What’s Your Dream? (Here’s How To Capture It)

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The vision of the three mountains

The original vision that was my “sure winner” in the Florence Brasser art contest. It didn’t win. Then. But The Vision ultimately prevailed.

You have a dream. It may be new. It may have been lingering in the back of your mind for years. Either way, you have a dream.

And it’s compelling.

If you’re like most people, you’re wondering “How can I achieve this dream?” If you’re ambitious (and who isn’t?), you’re wondering, “How can I accomplish my LIFETIME Dream?”

Many years ago, I wrote a column about an ironic first-place award I received in an art contest (see, “Sometimes Second Best Turns Out To Be the Very Best,” Mendon-Honeoye Falls-Lima Sentinel, March 20, 2016).

I say “ironic” because the winning drawing was a throwaway picture not meant for the contest. No, my real entry was more than a picture, it was a vision. A vision that gnawed at me since I was a young boy. I felt it was destined to win the art contest. It didn’t.

I hinted, however, that, despite its coming in third place (my brother placed second; thus, completing the Carosa boys’ sweep of the Florence Brasser Elementary School art contest), this visionary image was fated to play a more important role later in life.

This is that story.

First, how did my mind imagine this vision? Where did it come from?

I don’t know, but I have my suspicions.

My painting failed to faithfully capture the colors in my head, but my gut tells me those colors came from a place all Carosas come from: a small medieval village called Fontecchio in the L’Aquila province of the Abruzzi region of Italy.

Maybe my grandfather showed me a picture of the old country when I was a kid. I’m just not sure, but something tells me that’s where it’s from. Indeed, both times I travelled to Fontecchio, I could swear the image was there. I searched for it, found parts of it, but I couldn’t find the exact picture that I saw in my mind.

What is the picture? It’s a series of rolling hills cascading down into a valley that leads to three towering mountains rising from the edge of the horizon. There’s a singular tree planted in the lone foreground hill. From that tree begins a path that rolls down that hill, snakes through the hills below into a pass between the mountains, before emerging from the other side and running to the horizon. Above blazes a brilliant sun.

Of all the elements in the painting, the three mountains stand out. I didn’t give the picture a name, but the art teacher called it “The Three Mountains.”

Years later, when researching Fontecchio, I noticed the emblem of the province of L’Aquila contained three mountains. These represent the three highest mountains in Italy (Gran Sasso, Majella, Velino), all situated in the province of L’Aquila.

So, maybe there is an ancestral connection to the visage that has spent a lifetime in my head.

One thing that is certain, though, is the connection between this picture and what I call “The Lifetime Dream Process.” This graphic helps explain to people how they can achieve their own Lifetime Dream. Each part of the picture relates to one important piece to achieving your Lifetime Dream.

Lifetime Dream

The Vision became the cornerstone of something greater that became the keystone to an enduring philosophy.

Let’s start with the easy part: Your Lifetime Dream. As the name implies, this isn’t a quick short-term goal, it’s something that you seek to accomplish over the course of your life. It could be anything. No one can tell you what it is, though. It’s all up to you. It has to be far enough into the future where it’s meaningful, but not so far that you can’t imagine it. Think of it as being on the horizon (you can see it), but not over the horizon (where you can’t see it).

What is that winding road from the large tree to this horizon? That’s your “critical path” – what you need to do in order to achieve your lifetime dream.

How about the bright yellow sun shining down on everything? That’s your purpose – the meaning of your life. It illuminates your path, giving you greater understanding as to why you’re traveling that route. This is a little bit harder to figure out by yourself, but it’s not as hard to discover as some make it seem. You can still proceed on your critical path even if you don’t know the meaning of your life.

Notice how the path undulates up and down through those rolling hills. Those are your near-term goals that push you closer to realizing your Lifetime Dream. They’re easier to identify and easier to check off on your to-do list. But they are there, and you can’t ignore them.

Finally, you have those three mountains. Those represent the biggest obstacles between you and your Lifetime Dream. They’re often overbearing if all you do is look at them. That’s why going through the hills is important. These early successes will give you the confidence you need to overcome the mountains.

Beyond those mountains sits your Lifetime Dream. That’s where you will be some day.

Of course, half the fun in life is getting there.

Don’t forget that.

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