The best success stories begin with a dream. What’s yours?

When we were children, we owned thousands of dream boxes, filled to the brim with future aspirations. We planned to travel the world, discovering the secrets of the universe as we catapulted through the unknown. We expanded our collection of dream boxes on a daily basis, paving the way for an incredible and unpredictable future.

As we grew older, we waved goodbye to this adventurous attitude. Clouded by financial responsibilities, we frantically chose a career, hobby, or relationship that felt safe and secure. We learned to structure our life with care, placing the various elements into small, compact boxes.

Meticulously organized, the storage shelves rapidly reached capacity, and we refrained from expanding our collection of dreams. There is little room for unpredictability in these boxes.

We stopped expanding our dreams collection because we hated the idea that all of our previous effort was for nothing. When we were younger, we never worried about wasting money or time. Now, the thought of discarding a  box for a new dream seems foolish. Unexpected opportunities are enticing, but we tell ourselves to be realistic, even if this attitude severely affects our happiness.

So we apply small adjustments to box, rather than replace it with a completely new one. We paint over the cardboard with a new shade of turquoise that conceals the previous tone of indigo.

Unfortunately, previous effort cannot be the sole justification for determining current happiness. By clinging to the past out of comfort, we disguise rather than actually repair.

The small color alterations are alluring. It’s easy to pretend we are satisfied with our lives, social media certainly ensures that. If someone else was to look at our boxes we could easily convince them they should invest in a similar collection. Somehow knowing other people want what we have, gives us further rationale for why the shelves should remain untouched.

The truth is that at multiple stages of our lives, many of these dream boxes will no longer be helping us. As we evolve, the elements that bring us happiness will transform too.

It’s entirely possible for the blue to never run dry. You could find a new shade to repaint the outside of your boxes everyday for the rest of your life. However, even if the exterior looks different, the contents inside will remain the same.

I’m not sure what you should do with your boxes. I could never tell you how many need to be replaced because everyone’s collection is different. However, try to remember your willingness for adventure as a child. Remind yourself that you didn’t allow fear of the unknown to prevent you from pursuing unusual dreams.

Don’t let the justification of past effort stop you from throwing yourself into new experiences. Take the elements of life producing long-term happiness with you, but understand lasting satisfaction is the collaboration of previous mindsets and future risks. Don’t make the mistake of allowing pre-existing boxes to stop you from exploring uncharted territory.

Adrienne Gagne attains happiness by continuously exploring uncharted territory. Her ultimate goal is to encourage new directions of thinking, not to sway others’ opinions to strictly align with her own....

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