A problem inherent to “Dreaming” (and why many often stop) is it actually increases dissonance — i.e. tension & dissatisfaction with our status quo. We humans hate dissonance, and will do almost anything to resolve it.
Since blogging about DREAD & Die, or DREAM & Do I’ve been in some cool books & practices with fellow builders to go deeper. In Robert McGee’s book “The Search For Significance”, I’ve come across 4 common traps on the Builder’s Journey that can rob us of the “Dream & Do” life we were made for.
The first one is the ‘Performance Trap’ — the belief & worldview that you aren’t significant unless & until you ______________. Reaching your destination becomes your object of worship — an idol and a poor god. It turns the quest for the Dream State into a Nightmare that always seems just out of reach. Even the Productive Actions you check off provide only fleeting satisfaction. You experience no rest, peace, freedom, joy, fulfillment – only slavery — which is written all over your face for your family & your team to see, no matter what you say to the contrary. It’s “Dread & Do” on steroids, and like steroids, it eventually destroys you and undermines your relationships as you do to others the very thing you are doing to yourself. Self-centered & others-controlling, it’s also the trap of deficit & perfectionistic thinking, and leads to self-delusion & lying to fill the dissonance gaps that performance won’t. Perhaps it’s most deceitful aspect is it actually inhibits your ability to perform at your best fully in the moment, free from the fear of failing.
Practical suggestions to escape the trap?
Build your CORE (your Worldview, Identity & Principles), remembering the Dream State (i.e. the Overarching Vision of the Purpose deep in your CORE) is simply an internal compass for becoming & living out who you already are. . . not an end in itself.
Know your tendencies. Those who have strengths like responsibility or achiever or significance can be especially vulnerable to the Performance Trap.
Monitor your thought life. When you catch yourself “need-ling & should-ing” yourself or getting manic, ask yourself “what am I believing about this task or this goal or this situation?” Slow down, consider what you want & why, and then choose to act based on your CORE. Give others a green light to be your mirrors.
Finally, master the art of living in the moment. Decide to enjoy the Builder’s Journey. This holiday, practice giving the gift of acceptance and allow loved ones to accept you for who you are (not what you do). Want some priming? Watch this ending clip from “It’s a Wonderful Life”