Derek Sivers

Dreams are here. Details have changed.

Science fiction predicted that by now, we’d all be cyborgs like The Six Million Dollar Man or Robocop: humans with some parts replaced by bionic or robotic ones. Machine-enhanced abilities to see, hear, and communicate - our brains tapped into the central computer.

But if we let go of the idea that these robotic parts have to be under the skin, we realize we’re already there.

Our mobile phones do all of that, and they’re practically glued to our hands or ears. (In Finnish, the word for “cell phone” loosely translates to “extension of the hand”.) Thanks to the internet, we’re all tapped into the central computer, able to know anything, anytime.

The point of the science fiction prediction was our machine-enhanced abilities. They didn’t really need to be under the skin.

Yesterday, a musician friend said he really wants in-store distribution for his CD.

I had to ask, “What do you mean? You’re already on CD Baby, iTunes, Amazon, and everywhere else.”

He said, “I want my CD to be in record stores.”

“Why? Are people who want your music getting in the car and driving to one of the few remaining record stores, then coming back empty-handed, and giving up? Is anyone unable to buy your music?”

After we talked a while, he was actually really happy once he realized he already had full worldwide international distribution. Everyone who wants his music, anywhere on earth, can buy it instantly. He had been stuck on a 20-year-old detail that it had to be on plastic discs in wooden bins in certain kinds of shops that were popular 20 years ago.

Ever wanted to be on TV, or have your own TV show, watched by millions of people worldwide? You’ve got it. YouTube. A typical Seinfeld episide had 20 million viewers. Now the popular channels on YouTube have over 500 million viewers.

So why be on network TV, unless maybe you were more looking forward to the fights over creative control, having a dozen different producers and writers in the mix, and all of that?

Ever wanted to publish a book? Write it, then put it online, and let go of the detail that a big company needs to print it for you.

Even old dreams like retiring, sailing around the world, or living in a mansion can be done cheaply and easily if you revisit some old expectations of exactly how it needs to happen.

We can’t predict the future, so what old dreams of yours might already be do-able if you let go of some details, and remember the real point?