Are You a Victim of the Diminishing Dreams Syndrome?

When I was in high school, I dreamt of someday owning a huge firm.

Then I entered college.

When I was in college, only the ones with the highest grades were given the most recognition. So I figured, only they could one day “own a company.”

So, from thereon, I dreamt of becoming a high-ranking corporate employee – perhaps a C-whatever-O!

Then I joined a corporation.

I came in as an entry-level HR Officer. The more I learned about my field, the more I realized how incredibly difficult it is to overcome my chosen corporate function and make truly strategic decisions.

So, from thereon, I dreamt of becoming a “Head of HR” one day.

Moreover, I also saw that in corporations, the best managers were often given “car plans” or “company cars.” Of course, I wanted to be the best.

So, from thereon, I dreamt of getting my own car – a FORD ESCAPE if possible, because I thought it looked good.

More than once I thought. “Hey, I’m not really happy! I can’t wait for the week to end and the work is getting repetitive.” But then when I asked around, everyone else felt the same way.

So, from thereon, I thought, “That’s life.” And then I just forced myself to chug along, day after day after day after day after day.

Then, one day I was the Head of HR for an entire firm. My salary was higher, so naturally, I quickly got a loan to purchase a FORD ESCAPE (which I eventually loathed because it was such a gas-guzzler) The monthly loan payments were debilitating, and in truth I could have used the money for more important stuff. But hey, who cares?  I had my car, right?!!!

Then, after some time, I got a bit confused. Wait, so what was left to dream of? I dared not dream of being a CXO. Owning a firm was even more laughable.

So, I instead “dreamt” of just getting higher pay, year after year. Maybe get a job outside the country to earn higher currency. That’s it. I figured, nothing wrong with that right? Everyone I talked to dreamt of the same thing, and talked about the same thing.

In around a decade’s time, society and corporate life had subtly diminished my dreams from “owning a firm” into “receiving a higher salary increase next year” and “owning an Escape.” At one point, these two were my professional dreams. DREAMS. Egad.

My friends, our dreams should be saved for bigger, much more meaningful things. God placed us on this earth for far greater things than a nice car and nice pay. Our dreams fuel our hopes, which in turn, fuel our souls. We should take great care of our dreams. 

Buy hey, you know, my dreams include the really big things, like having a family and travelling to Europe and stuff, they don’t involve work. Work is just work.

Stop thinking this way. Work is such an important part of our lives. It is where MOST of our waking hours are spent. A person who feels broken about “just work” is simply just a broken person. I was.

What, so inspiration, meaning, and feeling great are just reserved for the weekends?

When I took stock of where I was, and I made a conscious decision to follow my younger, more childlike dreams, I noticed something very different.

My dreams grew.

My initial dream was to “just earn enough to get out of corporate.” And I did (with a great leap). Then I figured we could “grow this baby” into an industry leader. We did. Then I figured I could use the experience to create more startups. I did. Then I figured I could use everything I learned to help people create more startups. This is my passion dream now, and it excites and burns within me furiously. I would do this for free. And when I think of it, I think it’s an aspiration worth being called a dream.

Are your dreams getting less and less worthy of being called a “dream?” Are you a victim of the Diminishing Dreams Syndrome? If you are, then this recognition alone can prove to be a monumental asset. Get out of this downward spiral, fast.

It might be good to take a long leave. But don’t go to Boracay with your friends first. Retreat. It might be tough to see the forest from the trees, so take a step back first. Take stock of who you are and what is meaningful to you. Pray. Consider. Be open.

Then ask yourself this question: what do you REALLY want to do?

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