If You Can Dream It, You Can Do It

The Walt Disney Company, commonly known as Disney, is an American diversified[2]:1 multinational mass media and entertainment conglomerate headquartered at the Walt Disney Studios in Burbank, California. It is the world's second largest broadcasting and cable company in terms of revenue, after Comcast. Disney was founded on October 16, 1923, by Walt Disney and Roy O. Disney as the Disney Brothers Cartoon Studio, and established itself as a leader in the American animation industry before diversifying into live-action film production, television, and theme parks. The company also operated under the names The Walt Disney Studio, then Walt Disney Productions. Taking on its current name in 1986, it expanded its existing operations and also started divisions focused upon theater, radio, music, publishing, and online media. Source: Wikipedia
Walt Disney had a dream (and yes, there were more people in history that had a dream about something). Despite "failing" at school and being far from successful in the beginning of his life as entrepreneur, he had a strong vision of what he wanted to do some day. In the end, he succeeded and still today, Disney is creating movies that let us dream. My little sister used to  still behaves as the main characters whenever a new Disney movie comes into theaters - how many people can say from themselves that they have been such an inspiration to almost all of us? Right now, if the minions were from Disney, we all would dream of being minions (I guess, some of us do).

Me. Minon version. Well, the hair style is the same I guess...

To me, the ability of (day) dreaming is an astonishing feature of the human brain - whether you really dream it (at night or during day), you just wish for it, or you just have that feeling that you need to do it (and no, tack shopping does not fall into this category, that is sort of shopping addiction - different area of the brain).

Dreams (I use it as synonym for the "feelings" mentioned above) are not just there for fun, they are also kind of urge to keep us going. Dreaming of having a barn for example rises the wish for having a barn (or vice versa, who knows). And in the end, to fulfill this wish, I will have a barn (that easy!). In our imagination, we have a constant struggle of what we want to see, how it really is and how it could possibly fail. All these feelings are represented in the Imagineering Approach. Imagineering is a combination of imagination and engineering which was according to Wikipedia not invented by Walt Disney but by Alcoa. Anyway, the guys working at Disney Imaginations (using the imagineering apporach) have one goal: dream up, design and build all Disney theme parks, resorts, attractions, cruise ships, real estate developments, and regional entertainment venues worldwide.(Source: https://disneyimaginations.com/about-imaginations/about-imagineering/).

According to creativitypost.com, in an imagineering team we have the following "characters": the dreamer, the realist, the critic.

These three perceptual positions are in a constant struggle (welcome to the inside of my head, that is what is going on in my head all day long) but all of them are important. The dreamer generates the ideas that the realist checks for implementation and the critic helps to evaluate and refine the idea. With my dreams and wishes, it is not a real team taking care of checking the perceptual positions. But still, there are voices in my head (no, I have no mental illness!) doing the following jobs (brings me to the point that another great movie from Disney will be in theaters soon: Inside Out - talking about voices and little people in my head - Disney, if you read this, read further till you get to the "We have no sponsor" part and you might start dreaming about sponsoring us):

DREAMER. A dreamer spins innumerable fantasies, wishes, outrageous hunches and bold and absurd ideas without limit or judgment. Nothing is censored. Nothing is too absurd or silly. All things are possible for the dreamer. To be the dreamer, ask: If I could wave a magic wand and do anything I want - what would I create? How would it look? What could I do with it? How would it make you feel? What is the most absurd idea I can conceive? 

The dreamer (to the right)

Bold and absurd ideas? Seems these are working in high volume manufacturing in my head. That goes from "I need my own barn" to "We need to ride Grand Prix". I can hardly imagine to run out of ideas. I wonder if I could put them to a good use...

REALIST. The realist imagineers the dreamer's ideas into something realistic and feasible. He would try to figure out how to make the ideas work and then sort them out in some meaningful order. To be the realist, ask: How can I make this happen? What are the features and aspects of the idea? Can I build ideas from the features or aspects? What is the essence of the idea? Can I extract the principle of the idea? Can I make analogical-metaphorical connections with the principle and something dissimilar to create something tangible? How can I use the essence of the idea to imagineer a more realistic one? 
The realist (to the left)

And there we go, here comes the "mathematician" part of my brain. Is it feasible to have my own barn? When would I need to get up? Who would feed the horses (get the plural?!) when I am on holiday (well, here comes the dreamer again!)

