The four steps I’m going to show you now, while ridiculously simple, are actually the basis of something incredible: taking pure thought and bringing it into reality. Let’s get started.
1. First, set the timer on your smartphone for two minutes and write down all the things you’d love to be accomplishing right now — but aren’t. Remember, I didn’t say “think” about those things, I said write them down. Write without pausing, write without any judgment whatsoever. Write without stopping to consider what’s real, what’s practical, what’s doable, and what’s acceptable. Do this without even pausing to think if your dreams are moral or legal. (There will be plenty of time for those considerations later!) For now, just write.
If you’ve been successful in writing without any intrusions from your conscious mind you will have a fairly long list within the two minutes. The time limit is important. It keeps you from overthinking — when overthinking is inappropriate. Set your timers. Go!
2. Next, take another two minutes to select the three items from your list that look the most interesting to you. As an example, let’s say they were:
• Learn to fly a plane
• Take a trip to the Galápagos Islands
• Attend a concert of classical music
3. Now give yourself one minute to consider just one tangible step you can take to move each of your three selections into reality. For example:
• For learning to fly a plane — Walk to your desk and do a Google search for the nearest flight school and learn about their flight times and pricing.
• For your trip to the Galápagos — Open up Safari on your iPhone and look up Galápagos Tours. (I just did this and found over a hundred options)
• For your symphony experience — Sit down at your kitchen table, turn on your iPadand do a search for concert times at a performance hall in your area.
4. Finally, give yourself two minutes seconds to pick one of the three choices from your list and actually implement the small action you’ve considered. That’s it.
It’s child’s play I know, but think about how far you’ve already come in just 7 minutes. You’ve moved from some nebulous notion about wanting to take action on an as yet unspecified dream to actually undertaking its first practical steps. The key to making the dream manifest is to continue a similar series of tiny (but significant) actions.
I leave you with this: “The secret of getting ahead is getting started. The secret of getting started is breaking your complex, overwhelming tasks into small manageable tasks, and then starting on the first one.”— Mark Twain
Peter Himmelman is a Grammy and Emmy nominated singer-songwriter, visual artist, author, film composer, entrepreneur, and rock and roll performer. He is the founder of Big Muse, a company, which helps unlock innate creativity. Clients include The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, The UCLA School of Nursing, 3M, McDonald’s, Adobe, and Gap Inc. Himmelman is also an alum of the Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern. His latest book, Let Me Out(Unlock your creative mind and bring your ideas to life) was released October, 2016 and is available on Random House Tarcher/Perigee
“There’s deep wisdom here along with very practical tools for translating our ideas into the real world.” – Arianna Huffington