What are your wildest fantasies?
Fame? Riches? Maybe you’re superhumanly charismatic and people crowd you when you walk into rooms. You crack them up with your wit and charm. Maybe your writing gets covered in the NYTimes Book Review, or your first album becomes a multi-platinum smash hit. Maybe you simply stumble into true love when you both hop into the same taxi.
Ahhhhh, it’s nice even just to think about it . . .
But guess what? The true love, the bestselling book, the platinum album . . . . It’s never happening. Ever.
I don’t care how bad you want it. There is no chance those fantasies EVER become reality. Why?
Because the very nature of a fantasy GUARANTEES it will never come true. And the more you indulge, the worse it gets.
“Wuzzuh, but The Secret said all I had to do was visualize what I want and I’d get it?”
You see, a fantasy is the shadow of what you want. You make believe the shadow is real and you give yourself the dopamine hit of getting the real thing. It works even when you haven’t achieved jack squat in real life. That’s why we love them so much.
A fantasy is a pre-reward. Or said more colorfully . . .
Fantasizing is straight up psychological masturbation.
Now, psychological masturbation wouldn’t be so bad. Except that it KILLS your fire to actually make your fantasy real! Seriously, why toil to make your dreams real when you can get an immediate dopamine hit from just fantasizing about the end result!?
Think I’m being extreme with the never ever-ness of it all?? Okay. Well, ask yourself:
- “Of my wildest fantasies, the ones that give me the most pleasure to fantasize about, which have come true?”
- “Which are legitimately going to come true in the next 6 months?”
My bet: None. Absolutely none. And as long as they stay fantasies they never will.
Don’t despair! Those fantastic dreams CAN come true. And imagining them coming true is still a huge step of doing it. So . . . . want to know HOW to make your dreams come true?
Just Vote for Pedro! (kidding, kidding)
To make your dreams come true you have to imagine differently. That is the key to getting what you want. I’ll get to the specifics of imagining differently but first, let me give a counter-example. I call it:
How I tricked myself into crippling inaction
For literally years my best friend, Ben, and I had talked about living together. We knew exactly what we were going to do, where we’d live, how we’d have the house laid out, what parties we’d throw, who’d be invited. It was all mapped out down to the smallest detail. It was going to be awesome. We’d get high just talking about it.
This was an A+++ fantasy. It was vivid beyond belief.
And guess what we did about it?? Absolutely nothing — for two years I stayed in DC working as a consultant. Ben stayed in NYC working as an I-banker.
You couldn’t have taken us farther from the dream if you’d brainwashed us. In fact, we HAD brainwashed ourselves. We kept ourselves in a stupor of “Someday Fantasyland.” If we had kept it up, who knows how many more years would have passed.
So what changed it all???
Brunch. Yes, you read right . . . brunch. Two years of NO ACTION and a brunch changed my life. I’ll elaborate:
I’m sitting there over my eggs Benedict with one of my other best friends. I’m fantasizing out loud about NYC: how cool it’d be to move there, lamenting that I’m not yet there. Boo-hoo, right?
And my buddy, who is insanely awesome (he’s also the reason I started Charisma On Command, though that is a story for another day), drops this bomb:
“Dude why don’t you just quit and GO!?”
To which I responded in my most practical tone of voice: “That’s nuts! I couldn’t JUST quit and go!! I’d have to . . . ”
And then I paused. His question forced me to consider what would happen if I JUST F@*&ING DID IT. All of a sudden I had to imagine the real world consequences of quitting. I had to imagine REALLY living in NYC. Of ACTUALLY being there with my best friend.
I wasn’t fantasizing about being there in some POOF, magic wand, “someday-in-a-perfect-world” type way. I was projecting myself from my current situation in DC to a different life in NYC. I didn’t know the exact steps I’d have to take. But I had a vague sense it’d require me to quit my job, pack my things, and haul my ass to NYC!
For the first time ever I was formulating a vision that was connected to the present WITH ACTION.
This is huge. This simple shift is what transformed “it’d be so cool to live together” into “I’m booking the UHaul for February 1st.”
My buddy’s question forced me to switch from fantasizing to FUTURE PROJECTING.
Now, I know, you’re like, “Really happy for you Charlie . . . but what the heck is the difference between a fantasy and a future projection!?!”
And I’m like: “Take it easy. I’m about to tell you. I just like to build a little suspense frst ;-)”
So here it is: Fantasies are untied from your reality today. They involve you making exactly zero real changes to your life. Future projections connect your reality today to your goals. They force you to visualize the changes you’ll make. Which prepares you to LIVE that change. It makes you open to the zillions of opportunities you’d been hiding from yourself.
