I have a quote on my desk that says, “Make it happen.” I’m glad the quote is there. It helps me to remember that I can’t just sit in my chair and expect my daily list of tasks to magically complete themselves. But in one way, this quote is bad for me, and it’s a bad idea for most of us. When we have goals, dreams, and desires to do or become something big, a quote like “Make it happen” can make us feel that we, all by ourselves, are responsible to make our wishes and dreams come true. Thankfully, this is not true.
We are not omniscient, all-powerful beings. We can’t predict the twists and turns of life, we don’t know the best ways to accomplish our goals or how to get what we want, and we can’t force other people or the world to do something our way. When we set a goal and then immediately jump into action to “make it happen,” we often waste effort and time doing things that don’t lead to the results we want. To see what I mean by this, imagine Joe has a goal to walk from his home in Seattle to Los Angeles. Joe makes a plan. He decides the way to get to Los Angeles is to speed-walk on his treadmill every day for an hour. Joe believes he will arrive in Los Angeles in 6 months. He consistently puts in the time on the treadmill every day. He sweats, he struggles, and wears out two pairs of running shoes. In 6 months he is still in Seattle. He wonders what went wrong. He worked so hard. This is a silly example, but it makes the point that no matter how hard we work toward a goal, if we are doing the wrong things, we won’t achieve the desired results.
When we write down our dreams and goals, our job is to decide what we want and why we want it. We should be clear on our motives. Is what we want good for us? Is it good for others? If so, God/the universe will support us. It is not our job to micro-manage the details of how our dreams will be fulfilled. The how and the when belong to a higher power, whatever you imagine that power to be. When we take action toward our goals without inspiration, we may take the wrong actions and end up like Joe on his treadmill to nowhere. When we try to force our time frame on our goals, we may be acting against our best interests or the highest good of others. I have often struggled to reach a goal and felt that it was taking much too long to get results only to realize that the time spent along the way was for my good – it made me stronger, smarter, and better. I also realized a few times that, because my goals were group goals, accomplishing them depended on other people who were not ready to go as quickly toward them as I was. It would have been detrimental to those people to push or pull them at my pace.
So go ahead and set your goals. Write down your dreams and wishes. Be clear on exactly what it is you want and why you want it. Then stop. Let your dreams sit for a bit. Listen, watch, and pay attention to the tiny hints, the thoughts that pop into your head about how to proceed. Ideas will come. Then, take action based on that inspiration you receive. You will find that if you take care of the “what” and the “why,” and leave the “how” and ”when” up to God, you will not have to make anything happen. You will still have to work, but your work will take you in the right direction – until your dream bumps right into its fulfillment exactly when it should. Let it happen!