Compliments of roberthuffstutter via Flickr

Walter Mitty (a fictional character) is a man who finds his escape in fantasy. Forever the hero in his high flying adventures, he fails to appreciate what sits squarely before him. I think that all of us (to some extent) suffer from the same delusion – thinking that the grass is always greener, wishing we were more glamorous, wealthier, less encumbered, and more widely recognized for our presumed greatness.

If we would simply sow seeds in the place we’ve been planted, we might grow to appreciate what we have (and ironically) breathe the rarified air of which we dream. Appreciation of our lot is a first step in loving our lives.

So many things we take for granted – health, jobs, family, and even our freedom. We often don’t see our treasure until it’s taken. Sarah Ban Breathnach’s gratitude journal is a great way to itemize daily blessings, and to reap the benefits of a bountiful mindset.

Instead of longing for pipe dreams, we should instead be planning our futures. Goal setting is one method to jump start this process. Deductive planning, or working backward from meta-goals, helps delineate or “chunk” our short term improvements. According to the late Zig Ziglar, planning creates excitement and exhilaration when we achieve our dreams. So ingrained in this process are Japanese school children that they purchase (over the course of their school days) hundreds of paper Daruma doll heads in which they draw one eye when conceiving their goal, and another when it’s complete.

The increased meaning that we experience from moving forward results in us living the dream – embracing the lofty achievements that once resided in a parallel universe. This attainment requires effort, concerted focus, continual plodding, and some reassembling along the way. Fantasy exists within our minds, while the here and now is within our grasp. The glimmer within your eye can be reality if you work with what’s tangible. “All you got to do is reach out and grab it.”

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All viewpoints expressed by Jackie Gilbert are her own, and not of her employer.

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