Fantasy is all about BEING THERE while projections are all about HOW YOU WILL ARRIVE.
We like fantasies because they are no stress. Free dopamine. Good old, no strings attached, psychological masturbation. Future projections, on the other hand, can be REAAALLY stressful! Because they require you to mentally live out the stress of changing. To deal with your brain’s BS rebuttals. Future projections are nearly as changing in real life because they force you to “go there” in your head. It isn’t always pleasant.
The difference between fantasy and projection is the difference between literal masturbation and asking a gorgeous woman you like on a date. One is going to be easy as hell and ultimately unrewarding. The other is going to cause anxiety and have a much higher payoff.
In a minute you’ll go through the exercise of figuring out how your fantasies and future projections differ. And you’ll learn how badly you’ve been lying to yourself (yay, what fun!) But first, a recap:
Fantasies . . .
- Are the visualizations we indulge in to feel good
- Are disconnected from reality today
- Don’t inspire action
- Don’t inspire us to seize on opportunities
Future projections . . .
- Are visualizations that show us where we are going
- May fill us with anxiety and excitement because we KNOW we have to act to get there
- Inspire action
- Make us hyper aware of any opportunities to reach our goal
Your fantasy is what you want. Your projection is what you’ll get. And the gap between them is the magnitude of the lie you tell yourself about the person you will become.
Now it’s your turn
Want to change your life? Want to become the charismatic person who draws people in? To be rich and famous on account of your creative talents? Then you MUST change your fantasies to future projections. To do that you need to be reaaaally freaking honest. So get real here.
Yeah, actually do this. Grab a notepad. Open a word doc. Write this down.
You ready?? Like to ACTUALLY participate in the exercise!? It’ll take 2 minutes and it just might change your life.
So . . . when you’re ready to write . . .
What is your financial fantasy? Is it jet planes and mansions and complete freedom to travel? Write it down.
What is your financial future projection? Where do you genuinely see yourself in 6 months, 2 years, 5 years? Are you still working in some corporation, finally making enough to get a cooler apartment? Are you still concerned with having the money to buy plane tickets on your vacation? Write it down.
What is the difference? And are you willing to start seeing yourself actually DOING the things to achieve your fantasy goal? Write those things down too.
(this is me giving you time to write and THINK)
What is your life project fantasy? What would you like to spend your time doing? Are you internationally known as a philanthropic expert, being interviewed and hosting charity balls? Are you Batman, dealing out vigilante justice? Write it down.
What is your life project future projection? Are you going back for your MBA to “learn more” before becoming an entrepreneur? Are you a VP at your current company? Do you have a slightly successful online business which generates some income on the side? Write it down.
What is the difference? And are you willing to start seeing yourself actually DOING the things to achieve your fantasy goal? Write down the difference and allow yourself to really SEE yourself doing the things you’d need to do to get your fantasy.
(this is me giving you time to write and THINK)
What is your relationship fantasy? Is the coolest, most beautiful girl you’ve ever seen rolling over in bed to tell you how much she loves you? Are you blissfully happy? Write it down.
What is your relationship projection? Do you see yourself going to the bar on Friday night, passing by the pretty girl who is talking to a dude, getting drunk, and trying to hook up with someone who you’re confident won’t reject you? Write it down.
What is the difference? And are you willing to start seeing yourself actually DOING the things to achieve your fantasy goal? You know the drill. Write it all down and reflect.
If your fantasies and projections are the same, you’re either Russian Billionaire PlayboyMikhail Prokhorov or you’re not being honest enough. It should kinda suck to realize this stuff. You have to confront the ways in which you’ve been shortchanging yourself. The ways in which you have a low self-image, have been unwilling to change, or have hidden the truth from yourself. Then you have to go through the exercise of mentally facing your fears. You have to mentally see yourself doing what you know you should have been doing all along.
So be honest. Make it sting. Then start correcting course.
It’s no fun. But if you can make your fantasies and your future projections the same, you’ll be on the path to serious life-domination. And I promise: All your wildest dreams will come true. Just vote for Pedro
So what fantasies are you going to change. Write them now in the comments. Then if you want to use your own psychology in your favor, put your email in the form below. I’lll send you an email in 1 day, 1 week, and 1 month to remind you of your commitment to change your fantasies to actionable projections. Nothing works like accountability. You’ll also get sporadic life musings as well to help you live become a happier more charismatic person
Title Photo Credit: flickr
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