CRITIC. The critic reviews all the ideas and try to punch holes in them by playing the devil's advocate. To be the critic, ask: How do I really feel about it? Is this the best I can do? What can make it better? Does this make sense? How does it look to a customer? A client? An expert? A user? Is it worth my time to work on this idea? Can I improve it?  (all descriptions taken from here)

The critic (to the left)

Wake up and face reality!!! How should I manage to have my own barn? I will never be able to ride proper canter so HOW can I ever ride a canter pirouette? Who will pay the enormous entry fees for international shows? With riding as bad as this, we will never have a sponsor! (Disney, your turn!)

I guess am SURE there is a reason why we dream of/wish for/long for/feel the urge and desire for certain things in our lives. Why is it that I am not dreaming of being an astronaut? Why is it that I feel more confident dreaming of riding Grand Prix than flying to the moon (imagine me riding a Gran Prix on the moon, I would be a hero, huh?!)? Dreaming of having my own house - sure, I am not thinking of living on a houseboat, or in a mobile home. Working towards having my own house seems obvious and that dream keeps me going (to work everyday) cause the realist knows money makes the world go round. The critic could just say it is never enough money but what can you do.

When I think about my riding ("career")(and again, due to whatever reason I can think about it all day long without getting bored), I can see all the different perspectives. Of course, the realist sees the long way and the hard work during training everyday, sees competitors and better horse/riders/horse rider combinations.The critic would mention (on a side note) that others have tons of money for better horses, do not have to work, can ride all day and thus, will ride Grand Prix with a higher probability (here's again to the mathematician in my head, you're welcome). How will a Haflinger rider make it to the Grand Prix? How will we EVER ride in an international competition?

As said, I am strong believer that these dreams come up for a reason. You dream of them because you can achieve them (as said, no astronauts here). Sometimes they feel a bit far away (to the moon and back for example). There is not only guru trying to sell his book to you on how to achieve your dreams (I might come back to that, too, the realist is just mentioning that earning a little pocket money could at least help me achieving my dreams). Probably it is just as easy as starting with some planning. And visualization. I am very good at the planning portion (I could be called "The Planner" and Hollywood should make a movie about all the check lists and planning I am doing all day long - except the times when I am dreaming...Disney, this is hint number 2 in case you missed that you were addressed in this paragraph), but I am lacking some times the visualization portion. While I can see something in the far far future (far far away as in Shrek), it feels difficult to imagine a victory at a ride at an imaginary competition tomorrow.

Obviously, I can believe in my long term dreams and see me cantering down the centerline finishing with a perfect pirouette while smiling at the judge, wearing a navy shadbelly, white leather gloves and a top hat - or helmet (mind your melon), feeling Hafl putting all his weight on his haunches to get him turned around. And off we go. And I feel happy, I can hear the crowd cheering (yep, I am taking more spectator engagement as given for the future of dressage! Where are my cheerleaders!?), I can feel the goose bumps (note to myself: I need to make sure that the shadbelly fits well that goose bumps have still space). These are the ingredients, as we all know, that it takes to make a perfect visualization (go check out some more tips here). And as stated in previous posts (here), the mind cannot distinguish between reality and imagination. So, the better the imagination the more our brain thinks that it is really true.

My mind can hardly distinguish between fact and fiction in this picture....

I know all the theory, also thanks to Jane Savoie (oh yes, I need to read this book again) but still, if not trained as much as real riding, it is easily forgotten. Right now, we face a dry spell in regards of ribbons. None so far. That fuels the critic in my head saying that we will not make it (not make it ANYWHERE!). We had been there before, so this is not an unusual stage during a show season (or during a rider's life). We miss something (like a ribbon) and forget that we still improve (the realist should go check the Austrian Dressage Riders' Ranking seeing us moving up and up!).

Nobody said it was easy, at least for me, dreams are still some kind of dreams, a tiny bit unreachable, a bit mysterious (that is why my urge for chocolate is NOT a dream, it is hard fact reality) but nonetheless, desirable. I once more stress that becoming an astronaut is NOT desirable, so I will never become one. Being a Grand Prix rider, on the contrary is, and even if we not get there (because as a matter of fact, some dreams will still be dreams after all), it is not impossible - since: if you can dream it, you can do it!


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