Scary Dreams

If your dreams does not scare you it is not big enough.

I don’t know who said this first but it holds a lovely truth. This truth was brought home in a powerful way by one of my Professors. I was one of those students that always got by on the skin of my pants. Life as a student had to many things that needed to be explored and academics was not very high on the priority list.

One day we complained to Prof Hermi that his test was to difficult and as students who knew all about life, we tried to convince him that he must lower his standards. His response still echo’s in my mind after all these years. He calmly looked us in the eye as said:

“I will not insult your potential by lowering my standards.”

Awesome isn’t it? Today I had to explain to a client that it is a good thing if you have anxious anticipation of the new venture. If the challenge is not big enough we easily slip into boredom. When a challenge matches our potential, it arouses us. the juices of adventure start to flow and we are one step away from optimal functioning.

Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi explains that to achieve a flow state, a balance must be struck between the challenge of the task and the skill of the performer. (See his figure here)

If the task is too easy or too difficult, flow cannot occur. Both skill level and challenge level must be matched and high for flow to occur; if skill and challenge are low and matched, then apathy results.

So next time your dream scares you, have a good look at what is really happening. Are you worried or anxious or aroused? Being aroused is one step away from flow. Focus your attention. Lose yourself in your dream and taste the joy of being your full potential.

If you are worried or anxious, make sure it is not just an old habit of excusing yourself from truly engaging. Remember, nothing happens until you commit to a path. If you see the truth of hiding behind a habit, re-interpret your assessment and move into flow. If it is the truth that your skill level is not synchronized with the challenge. Take a step back en equip yourself with whatever you need to match the challenge.

Making dreams become reality is always hard work. You can enjoy the hardness or you can resent it. Resentment comes from functioning on the lower levels of skill and challenge. enjoyment comes from functioning in flow.

What will it be then? Will you let the fear motivate you or will you hide behind excuses?

With love and flow


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