Everyone has a dream. It might whisper to us in a still, small voice, or it may have the volume and intensity of Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech.
The problem is that not many of us are actually living our dream.
But as Suzanne Falter-Barns says in her book, “How Much Joy Can You Stand?,” if we begin to nurture and pursue that dream, if we can manage to leap off the cliff and trust ourselves to fly, we will experience a fine, effortless joy like nothing else.
“It may take a while to wade through all your resistance, fears, misperceptions and basic disbelief in yourself,” she says. “It may take far longer than you think it should. But if you can just keep going through the process, and trust yourself in a basic way not attempted before, the joy will be yours.”
Test your joy quotient with this Thriving quiz:
1. Creativity doesn’t just belong to artistic types living in loft studios. It belongs to me and to every human. I am creative!
2. I think of myself as someone who doesn’t just want what I want, but as someone who is going to get it.
3. I keep blank notebooks in several places for jotting down my ideas and inspirations, and a tape recorder for recording observations.
4. No matter how “uncreative,” sensible, logical and otherwise unimpulsive I might consider myself, if I have a pressing idea—a core desire—I'm going to express it.
5. My family, my community, my world all benefit from my pursuit of my dream.
6. Feeling vulnerable and insecure is part of the process of creating any dream. To see me through those times, I call on those who I know support my project, not those who might discourage my efforts.
7. I quiet my mind regularly, and when I do, creative ideas and inspirations often show up unannounced.
8. I look around my world—city streets or nature’s paths—for creative inspiration and sources of joy.
9. I anticipate unexpected twists of fate, chance encounters and unorthodox solutions.
10. It isn’t up to me what the world thinks of me. My job is to work on my dream and send it out there.
11. I make a regular habit of connecting with my wishes, and I’m not afraid to wish for too much. But rather than wish for personal success alone, I link my wishes to how they serve people.
12. I use affirmations—positive statements phrased in the present tense and repeated often—to calm any fears I identify as holding me back.
13. I know that false desires are accompanied by feelings that are anxious, grasping and withholding, whereas true heart’s desires are accompanied by feelings that are joyful, releasing and generous.
14. I make it a habit to do one scary thing and to do one thing differently every day.
If you answered “false” more often than “true,” you may be plugging up your joy channel.
Joyce Buford is the founder and CEO of SecondWind Speaking, Training and Coaching in Tyler.