Have you heard statements like, “Gosh, I have too many dreams in life, and I am overwhelmed by them! I don’t know where to start.” “I wish I knew which aspirations I am most inclined to have.” “I’m frustrated because I can’t focus… I have too many dreams and goals, which one should I put my heart and mind on.”
If you are struggling with this issue, not to worry because you are not alone, there are many others in the same situation. I was once in your shoes.
When I was a child, around seven-year-old, I dreamed of joining Jackie Chan's stunt team. I tried to imagine a way to fly to Hong Kong. I also imagined fighting like Bruce Lee and Jet Li. The dream of taking after their footsteps motivated me to self-train even though I didn't have proper training and instruction. Yet I inspire myself to train regularly.
As I grew into a teenager, a TV series entitled, BJ and The Bear inspired me. The main character is a truck driver, and he travels with his chimpanzee. BJ is a hero and a cool guy, and I admired the red Kenworth truck. It's such a beautiful machine.
I was a physically tiny boy, and in one season, Dad was intrigued by a professional jockey. He encourages me to be one. That didn't sit right with me, and so Dad's dream didn't stick on me. One other pastime I used to enjoy was doodling. I love arts, and I sketched and drew plenty of cartoons, from Thunder Cats to Spider-Man, Superman, Batman etc., not forgetting Marine Boy, Gundam, Voltron and Professor IQ which is a Japanese anime.
Among all these dreams and aspirations, I successfully achieved two—the former, which is in the martial art arena. At the age of 15, my parents enrolled me in the Chin Woo Chinese Association. It was there I received proper training in Wushu, Chinese Kungfu. My self-motivation in practice was extraordinarily high, and within a year, I obtained a state championship in two events. By the second year, I reached the national championship and was nominated to receive training in Wushu School of Beijing Sport University (北京体育大学武术学院). The original plan is to join the practice there following by attending the international competition, representing my country, Malaysia. I walked away from that offer because of the high school final exam. While the second is, arts and graphic design. Today, besides being a pastor/mentor, I qualify in graphic design.
At some point in my twenties, I returned to Wushu training, and I utilised that skill for prophetic warfare worship and dance. God has His ways to redeem the Chinese martial arts as an expression of creative worship, to glorify His name. After knowing the Lord Jesus, and I experienced the ministry of discipleship, I am inspired to be a mentor, helping others to develop life–natural and spiritual growth.
I have many dreams and aspirations, and I believe you have them in your heart. In this point of life, I'm re-visiting some while forgoing the rest. How about you?
It's not an easy decision to keep some dreams and to let go of the rest. I have a straight forward formula of filtering these aspirations, and I'm sharing them with you. I called it, 3 Things to Consider when Filtering Dreams.
1: To everything there is a season, so find out your season
Time and season is a road sign for me in the context of filtering all of my dreams and aspirations. I've shared some of my childhood aspirations briefly. Out of all the above, I get to achieve two–obtaining a Wushu championship and running a graphic design business. Would I put extra efforts to train in the martial arts today as I'm in my late 40s, hoping to be world-class athletes or a movie star? I wouldn't, but I will train for fitness and health reasons. I will also pass my knowledge and fighting skills to my children for self-defence.
As for graphic design and mentoring others, it's a no brainer, and I will continue on the journey, equipping and upgrading myself. Why? Simply because graphic design is an ongoing business venture for me while mentoring is a call from my Lord. Mentoring others is an excellent way to add values to the community and society.
The point I'm bringing to you is, my physical capability may not permit me to do martial arts like other younger men. So, the time and season for me in venturing martial art are over, passed and gone. Therefore, I wouldn't cling on to that dream. What I've achieved in my teens is excellent and worthy. Having all the medals hanging in my parents' living room had made them proud. It's all right to move on.
Graphic design and the mentoring season is fresh, and the timing seems right, and will always be relevant today and tomorrow. For this reason, I am putting in more and more time focusing on these two areas.
What time and season are you? When you recognise them, you could match your dreams and aspirations accordingly. Keep and continue building the relevant while letting go of the old season's dreams and aspirations.
All of us have 24 hours per day. To some, 24 hours are more than enough to get jobs done; while others would hope to have 48 hours a day. One of the keys to maximising your day and life is, to filter out the non-essential dreams and aspirations. Avoid focusing or putting energies on that which is of the old season. Move on with the relevance. That way, you could be a happier person.
2: Do your dreams spark life?
After recognising the time and season you are in, and when you filtered out the non-essential but keeping the relevant dreams and aspirations, you need to be honest with yourself. Ask if these dreams spark life within you.
It's easier to journey on, working hard, ploughing the ground and keeping the field healthy when you enjoy doing what you aspire to do. Otherwise, it's like forcing a cow which is not thirsty to drink.
When the relevant dreams capture your heart, you do not need external factors to motivate you. The motivation will rise from inside your heart and soul. Constant creative ideas will emerge even in your sleep. You would do things out-of-the-box and every day is a fresh new, inspiring day for you.
I speak from a decade long experience, between 7 to 18 year old. The passion for martial arts drove me to train five days per week, an average of five hours a day, another two hours of research and study per day in the same field. It sparks more than life, but fire!
Whatever dreams and aspirations you are holding on right now, do they ignite within you? Do you look forward to working with them every day? How much are you willing to stretch yourself, even if it is causing you discomfort and inconvenient? Would you sacrifice other aspects of your time to fulfil these dreams and aspirations?
If most of your answers are a 'yes', then you are heading in the right direction. Go ahead and keep going, don't look back but stay focused on your dreams. Get it done in this lifetime!
Some of the links within this post are affiliate links of which I receive a small compensation from sales of certain items.
3: What would be the financial value by pursuing these dreams?
The third component which helps me filter out past dreams and aspirations is financial value.
When I was a bachelor, I had less responsibility. At least I don't need to put food on the table and care for my family's basic lifestyle. I could do anything and pursue any dreams. Monetary value need not be the primary decision factor. Today, I'm a husband and a father of three teenagers. Recent years, as a family, we migrated to Melbourne, Australia. That means I'm starting from ground zero in building a home and business. So, financial value is a significant deciding factor in the context of filtering out past dreams and aspirations.
Would the dream you are pursuing be able to provide to your family? Is it justifiable taking into account resources, time, the effort for monetary returns? How would you maximise the dream for wealth creations so that your energy could add values to your family, community and society?
Before I end this post, I would like to share one inspiring story which I read. It is the life story of Samuel Moore Walton, founder of Walmart. Before Sam became a business icon in the United States of America, he was like you and me, an ordinary guy who has a dream. His dream was simple, down to earth. All he desired was to own a store.
His dream and desire empowered him to:
- Serve people well.
- Build a winning team.
- Word hard.
- Impart people's lives for good.
- Have fun.
- Support his family.
- Honour his Lord. 
His passionate dream of doing the above motivated him to accomplish a goal much more prominent than himself. Wal-Mart Stores Inc. grew to be the world's largest corporation by revenue as well as the biggest private employer in the world. For some time, Walton was the richest man in America.
I would recommend both books to you because they are excellent reading materials and have added high values to my life. May you enjoy filtering out dreams of the old seasons but diligently work on ideas that are relevant to your time and season. Feel the fire, be aspired and enjoy investing your time, efforts and resources for the exchange of monetary benefits.
- The Wal-Mart Way: The Inside Story Of The Success Of The World's Largest Company
- Sam Walton: Made In America
Would you share your success story in the comment section to encourage other readers?