When You’re Not Willing To Wait Until You Win The Lottery
We all have things we’d love to do, places we’d love to see, experiences we’d love to have, maybe jobs we’d love to work at or passions we’d love to pursue…a lot of people call them dreams. But they use the word ‘dreams’ in a way that means fantasy, naivete, being unrealistic or irresponsible. They often qualify their dreams by saying something like, ‘when I win the lottery, then I’ll do blah, blah, blah…’
It’s weird if you think about it. We identify the thing we are passionate about. The thing that really motivates us and gets us excited preoccupies us in our idle moments and keeps us awake at night…and yet, we dismiss all of that as being unrealistic or irresponsible.
Think about that!
OK…honestly, I kind of get it. It’s easier to have a dream that you can talk about and never actually do anything about, because if you don’t try you can’t fail…right!?
If you don’t try you never have to actually sacrifice anything or invest your time, money and energy, you can just talk about it. And talking can be fun, and it can be super validating to have friends and family comment on how cool your dream sounds and how awesome it would be and how ‘some day you got to do that!’
The Truth About The Big Obstacle
Remember Jack Nicholson in the movie, A Few Good Men, when he screamed “you can’t handle the truth!” well…the truth is, if the scenario I just described describes you, then you are the biggest obstacle to making your dream a reality. And I want to tell you why that’s a pretty awesome thing. Cause a) I think you can handle the truth, and b) it’s the only thing that can set you free from the self-defeating B.S. that’s robbing your confidence and dimming the bright light of your creative brilliance.
Here’s why that’s awesome. If you are the big obstacle, then you are in the perfect position to become the big opportunity. Because you are more capable than you give yourself credit for. You have talents, gifts, and abilities that are unique to you. You have a wealth of experiences, good and bad, a lifetime of successes and failures that inform your perspective on the world. (You can get a sneak peek at where this has been leading me HERE)
Being creative and learning to make your dream a reality, means viewing all of these abilities and experiences in a new way that creates a solution for the problem you need to solve. You don’t have to come up with a solution that works for everyone else. In fact, your solution doesn’t have to work for ANYONE else. It just needs to work for you.
For example. Let’s say you want to travel, but you can’t afford it. Well maybe you need to ask yourself, is it that you can’t afford it, or does it mean that you’ll have to get creative and figure out ways that you can afford it.
My wife and I wanted to spend a year traveling around the world with our two kids, who were 9 and 13 years old at the time. We were living in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada at the time and our first house was a fixer-upper that we’d bought cheap and renovated over the years. So we sold our house and spent a bunch of the money we made on the sale to fund our trip. You can read about all of our hilarious adventures in FOUR HOMELESS MILLIONAIRES – How One Family Found Riches By Leaving Everything Behind. But even so, we had to get really creative. And I’d like to take a moment and dive into the nitty-gritty and give you some actual numbers and specifics because I don’t just talk the creative talk – I walk it, cause that’s what it takes to make a dream a reality.
Diving Down Deep Into The Nitty-Gritty
Two of the biggest costs, when you’re traveling, are food and accommodations. For instance, if we’d eaten in restaurants for each meal every day for the year we traveled even a conservative estimate would be,
Breakfast $10 Lunch $15 Dinner $25 = $50 ea x 4 people = $200.00 day
$200 x 30 days = $6000.00 month x 12 months = $72,000 a year.
That’s ridiculous! Not to mention being impossible to afford.
We bought 95% of our food in grocery stores and ate simply. Usually for around $30.00 a day. (Our kids still call it the world trip meal) It was usually a baguette, cheese, olives, sandwich meat, fruits, crackers, juice, wine. But we ate that simple meal on beaches, mountain tops, parks and in bunk-beds in hostels around the world. Instead of $6K a month our budget was around $900.00
Even coffee – Zara and I both love coffee, but it didn’t take any time at all to realize that $3.50 a cup x 2 of us, meant $7.00 a day for us to each just have one cup…and we need at least twice that. So basically $15 a day meant we’d spend $450.00 a month or $5,500 for the year just on coffee. So we got a Bodum that fit in our backpack, and bought great dark roast beans along the way and spent $15 a week, or $60 for the month.
