They come to you in the middle of the night, while you are on your daily walk around the neighborhood or during a friendly chat over beers on your back patio. They are those little ideas that start with “what if” or “maybe I should” and lead to brilliant lights of inspiration that feels like a “physical jolt of yearning, as though your heart is straining toward its destiny” (Martha Beck).
And . . . that’s as far as it goes. Just a whisper of an idea. A subject mulled over briefly in your mind or between friends.
In her book Ghost Estates, photographer Valérie Anex captures empty suburban towns in Ireland that were the result of the housing bubble burst in 2008. When construction halted in developing neighborhoods, there was a trail of unoccupied or incomplete homes dotting the Republic of Ireland’s landscape.
The ghost estates aren’t really abandoned, for they were never lived in or even seen by prospective buyers. The area is hauntingly devoid of humans, shells of what could have been. The images to be featured at the Photobookshow in England this June, according to an article on Fast Company.com, “are haunting reminders of the hardship associated with the 2008 economic downfall. As of 2013, there are still approximately 1,300 ghost estates left in Ireland.”
I think all of us have experienced our own version of ghost estates. Those brief moments of “aha” that generates excitement within our souls, our hearts . . . and then is cast aside for their improbability. Our minds decide it is too far out of our comfort zone, beyond our reach financially or lacks the proper support from our own experience or emotionally from loved ones. Those ideas that captured our hearts are set aside, abandoned.
How do we retain that momentum to keep those dreams houses and newly developed ideas from turning into ghost thoughts? Here are a few ideas:
Get Out of Your Head
Our mind loves images. It loves vivid color. Instead of reciting the same old story in our heads, put it to paper. Add some images or even pencil sketches. This simple act shifts your mind from ruminating into search and discover mode. It will seek opportunities, thoughts that will propel your “estates” into completion. Instead of finding reasons not to, your mind will find ways to help you.
Set Goals Toward Growth, Dreams Will Follow
We live in the Age of Distraction where we demand instant gratification on social media and for our goals. Its like deciding to shed a few pounds and getting frustrated the next morning when the scale doesn’t see things the same way you do. Instead of focusing on the end goal, set daily goals of growth. What can you do to further your dreams today? What can you learn that will provide compound interest for a down payment on your “estate” later?
Apply Elbow Grease
They say that what makes a person successful in reaching their dreams is that they are willing to do the work that others weren’t. They kept going when it got tough, seemed out of reach or the road become a bit bumpy (if not shifted to a complete off-road adventure). So, how does one stay motivated when it feels like the universe is working against you: you. Surprisingly, when we focus on what we have and can do — we deliver the power to “lift us beyond what we thought to be our limitations.” Instead of dwelling on the”can’ts” and “have nots”, ask yourself “how can I overcome this?” “How” can tap into our creative mental resources and push us towards problem-solving rather than problem drowning.
You already know your dreams. You know where you want to go. You may have already started construction. Find those abandoned estates and start building your dream home. They’re waiting for you.
- Valérie Anex: Ghost Estates
- Photobookshow (June, in England)
- Fast Company.com (CoDesign): Haunting Photographs of Modern Day Ghost Towns
- Martha Beck: WIGS (Wildly Improbably Goals)