What You Can Learn From Sheldon Silverstein

Listen to the Mustn’ts, child,
Listen to the Don’ts
Listen to the Shouldn’ts
The Impossibles, the Won’ts.
Listen to the Never Haves
Then listen close to me —
Anything can happen, child,
Anything can be.

Anything Can Be

I remember as a child I would lie for hours outside in the grass under big white cumulus clouds and dream that they were alive. One cloud was a pig that effortlessly morphed into an angel. Another was a gentle giant that dissipated into a small mouse. As the clouds floated across the sky they would take on shapes and lose them just as quickly creating a world that I could escape in.

It was very make-believe, yet at the same time, very real.

Dreams and make-believe are a big part of childhood. But as we grow up, our dreams begin to change shape. We become so busy and are under pressure from unending obligations that we’re no longer able to find the time to dream.

Or worse, our dreams have been squelched because we’ve allowed ourselves to be affected by the mustn’ts, shouldn’t’s and won’ts.

Learning to dream again is a big part of goal setting and achievement. If you’re stuck and are finding it impossible to push through a weight-loss plateau, can’t seem to find the motivation to exercise, and are finding it hard to be excited about life in general, the only way to get unstuck is to start dreaming again.

Take a step back and start creating a vision for your future self that looks just like you wish it did. Ask yourself the question, “If I rubbed a magic bottle and a genie came out and granted me three wishes, what would they be?”

Now, rub the bottle again and pick three more.

Write your dreams down and start putting a plan in place to make them happen. You might even want to start a Dream Jar where you can stow away your written down dreams. Keep the jar in plain sight and it will be a reminder to stay focused on achieving your goals.

Go ahead and dream big dreams.  There’s no need to set boundaries for your ideas.

Anything can happen, friend.  Anything can be.

The poem the Mustnt’s is included in a collection of children’s poetry, “Where The Sidewalk Ends” by Sheldon Silverstein. Silverstein’s poetry resides somewhere between written for children and loved by adults.

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