Hotels for a family of 4 easily run $175-200.00 a night in most places around the world. That’s another $6,00.00 a month and x 12 months for another $72,000.00 for the year. Again…totally unrealistic for our budget.
So how did we do it? Well, to begin with, we hit up every friend and family member we could find around the world, sometimes choosing what country we’d visit or where we would go depending on if we knew someone there. We stayed with an old friend of Zara’s in Hawaii for two weeks. We jumped in on a cousin’s wedding plans in Malaysia and wrangled two weeks for free in an apartment no one was using. We stayed with relatives in Australia and friends all over Europe. We were in Italy for over 2 weeks and between staying with relatives and house-sitting for a friend of a friend, we ended up paying for a hostel for one night…the night before we hiked Cinque Terre.
We signed up for a hospitality network called Servas, an organization based out of the United Nations that connects travelers with hosts around the world. You should check it out… the arrangement lets you stay with a host for 2 days for free, and they feed you dinner! We used Servas in Australia and all over New Zealand, not only did we save thousands of dollars in food and accommodations, in the process we made some amazing new friends that we’ve been able to host when they came to visit us in Canada.
You can see how practical the process of making a dream a reality actually is. Instead of…
$72,000 for hotels + $72,000 for meals + $5,500 for coffee = $150,000 (not even including airfare, car rentals, activities, etc.)
$10,000 for hotels + $10,800 for meals + $720 for coffee = $21,520
That’s how we did it, but that doesn’t mean that’s how you have to do it. I know a family where the husband was a teacher who took a 20% deferred salary so he could take off the 5th year from teaching. On his year off from teaching, he got a job with an airline, so they could get airfare for the family rate. His teaching salary kept paying the bills, and the money he was making at the airline funded their vacations and their trip budget. That’s how they did it.
Another family I met renovated their basement into a suite, rented it out for a couple years and saved the money. Then the year they traveled they moved their stuff into the basement and rented the upstairs out. The rental covered all their monthly expenses and the money they’d saved up from renting the basement funded their travel adventures. That’s how they did it.
Now it’s one thing to say that you just need to see things differently and that alone will magically open the doors and all your wildest dreams will come true. But that’s not the story I’m telling OR the solution I’m selling. Making your dream your reality will take hard work. It’ll keep you up in the middle of the night, and it will definitely cut into the time you have for bingeing Netflix. But it is so worth it…because it’s YOUR DREAM!
The one thing that has made all the difference in the world for me to be my most creative and capable self, has been being part of a creative community. A community of people who are gifted differently, who come from different backgrounds and cultures and experiences, because this diversity is what helps us see problems in new ways, from new perspectives. From my personal (and ongoing) experience, this type of mentorship and peer-to-peer support is a game-changing experience.
So I have been working on creating an online framework that can allow other people, like you, to have access not just to me and the resources I have accumulated over the years, (which I’m not going to lie, are pretty frigging extensive) but to the inspiring and empowering people I know, whose stories and adventures continue to inspire and teach me week after week.
I get excited when people tell me about the creative solutions they came up with to common problems that we all face. I want to share these stories, these creative ideas, and innovation with you, and then help you figure out how you can do the same.
So this online community I’ve been working on is almost ready to launch. I’m just working out the last few details and making sure everything is good to go. If this sounds like something you’d be interested in being part of, you can pre-register HERE.
If you’re interested in being part of a community like this and are curious about how it might change your life in big or small ways, I’d like to ask you to think about the Top 3 things you’d love to do…if you won the lottery. 🙂 Cause that’s where we want to start when we get going.
Being Creative is a journey of discovery that is best shared with others. I will let you know as soon as we’re live so you can discover resources that can help you make your dream your reality and hopefully I can share the excitement along the way.