04/10/2015 11:48 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

How to Stop Waiting and Start Living Your Dreams: Five Tips Learned From a Sneaky Renters Remodel

How often are we waiting to start living our dreams? We wait for the right job, the right location, the right people, the right weather, so that we can travel to that island, write that book, create that home and garden of our dreams, and live exuberantly.

Yet life is like the weather, unpredictable, and rarely perfect. This means we are stuck in a perpetual waiting mode.

Luckily, the way out is simple: stop waiting for the right what-ever, and start living as fully as we can, today.

The following five tips came from our crazy journey of "remodeling" a bland and generic rental balcony into a tropical island style outdoor room, almost entirely with discarded pallets and other recycled materials. And we did not break any rules as renters!

Here's what we started with, and our tip number one.

1. Believe It Is Possible

When we call something a "dream", it implies that there's a huge gap between where we are and where we want to be. Take this rental space which seems to allow little room for creative expression: can this look be further from our dream tropical island style? So we want to change the architectural style of a RENTAL?
Yes! It is POSSIBLE. That's all we need to begin.

Don't ask "How", don't list reasons why it cannot be, just say "Yes, it is possible."

The word "possible" opens up doors that seem closed otherwise.

2. Dare to Dream

To dream big is to connect with our deepest passions. To dream big is to let our imaginations fly as high and free as it can.

Connect with the feelings, places, people, and events that are the most uplifting, and weave them into a big courageous dream.
For our little balcony, we dreamed the vast ocean, the jungles and flowers of Hawaii, the fishing baskets of tropical Asia, the old wooden docks that tell the story of the sea...

Our physical body may be limited by time and space, our imagination knows no bounds.

3. Embrace Limitations as Opportunities

If refrigerator was invented 500 years ago, would we still have wine and cheese? The limitation of food storage obviously can be a good thing.

Life on Earth always contains limitations. Your dream might be writing a book. If you have a day job, the limitation could be "No time". If you don't have a day job, the limitation could be "Worried about money".

So what does embracing limitations look like? If you have a day job, you appreciate the sense of security and the 1 hour of time each evening. If you don't have a day job, you appreciate all the time and freedom to explore your passions.
In our case, each rule of a rental becomes a fun exercise in creative design. Then we added one more rule on purpose - no budget.

In my design work, it's not uncommon to see clients spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on a garden. I want this project to help as many people as it can, to demonstrate that creativity is a much greater gift than money. So we used pallets, fell in love with the characters of pallet wood.

When we embrace limitations as opportunities, we become more creative, and we uncover the hidden gifts underneath the so-called limitations.

4. Be the Change You Wish to See ...

Not just in the world, but in YOU and your life.

If your dream is to travel the world, even if you don't have the money or time at this moment, you can BE it.
Be a world traveler means talking to friends about their world travels, learn as much as you can about places you wish to visit, read about how others find money and time to travel, and imagine yourself inside all the stunning travel photos!

Before you know it, that dream will no longer seem so far away any more. You can almost touch it and taste it.

5. Take a Simple Step

When we started our journey to transform this lifeless space into our dream style outdoor room, it felt overwhelming whenever we think about how much work it would involve.
The solution is to keep our big dream in mind but focus on each simple step -
Take apart some pallets today? No big deal.
Measure and cut wood for the benches this Saturday? Easy enough.

The key here is to see each simple step as part of living our dreams instead of the dreaded work we have to do to get to our dreams.

So be a possibilitarian, live your dream, take that one step, and do it with a beautiful smile on your face, because you know that you are no longer waiting, you are LIVING.