these tiny boxes called 

“husband” “wife” “child” “Mother” “dad” “woman “man”, “son”, “daughter”, stuff the people in our lives into them, and suffocate them with our expectations and points of view.

I have a question in the end: 

Do our attachments empower us or weaken us? 

There is no single right answer.