Probably. But it’s not that easy for most of us, due to one little brain design flaw. More about that in a bit.
When I was 25 years old I decided to sell my half of a very profitable business that required me to do almost no work whatsoever (it was a military hardware manufacturing business obtaining lucrative U. S. Air Force subcontracts and getting others to fulfill them. We would easily undercut large corporations like Lockheed, Boeing and Pratt & Whitney on the outrageous prices they were charging for their proprietary parts). I was young then, and my brain operated pretty unconsciously. If you can believe it, considerably more than the mostly unconscious way it operates these days (but not THAT unconsciously: last month I found out that the stress of continuing to run that business after I left contributed to my former partner dying of cancer 12 years ago!).
When the Unconscious Speaks…
Be that as it may, at 25 my unconscious brain decided it wanted me to start working much harder – by becoming a housebuilder. In order to be able to go along and make sense of this decision that my un- conscious brain had made for me, it cherry-picked a few facts and made up a story. The story was a simple one: I’ll get to work outside; I can go anywhere in the country I want and find a job; I will one day be able to build my own house.
Little did I suspect that a much larger reason my unconscious brain very likely made this decision for me was because, with my extensive ACEs-filled, early trauma history, if I didn’t begin spending a significant part of my workday moving my body and doing what I could to clear the disorganizing somatic markers out of my neurobiology, I would be consigned to living a much shorter life. I would most likely have predeceased my dead business partner, Dave. As it was, by the early age of 20 I had come close to death at least a half dozen times already – three serious motorcycle accidents, one gang fight, once hit by a car riding a bicycle, once almost drowning in Lake Quassapaug.
So, in essence, my unconscious brain was doing its best to have my back. It was trying hard to affirmatively answer The Big Brain Question for me. All I had to do was get my ass out of its way. Often easier said than done.
Dreamy Dream No. 1
Anyway, Dream No. 1, reasonably enough, was to one day build my own house – get the fundamental shelter requirement out of the way. A pretty concrete, straightforward dream. Except dreams only begin to take shape when you mindset them into goals. Goals require planning. There are steps you have to take. The steps to this goal were easy to imagine, write down, and consciously work towards accomplishing:
- Learn whatever I need to so I can build a house.
- Get money to buy land to build it on.
- Get money to pay for plans so I know what to build.
- Get money to buy materials to build it with.
- Get money to pay subcontractors to help me build it.
It becomes pretty clear pretty quickly that an important element in realizing this dream is going to be: get money. That proved to be the biggest hurdle, as it is for many people in the pursuit of dreams. Remember, there was no crowdfunding – no Gofundme, Kickstarter or Indiegogo – around in those days. And even if there was, it’s unlikely that a Give-Money-to-Mark-So-He-Can-Build-His-Dream-House campaign would have been very successful.
What’s In the Way IS the Way
But there was an even bigger hurdle that I had no clue about – the neurological structural design flaw I mentioned at the top of this post. Once I skillfully addressed that even a little bit, all the pieces came together and the house got built, almost as if by magic. I call that hurdle The Prefrontal Paradox. Essentially, it operates like this: a robustly wired, massively integrated ventro- medial prefrontal cortex is where our Executive Functions call home. It’s the one thing required in order to conceive, execute and carry out the steps (especially the money steps for people who aren’t comfortably raised in the world of money) necessary to get a dream house built. But in order to grow a robustly wired, massively integrated ventro- medial prefrontal cortex, you need to already have … a robustly wired, massively integrated ventromedial prefrontal cortex.
Hey! What do you know! I’m going to be giving a free, hour-long internet exploration on just how to go about growing a robustly wired, massively integrated vmPFC when you don’t already have one. It will be on Sunday, February 5th at 5AM Pacific Time (I’m using the early hour to test your commitment and dream desire here – if your dreams aren’t worth getting up early for on one single day of the year, then that’s good to know about yourself. Besides, what better way to celebrate National Shower with a Friend Day?). Email me if you’re at all interested. Invite your partners and shower friends: firstname.lastname@example.org