What is your dream?

I took the elevator to the 8th floor of a quirky hotel and settled into a lime green chair. It was time for my coffee date with Tay and Val, two filmmakers from Singapore.

Eight years ago, these women began an extraordinary adventure—they traveled to 40 countries, spoke to 5,000 people, and asked 1 question: “What is your dream?”

What they discovered is that everyone has a dream. It might be a tiny dream. It might be a gigantic dream. It might be a secret dream. But deep down, everyone yearns for something. Even people who initially say, “I don’t know” or “I don’t have a dream” eventually admit, “Well actually, there’s this one thing…”

After interviewing thousands of people and collecting thousands of dreams, Tay and Val created a short film about their experiences, as well as a website, a TEDx talk, and now, they’re writing a book.

I asked them, “What does the word ‘dream’ mean to you? How do you define it?”

They told me, “Most people think a ‘dream’ is a job title or a destination that you eventually reach. But we don’t see it that way.”

As Tay and Val explained to me, there’s a better way to describe your dream.

First, consider what type of person you want to be. “I want to be brave.” “I want to be kind.” “I want to be happy.” “I want to be strong.” “I want to be a source of light.” “I want to be someone who makes a difference.” “I want to be a role model for my kids.”

Second, come up with a few specific ways that you could start being that person. For example: “My dream is to be a role model for my kids every day, including today. I can be a role model in many ways: for starters, I can apply for a promotion at work, be more punctual, eat more vegetables, write that book I keep talking about, and keep the promises that I make.”

When you combine these two pieces together—the type of person you want to be, and a few ways you could start being that person—then you’ve got an amazing dream.

Try it:

My dream is to be _______ every day, including today. I can be _______ in many ways, including _______, _______, and _______.

When you describe your dream is this way, your dream becomes immediately attainable. Instead of feeling like your dream is so far away, or feeling like you have to wait for the perfect moment to start pursuing your dream, you can choose to be that type of person right now.

For example, if your dream is to “be a source of light,” you can be a source of light today whether you’re a high school student, a Senator, or a janitor, whether you’re a billionaire or not, whether you’re ten years old or approaching ninety-seven. You can live your dream right now. It’s not a future destination that you’ll eventually reach. It’s right here. It’s you. You are the dream.

What type of person do you want to be every day, including today?

What matters to you more than anything?

What is your dream?