The 8-year-old me had dreamed of one day becoming a marine biologist, an astronaut, an entrepreneur and an adventurer (and I swear I hadn’t heard of Richard Branson in 1999). Sadly, like most dreams, this was crushed somewhere along the journey to adulthood. While I am thankful I will never have the opportunity to meet my 8-year-old self (the shame would be unbearable), I am thankful that there is still time to dream again.
We are taught to believe that dreams should be left to pre-teens, too naïve to understand the hardships of the world. It is beaten into our brains that we need to grow up, set attainable goals, have a stable job, stable life. Adults don’t dream – they accomplish things. It was only recently that I began questioning the norm and considering if this was really the only way.
I assume we would all have more to live for if we treated our dreams with a bit more respect. At the very least, we would have more passion, drive, energy, and purpose. I am not alone in this assumption – Tony Robbins, Oprah, and Tim Ferriss are only a few of many household names that attribute much of their success, drive, and passion to their ability to dream big (and then act on said dream).
So why do we have a great knack at squashing dreams when they are still in their infancy? I believe it is due to a lack of self-confidence. It takes confidence to believe that you, out of all people, could actually consider living the life of you want. It also takes courage. Following a dream is a risk, and there will always be a chance of failure.
The journey through life can feel strikingly similar to being lost in a dense fog in an unfamiliar landscape. Sometimes a small clearing opens up, providing relief from the directionless nothingness that has become the norm; a new house, a raise at work, Netflix, or maybe social media. Most of the time, though, you find yourself wandering aimlessly through the haze, unsure of what is next and where the hell you are going.
Dreams are like sign posts that pop up every so often, providing direction through the fog. A path to sunny skies; purpose, clarity, and a reason to live. It’s time to start paying attention to those signposts.
Seven Advantages of Big Dreams
1. Dreams provide direction in life.
Dreams, no matter how lofty, are the start of every achievable goal. A pattern shift occurs in the way you think and the things you pursue once you start taking your dreams seriously.
2. Dreaming develops creativity.
Learning to dream big removes barriers about what is possible. This is a creative task in itself, and by allowing yourself to remove those mental barriers, your creativity will flourish.
3. Your dreams say something about who you are.
Dreams are like a fingerprint. Everyone has something unique that they want to pursue, and it is impossible for someone else to tell you what you should want your future to look like.
4. Pursuing your dreams takes confidence and courage.
If you tell most people you are following your dreams, they will ridicule you and tell you to follow a more stable path. They won’t get it. Well, fuck what others think. The path to your dreams is a journey that only you will understand, and it will take a lot of courage and confidence to keep on track.
5. Dreams ignite passion and purpose.
Passion and purpose are grown out of pursuing something of your making, something that is close to your heart and values. Your dreams are only yours, and the journey to making them a reality will be fueled by passion and a sense of purpose.
6. Dreams inspire.
Your dreams have the ability to inspire others. Think of Elon Musk’s dream to go to Mars, or Martin Luther King Jr.’s dream to end racism. All massive change starts with one person’s ability to dream big.
7. Dreams allow you to love your Tuesday.
I had to throw this one in here… By always dreaming, you are able to see past the mundane. There is always something to be excited about. Each day becomes a step that you can look forward to in the journey of life.
So next time you find yourself day dreaming, feel free to get lost in your thoughts and stay there a little while longer. I guarantee that this is not just a childish past time. In fact, it may just lead you to a better life.
Prior to letting you go, I do want to mention that dreaming is only the first half of the equation – It is as important to move from dreaming to doing. I plan to write a future blog post on how to turn your dreams into a reality. Stay tuned, and happy dreaming.