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Arianna Huffington Arianna Huffington political powerhouse. media mogul. author.

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Norman Lear Norman Lear producer. philanthropist. tv legend.

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Kia Miller Kia Miller yogi. meditator. teacher.

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Simon Mainwaring Simon Mainwaring creator. writer. idea geek.

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Shannon Bindler Shannon Bindler Strategist. Writer. Life Coach.

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Mathieu Bitton Mathieu Bitton Designer. Art Director. Passionate Creator.

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Jorge Perez Jorge Perez Agent. Producer. Photography Enthusiast.

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be specific

Brian Center Brian Center Writer. Philanthropist. Community Transformer.

Brian Center has worked on the issues of violence prevention and strengthening families from many angles. He's the Executive Director of A Better LA. [www.abetterla.org]

PostCENTER

I still remember feeling frustrated by vague dreams when I was younger. My parents told me, “You can be anything you want to be.” I wanted to be successful, happy, or just myself. But what the heck did that mean!?

Now I dream specific. For instance, I’ve always wanted to transform inner-city communities. When I close my eyes and dream, I see myself reading research, learning about gang violence, walking the streets of Los Angeles, raising money to fund programs. And when I do those things in real life, I live my dream. It’s the most energizing feeling in the world.

It’s fairly easy to be inspired for a few minutes by reading a great self-help book or hearing a moving speech. But it’s challenging to stay inspired when the pressures of life are upon us and we feel out of control or overwhelmed.

Dreaming specific shrinks life’s pressures and makes inspiration a daily occurrence. After all, dreaming specific is still dreaming – painting a beautiful picture in your mind that’s full of hope about the future. Dreaming is a great escape. It allows you to escape from the immediate past – over which you no longer have any control – and move into the future, over which you have much more control.

Tricks? I have two. First, I write specific goals on index cards and keep them with me at all times. When I lose focus, hope, or patience, I pull the cards out, close my eyes and picture myself accomplishing those goals. I engage in a brief, specific dream session, often about what I’m going to do over the next few hours.

Second, I recite my core values, the concepts I think should never be bent or broken – in the form of an elevator pitch to myself that reminds me of what’s most important in life. My elevator pitch is from the Bible: “To do justice, love mercy and walk humbly with thy God.” This is my three-part litmus test for almost any decision or thought process: Am I thinking clearly? Prioritizing well? Using my time wisely? I find that the answers are always yes if I’m consistent with my core values.

I dream in detail, then hold on to that image and never let go.

– Brian Center

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