And that has been my quest and my interest and my deep longing so that I could transfer that and offer that to the people that I had the privilege of working with. I’ve had the privilege of working with tens of thousands of people around the world around changing their results.
Does it mean that because every time I’ve studied this, and worked with my own life and others, that every time for me my dreams came true? No. Does it mean everything I did worked out? No.
My first business that I spent 23 years building — I took my eye off the ball, I hired somebody to run the financial side of it. It was totally mismanaged. I lost everything I had built. It was heartbreaking to me.
But there are three steps that dream builders use either consciously or unconsciously to transform their results so that the dream wins over conditions; so that the dream wins over time; so that the dream wins over all kinds of circumstances, situations, and even our history, and even no matter how long it’s been there, and sometimes it’s been there for decades.
About 150 years ago, a man decided to do an experiment with his life. That’s what we’re invited to do over the next 12 months. Keep breathing and do an experiment with life.
He went to the woods, Henry David Thoreau, and he said, prior to his — this quote that’s up here, he said:
“I wanted to learn to suck the marrow out of aliveness. I wanted to live a life I loved living while I was living it. I went to the woods because I wished to deliberately front the only essential facts of life and see if life could not teach me what it had to teach, and not when I came to die discover that I had not even really lived.”
Now, Henry did this two-year, two-month, two-day experiment, and then he wrote an essay about it.
In the conclusion of that essay, he writes a quote that is worldwide known:
“If one advances confidently in the direction of their dream and endeavors to live the life they’ve imagined,” he said, “I learned this at least by my experiment, if one advances confidently in the direction of their dream.”
Well, you can’t advance in a direction you don’t already have an idea of. And the first thing dream builders or people who evolve their results do is they have an idea of what they would really love their life to be like.
If I say to you “your front door”; if I say to you “the kitchen sink where you live”; if I say to you “the bed you sleep in most often”; you did not see the letters B E D or S I N K or D O O R, you saw pictures. You saw a picture of a door, a picture of a sink, a picture of a bed.
This is important for us to know as building a dream, because most of us dream dreams, and we’re vague. We don’t really see a dream. We say, “I want it to be better, I want it to be easier. I’d love to travel,” and there’s no picture for where we would travel.
The more specific you are and the more specific you are right now, this talk will mean way more to you over the course of this next year.
What would you really love? Most of us ask this question: What do I think I can do? What does the economy say I can do? What do you think I can do? What does my mother think I can do?
What would you love? is the right question, because you’ll have different thoughts on the frequency of that question than you will have on the “What do I think?” question.
What would you really love? Because you’re going to have results in those four areas anyway.
Now, I knew nothing about this in 1966.
In 1966, I had grown up in a very, very happy family. My mom and dad, my sister, eight years older. This was 1966. I was a junior in high school, I was homecoming princess, had a lead in the junior play.
I was my class vice president, had three best friends from the time I was 10 years old, and we’d hung out together, and done many, many things together.
And in spring break of 1966, my high school sweetheart had gone off to college, came home on spring break, and I got pregnant.
May 1, I tell my mom and dad I’m now pregnant. My mother wept for me as if I had died. We had a very hasty 10-person wedding middle of May. The high school principal calls me in, says, “Are these rumors true?”
I said, “If the rumors are I’m pregnant, married, in that order, then yes.”
He just put his head in his hands and said, “Mary, you will not be allowed to return here for your senior year. It would be totally inappropriate for a pregnant girl to get mixed in with the normal girls, but we have a place for people like you. It’s a high school not held during daylight; it’s after dark. It’s across the river — in a part of Portland I hadn’t been allowed to drive in after dark — and it’s where the pregnant girls and delinquent boys go to high school.”
So that’s where I began my senior year, and my first son was born in December of 1966. Only now, the mothers of my best girlfriends would no longer let them see me because I was married, I was pregnant. It was as if what I had was contagious.