How to Live Your Dream in a Crisis
Business & finance professor, digital lawyer, restaurant owner, board member & traveler.
These dreams go on when I close my eyes
Every second of the night I live another life
These dreams that sleep when it’s cold outside
Every moment I’m awake the further I’m away
This is the chorus of one of my favorite songs from when I was a teenager. These Dreams by Heart. Even though the song was released in January 1986, I still occasionally listen to it now.
(Check out the music video
. In 3 minutes and 48 seconds, it encapsulates everything you need to know about the 1980s. The sound. The attitude. The hair.)
And yet, there is something about the lyrics. It isn’t clear what they mean, or if they even “mean” anything. But I like this idea: I can interpret the words any way I like without worrying too much about what the songwriter intended.
And, for me, this lyric captures the essence of dreams. At least, how I experienced them. It is about the fragility of our aspirations. One moment, we have it all figured it out. The next, our dream has eluded us and “all we remember are the dreams in the mist,” to refer to another line I like from the song.
All of us, especially when we are young, dream of what we want to be when we “grow up.”
Me? In the winter, I dreamt of being a professional soccer player. People are cheering my name. Adrenaline. Fame. Fortune. I have it all.
During the summer, I was a professional cyclist. Or, an unbeatable Formula One driver. It reflected what was on TV.
And, from time to time, I dreamt of being a rock star. I flew the world on epic concert tours and visited lavish lounges with people waiting in line to ask for an autograph.
I always loved my dreams when I was a kid. Daydreaming while listening to music, such as Heart, was one of my favorite activities. I was an only child and had the freedom to go wherever my mind would take me.
And like most young people, then and now, I guess — my dreams were fleeting. They were constantly changing, depending on what was hot.
It was a world of relatively few, static, role models. Soccer player. Cyclist. Rock Star. My dreams were my neighbor’s dreams. The essence of every dream was to feel that you had accomplished something meaningful and that you were admired. Dreams all involved the adulation of large appreciative crowds.
But, for most of us, living our dreams was impossible — a fantasy. And pursuing our dreams probably wasn’t smart either. Whenever I listen to These Dreams now, I think of the dreams of my youth. I am not a professional soccer player, a cyclist or a rock star. I never was. And yet, what has returned recently is this feeling of looking to the future and imagining new possibilities.
Right now, things are changing. We are witnessing a “reset” in the world. The adoption of technology was accelerating anyway, but coronavirus has disrupted everything and accelerated the future.
With governments lifting lockdowns and re-starting economies again, I see many people expecting or hoping that things will go back to normal. But the question is whether this scenario is realistic.
No matter what you think of the pandemic, it will change the way we live, work, and play. The health crisis will have a much wider impact than we initially anticipated. We realize that we can’t ignore potential “pandemic” threats in the future. Personal hygiene and “social distance” will remain critical components of everyday life for the foreseeable future.
Material things and appearances become less important in a “working from home” environment. Comfort trumps fashion.
Role models are quickly changing. The keywords of the future are “reopening,” “restarting,” and “reinventing.” At least, I see these words everywhere right now.
It’s all part of this huge global reset. We must all find motivation from the fact that the world is changing. It’s time for all of us to “wake up.” And part of that is to re-imagine our dreams.
The dreams of my childhood seem weird in a post-corona world. It’s like telling a friend that you have always dreamt of being a Greek philosopher or a Viking.
When will we see packed stadiums again? Will it ever be appealing to be a professional athlete or rock star without being the center of attention, surrounded by the roar of the crowd?
The current health crisis has consigned many of our dreams to history. New opportunities are emerging. And, perhaps most importantly, the distinction between the world of our dreams and the real world of actual possibilities has become blurred.
Finding Your “Dream”
In the real world, work will change. There are several reasons. Jobs will disappear. The economic downturn will force businesses to reduce costs and cost-reductions will inevitably lead to fewer jobs. The crisis will force businesses to transform and in times of transformation jobs will become obsolete. Other jobs will significantly change. Businesses will have to look for new opportunities with different job requirements. New jobs will emerge.
The change in work is illustrative of the “next normal.” Uncertainty and continuous change.
Many people must re-start with a blank page. This isn’t easy and there are many structural barriers to overcome.
Living your dreams, knowing what is right for you, and when you should settle, has given a new meaning. It’s less about dreams and more about seizing new opportunities.
Finding and living your “dream” is the next normal. How? Self-learning! Self-learning is more crucial than ever.
Learning to live in uncertainty. You have to continually find what is right and adapt to new situations without the existence of predefined roles and role models.
Learning to be creative. You must spend more time consuming, creating, and correcting content (and I am not only talking about social media).
Learning to love the process. Because exploring, experimenting, and sharing are essential components of self-learning, you have to learn to love the process.
Life has always been a never-ending process of learning. What is different now is that a premium has been put on self-learning and defining your next reality. Nobody can do that for you. Nobody can predict the future. Self-learning and finding your own way are essential to be better prepared for the fast-changing future.
The opportunity to live your dream has never been more real.
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