Acting upon a dream

You know what they say, ‘if you aim for nothing, you’ll hit it every time’ (i.e. nothing!).

I was thinking of this in relation to dreams and desires today. I’ve come across people who don’t give themselves permission to dream or to think big. They wouldn’t put it as such, excusing themselves for being realistic. But for one’s dreams to live within the confines of a present situation severely limits the capacity to break out of that. Complete satisfaction with reality robs you of any motivation to better that reality. Goethe said that “to be pleased with one’s limits is a wretched state.”

True, there is always the element of lying to yourself: the things you dream may never come to pass. Friedrich Nietzsche said, “The visionary lies to himself, the liar only to others.” To be consumed by your dream with no regard for the present reality is foolishness. The dream becomes nothing more than a fantasy with no chance of coming to pass.

Let me then propose a balance, a solution that embraces both extremes: a dream gives the dreamer direction for their present reality. A dream without direction or foundation in present reality is merely fantasy. A present reality without a dream is a mundane existence. The purpose of a dream is to determine and motivate the direction from the present reality to the future reality.

Now allow me to use examples from my own life. I dream of being a great husband and a great dad in the future. I am neither of those at the moment (something to do with the fact that I’m not married, nor a father!). If this dream doesn’t affect my actions today, it’s just a fantasy. I will never become these things just by dreaming them: I need to get myself around married couples and families and learn from them, to pursue relational and emotional growth in my existing relationships, intentionally becoming the kind of person that I need to be. If I didn’t have this dream, the likelihood of my ending up at the same destination are even smaller – I didn’t even have the motivation to try, let alone something to act upon!

I may not step into my dreams overnight, but I refuse to aim for nothing. Even if the outworking of that dream looks different to what I originally saw, I believe my life will be different and better as a result of acting upon a dream.

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