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Dream Elaborately

You've certainly heard the advice that you should "Dream Big." True enough, but you should also dream elaborately. In fact, you should daydream elaborately.
Karl Palachuk

Karl W. Palachuk
September 1, 2004


You’ve certainly heard the advice that you should “Dream Big.”  True enough, but you should also dream elaborately.  In fact, you should daydream elaborately.  Here’s why.

Dreams are wonderful things.  I sleep very soundly and rarely remember my dreams.  Perhaps that’s why I feel comfortable daydreaming (so I don’t miss out on all the fun).

Dreaming–especially daydreaming–is one of those activities too quickly dismissed by our “success-focused” society.  But daydreaming is a great way to strengthen your muscles of success (see the related article here).

I don’t mean casual dreaming.  I say:

Dream Elaborate Dreams!

We hear over and over again the power of visualizing our goals.  You know the routine:  “See yourself as the president of your own company . . . or the president of Microsoft . . . or President of the United States.”

Elaborate dreaming is like that kind of visualization–multiplied by 100!  Here’s an example.

Let’s say your dream is that you want a new house.  The casual dream is that you want a house big enough for your music collection, with a nice back yard.

The elaborate dream is that you can see yourself walk through the house.  Is it in a brand new neighborhood, or a bit older with lots of trees?  Perhaps an old Victorian.  Or something in the middle.  What does the entryway look like?  What shelves and plants will you place there?  What color is the kitchen?  How will you fix it up?

The difference is obvious.  As you dream elaborately, you visualize all the details.  And as you go through the details–the walls, the floors, the fireplace, bookshelves, lamps, etc.–the house becomes more real to you.

Elaborate dreaming has several advantages.  First, the rich detail makes your house seem that much more real in your mind.  Instead of casual “someday” dreaming with words such as “I could” or “I might,” you begin to thing “I will.”  This positive attitude will help to make your that dream come true.

Second, elaborate dreaming helps you to look at the realities of your dream.  Rather than a nondescript, amorphous dream, you begin to see the specific positive and negative aspects of your dream.  And while we are reluctant to include these “negatives” as part of our dreams, they are very important to making the dreams come true.  As you begin to consider the cost of painting and furniture, the real cost of your dream begins to come into focus.

One of the most common reasons for failure in any venture (business or personal) is under-estimating the cost.  When planning a business, or a vacation, or a remodeling job, we tend to look at a few big numbers and ignore all the little ones.  For example, we look at the cost of the house, but not the new tile, the paint, the shelving, etc.

The third benefit of elaborate dreaming is that you get used to the details of the dream.  Just as you’ll get used to living in the new house.  Having a detailed vision of what you want makes house shopping and buying much easier.  You’ll be able to walk into a house and know in five seconds whether it’s a contender. 

And when it’s time to bargain for a price, you’ll have a realistic sense of how much extra work it will take to  become your “dream home.”  If it will take a lot of work, you’ll be less willing to give in on the price.

There are many other examples as well.  If you are a business owner and thinking of hiring a new person, consider every aspect of the new position:  Salary, office space, candidate temperament, etc.  The more you “know” about the position, the better able you’ll be to find the candidate, assign an appropriate salary, and fit this position into the overall company.

Elaborate dreaming is a great way to keep your mind busy and active.  Rather than be a couch vegetable (with your mind turned off), spend your time actively working out the details of your next great venture.  This is true for hobbies such as woodworking, weaving, and gardening.  It works just as well for business-related sales plans, workflow, and marketing.

Casual dreams never come true.

Why?  Because there’s nothing to work on and there’s nothing to work toward. With elaborate dreaming, you begin to divide the big dream into smaller pieces.  As you consider the details, you become immersed in the project.  As you identify the pieces, you identify tasks that can be accomplished.

All Dreams that Come True
Are Elaborate Dreams

This follows logically.  As you begin to actually make your dream come true, you will have to deal with the details.  You’ll develop a plan a plan and a budget and a timeline.  You will do all the work necessary to make all the details come together.  At some point it stops being “the dream” and becomes “the project.”  By the time the project is finished, someone has dealt with all the details.

The more details you work out beforehand, the better the outcome.

So begin today!  Dream elaborately.  Even if you end up not making every dream come true, you need to work the muscles of success–including the dreaming muscle.

Have a good time.


“Happy are those who dream dreams
and are ready to pay the price
to make them come true.”
— Leon J. Suenens

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