"Thank you, Irwin, for accommodating my early schedule," he said as he sat down and poured the tea. "Your quite welcome," I replied. "I'm always happy to accommodate your schedule, Sir" And with that short repartee, he immediately began my lesson.
"My boy, sometimes you remind me of the movie, Secret Life of Walter Mitty." For those of you not familiar with this film, the original (and best) version was made in 1939 and was based on a short story by James Thurber. Walter Mitty, the main character, is a mild-mannered and vague man who accompanies his wife on her weekly trips to the grocery store and beauty salon. While he waits for her, he lets his imagination run wild...dreaming of himself as heroic characters who have far different and more exciting lives than his own.
I had to wonder why he thought of me as a Walter-like frog, so I asked, "How so, Master?" "Well," Dharma continued, "just like Walter Mitty, some frogs dream of great achievements while others stay away and do them. Sometimes, Irwin, you think about doing all these wonderful and exciting things in your life, but I rarely see any action on them. It's fine to have intentions, Tadpole, but intentions require attention to make them reality." I know that to be true, so I couldn't argue with him. "Teacher, what can I do to help make my dreams come true? I'm sure you must have a few ideas and tips that I can follow." And, of course, he did.
Here are some of the ways that my by beloved friend and mentor said would help me on the road to achieving success.
1. Decide, then believe. First, we must set our intention. What exactly do we want to have happen? Make your intention statement clear and detailed. Write it down so you can refer to it often. All too often, we have these magnificent dreams for ourselves then, immediately, start chipping away at them...listing all the reasons these dreams won't work. Start believing in them! If you don't, then who will? Decide what it is you want have happen, then believe in it with all your heart.
2. Release fear. Easier said than done, I know. Humans, and frogs too, I think, often disguise fear under logistics; "I don't have time to pursue my dream, I have to earn a living after all," Sure we all need to make money to live, but the answer is to get up earlier, or develop better time management skills. You can come up with a zillion ways of disguising fear, but it all boils down to fear of failure. Choose the right attitude. Release fear. Repeat as often as necessary.
3. Take action. Figure out what needs to be done to make your dream reality, then do it. You may first need to do some research or even talk to experts...those who've have already accomplished what you want to do. But then, after all your research is complete, you must take action. Start off small, if you must, but do something every day toward making your dream come true. If you're a list-maker, like me, make a to-do list and check off each item as you get it done.
4. Love yourself. Slow down a little bit every day and take some time for yourself; to rest and recharge. Give yourself the gift of time and space to reflect and organize your thoughts. Doing so will allow you to stay in tune with your needs and desires.
5. Use the success of others as your inspiration. Say you want to be a chef. Find others who started off as home cooks and made it big. Use their success to inspire you. If someone else can accomplish the same goal as you, there's no reason to think you can't do it, too!
6. View mistakes as lessons and don't give up. I personally know many frogs...and a few humans...who give up after one failed attempt at making a go of their dream. When you hit a detour on your driving vacation, do you turn your car around and go back home? Or do do figure out another route to your destination? I bet you look at a map and find an alternative road. It's the same thing when working to make dreams come true. There's always more than one way to accomplish anything. FIND IT!
7. Value tiny decisions. The decision to get up earlier every morning is a tiny, but important decision. So is forgoing your morning espresso at the pricey coffee shop and, instead, putting that money in a savings account to fund your dream. These may seem like small steps. But they're not. Every single thing we do, every decision, matters. Because what you do determines who you become. So make your choices wisely.
8. Don't let bad habits win. When you get home work, and you're tired, it's tempting to sit down and turn on the TV. But will watching TV help to make your dream come true? Probably not. Wouldn't it be better, then, to use that time doing something constructive? Bad habits are hard to get out of. But you can do it. Start today. And watch how your dreams become reality sooner than could have imagined!
9. Believe that the Universe is friendly. Believe it or not, the Universe is NOT conspiring to make your life miserable. In reality, it wants to help. You simply have to be open to success and be willing to trust that everything will end as it should. Once you start taking action to make your dream...whatever it may be...come true, the Universe will kick into overdrive to help you achieve it. You just have to BELIEVE.
The Dharma Frog had given me lots to think about. He always does. After he left me this morning to go on his long-overdue holiday, I decided to spend some time today thinking about what I really want to achieve in my life. As I cleaned up the breakfast dishes and finished off my tea, I knew it was time for me to start an action plan. Today is the Summer Solstice...the longest day of the year. With all this extra daylight, why not dust off your dreams and start taking action? You know you want to. So give yourself permission to be amazing!