We are who we are. We can grow, we can add on experiences, we can add unhealthy habits to ourselves but we are who we are.
I have been trying to solve who I am and why I’m here for the past 30+ years of my life. I’ve realized over time, that the seed of who you are is a pivotal piece of fulfilling your life dream.
If you plant an oak seed, an oak tree grows. Not a bamboo tree, a maple tree, or a pine tree.
If I am an oak tree, then I will always be an oak tree. I will look different in different seasons. I will thrive differently depending on the soil, the location I’m growing in, the other trees and plants around me, water, and access to the sun but I will never not be an oak tree.
I want to know people. I want to know if they are an oak tree, a bamboo tree, or a pine tree regardless of the season they are in. I’ve found that the most effective way to “see” what type of tree a person is is by asking them what their dreams are. This is one of my favorite questions to ask people. I’ve found this is an easier way to connect rather than asking things like, “What do you do?” or “Tell me about yourself?” I’ve asked this question for as long as I can remember.
Time is short and I want to know people well, even if I’m only spending a few moments of my life with that person. I am always about the ROI. I think asking about dreams provides the best ROI.
The ROI of this question has been more apparent lately. I’ve often found that the ROI can be more pronounced when connecting with people from different cultures. It’s not a neutral question. A recent experience I had playing the game Cashflow has really brought this to light for me.
Since 2000, the game Cashflow has changed my life. I have lived my life by that game. I have taken it literally all over the world sharing its gift of thoughts around financial freedom.
In the hundreds of times that I have facilitated this game, it has always fascinated me how people respond to it.
The goal of the game is to either purchase your dream or to create $50,000 in passive income. After becoming fluent in the game, I know that it doesn’t “matter” what your dream is. I always choose the one that is in the most strategic location on the board to ensure I will have a greater chance to win.
However, every time someone plays for the first time, they take an exorbitant amount of time to decide on what their dream is in the context of the game. Even if I explain that it really doesn’t matter, people still take time to process their dreams.
Over the years, I realized that action is just as important as the game itself. We often don’t have time and space to process what our dreams are. So the initial action in the game Cashflow, is pivotal to awakening the dreaming skillset within.
Prior to a recent trip to France, I ordered the French version of Cashflow to play with those I was vacationing with. I figured the game would start our conversation around unlocking the skillset of dreaming and I was looking forward to it.
When we opened up the French Cashflow board, I was shocked. There were no dreams. No dreams. The only goal of the game was to create $50,000 in passive income. I was blown away. The French Cashflow version had the option to add a dream on the recording sheet but it didn’t have the same impact and it changed the goal of the game.
The change in the way this game was structured really solidified for me that the attacks on dreaming and hope are real. The mindset to not dream starts at the place of inception. If a mindset that dreaming isn’t possible is the norm in a culture, then much of the work on keeping people down has been done.
I have been struck this trip by the amount of hopelessness and the lack of the ability to dream.
My concern is that without the hope to dream, people will never come to realize the seed of who they are and have the opportunity to flourish. Imagine how poorly an oak tree would grow in the desert. The importance of realizing the essence of who you are and knowing that you have the power to make changes in your life to allow yourself to flourish has never been more apparent.
Dreaming is truly a skill set. What’s your dream? What are the things that are thwarting this skill set for you?