Create a dream list to visualize your ideal future

There are an almost unlimited number of things you can do over the span of a lifetime. This is exhilarating, but also intimidating. It’s easy to feel adrift and uncertain about which path to choose. Here’s where having a vision can help. A vision is like a beacon that guides your journey through life. It paints a picture of the future you wish to achieve — one that will bring you happiness and fulfillment.

A vision gives your life direction and keeps you focused on what is truly important. When visualizing the type of future you wish to attain, ask yourself: What do you want to create with your life? What impact do you want to make? What will your legacy be?

A fun way to document the key elements of your vision is to make a “dream list.” Some people keep a bucket list of things they want to do or see before they die. A dream list is similar, but whereas a bucket list tends to focus on once-in-a-lifetime experiences such as watching a rocket launch live or rafting through the Grand Canyon, a dream list is a more holistic and meaningful inventory of the life you wish to create. Here are a few examples from my own list:

  • Write and publish a book on how to discover your purpose
  • Build a charitable foundation that supports emerging change-makers
  • Do a speaking tour to inspire other people to pursue their dreams
  • Live in a foreign country for at least one year
  • Own a home in a warm climate

I keep a copy of my dream list on my computer and review it regularly. At the end of each year, I spend some time reflecting on my vision, values and priorities, and revise the list if necessary. For instance, one of my earlier aspirations was to own a Porsche 911. A few years ago I came to the realization that possessing an expensive sports car was not a big priority, and so I removed it from my list. Don’t get me wrong. I’d still love to drive a 911 someday, but being a proud Porsche owner isn’t important to me anymore.

If you are more visually oriented, you might consider creating a vision board to illustrate your ideal future. A vision board is a collage of images, pictures and affirmations taken from magazines, newspapers or the Internet, and artfully arranged on a poster-board or computer screen.

Whether you use a dream list, vision board, or some other tool to conceptualize your vision, the act of putting it down on paper can serve as a major source of inspiration as you work towards making your dreams come true. Remember, you are the creator of your own destiny. Rather than letting life happen arbitrarily, visualize the type of future you want, then get to work bringing your vision to life.