“All men dream, but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds, wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act on their dreams with open eyes, to make them possible.”
T. E. Lawrence
I like to think that we all take time out of our busy lives to dream once in a while. Whether we drift off to sleep at night with visions of what tomorrow could bring, or we stare out of our office window wandering away to a distant land of sun and sand, dreaming to me is an essential part of life.
It’s imaginative, it’s motivating, it creates a feeling of excitement and possibility. Or at least, it should.
The Good Dreams
The good dreams are the ones we have where we conceive of things that we know we can do; working harder, getting fit, eating right1.
They are the dreams in which we see ourselves living a better version of the life we’re in; doing the things we want to do to the best of our ability and having a shed-load of fun in the process.
Dreams that help shape our days and nights, our lives in general, they’re the dreams in which we can see the path forward and feel confident in our ability to take it.
Maybe we’re a little concerned about how hard it might be at times – getting started on a new workout routine, for instance – but we know that if we set our mind to it we can achieve whatever we want.
The Bad Dreams
We all know bad dreams: the ones that wake us up in a cold sweat in the middle of the night.
As we get older, though, these bad dreams morph from ghouls in the cupboard and monsters under the bed to missing that bill payment or something terrible happening to someone we love.
The worst of the bad dreams, though, are the dreams that hold us back. The dreams where we envision our insignificance, our incompetence, our complete lack of ability to do anything of which we can conceive.
Those are the dreams that wear us down. Those are the dreams that drag our energy, our enthusiasm, our confidence to unimaginable depths that feel impossible to get back from.
These are the dreams we have to actively combat. These are the dreams we have to fight harder and harder against as they increase in frequency. They are the dreams that prompt blog posts like last Friday’s.
The bad dreams can be our downfall, but only if we let them.
We don’t have to listen to our dreams.
You already know we don’t have to listen to our dreams because I know there are dreams you’ve had – the good dreams, the dreams of achievement and belief – that you have ignored, or failed to heed.
I know that we have all had good dreams that have faded away because we’ve woken up in the morning and stared at ourselves in the mirror and thought, “Who am I kidding?”
The only person you’re kidding? You.
You know what you’re capable of and your dreams can manifest this aptitude in many ways, but you can choose to ignore them.
If we can ignore those positive, supporting, motivating dreams of success and happiness, however, that means we have the power within us to ignore the bad dreams just as much.
We don’t have to be beholden to that subconscious voice inside us that tells us we’re never going to achieve anything we want to achieve.
We don’t have to listen to the critic inside us who tells us we’re nothing.
We can instead choose to listen to that singular voice who often speaks too quietly to hear that says, “You can do this.”
The Great Dreams
The great dreams – the dreams we should all wrap ourselves up in, cling to with all our might and find a way to bottle for later use – are the dreams in which we can do the impossible.
The great dreams are the dreams where we soar high above everything else, where we see ourselves achieving things we hadn’t even contemplated, let alone attempted.
The great dreams are the daydreams we have when we look out of the window and say to ourselves: I can do better. I can be bigger. I can try harder.
Dreaming the impossible gives us the belief in ourselves to achieve the incredible.
Reach for the sky and you may not get there. Reach for the stars and you might just touch the moon.
I’m so excited to be able to say that my first ever eBook went out to my email subscribers yesterday and it will be available for everyone to download from Friday, so be sure to check back to find out how to get yours. And if you want to talk about it afterwards, you can always email me or connect with me on Twitter.
Some other posts you might like:
- My biggest mistake (or why life is like an encyclopedia)
- Value everything: you never know whose lives you will touch
- Infinite Possibilities
- Getting life back on track: accentuate the positive
- How specific should we make our goals?
- OK, yes, I know, no one really dreams about eating right [↩]