Dreams are an elemental part of being human. We hold and identify them as our own despite being harassed on multiple sides.

Dreams are a hell of a thing. When we’re young they’re all we have because as kids we’re at the mercy of our age. The upside is we have all this time in front of us to realize the dreams we have. Now to be fair some of our dreams are unrealistic: to be a race car driver, to be president of the United States, to be a princess. But some of our dreams are possible: to be a fireman or a policeman or a chef. Then there are those who admit when they were a kid all they wanted to be was a garbage man or a store clerk or work in a fast food restaurant. Those kids were the realists but why do we dream?

Dreams Realized 

If you think about it some kids do grow up to be race car drivers and someone will grow up to be president one day. As for the princess thing? Well, the official title might be tough to come by in our country but there are unofficial princesses everywhere. How about the possible dream? Surely the specifically trained and skilled folks that fight fires, keep us safe and make us scrumptious food had a definite aim. They went out, got training and schooling and became what they dreamed about when they were younger. And those so-called realists? Maybe they ended up in those jobs but I’d be a little surprised. Typically your sanitation engineers, retail specialists and quick-serve technicians are not there as part of their career path nor destination. No, those are usually a detour or unfortunately the dead end of a dream defeated.

Hope for our dreams 

One of my favorite movies is “The Shawshank Redemption.” In one scene, Morgan Freeman’s character Red states something along the lines of “Hope is a dangerous thing.” If this is true maybe hope is so dangerous because it’s directly tied to dreams and who accomplishes their dreams? Who goes out and becomes a race car driver or a chef or a garbage man? Even if our dreams fall in that “realistic” category what is our success rate in realizing them? The fact of the matter is that our dreams can often seem like some lofty vision out in the clouds, as ephemeral as they are unattainable. As I said, when we’re kids all we have are our dreams, and some of us set out in our latter teens or early adulthood trying to make those dreams a reality. Unfortunately life, like the massive, grinding penal system in which Red and Andy are enveloped at Shawshank, sets about disabusing us of our dreams.

Forces against our dreams 

Now, the systems are what they are, (which is a nice way of saying they suck or worse). Systems are set up to keep us in our place, where they say we should be. The system wants the status quo but dreams are the antithesis of the status quo. Dreams are the crazy, wide-awake at 3 a.m., disruptive to your circumstances things that are likely to get you hated on by those who don’t understand or hold a dream or who gave up on their dream after the world or the system beat it out of them. The irony of it is that often it’s the people who “care” about us that are our biggest dream de-railers.

People against our dreams

Why is that? Why, if you care for me, are you not my biggest cheerleader? Why, if you have my best interests at heart do you persist in telling me that the thing that I want just ain’t gonna happen? I’ve heard some postulate that those closest to us don’t want to see us struggle so they try and steer us away from what’s hard. And they’re right, dreams are hard. Our dreams often bend and stretch us in tortuous and uncomfortable ways. They put us through a wringer that our loved ones find difficult to watch. If you’ve ever watched someone you know suffer or experience great difficulty, even pain, you know what I’m talking about. They don’t want that for us and furthermore their ideas for us, their hopes for our lives, their visions of what would be awesome for us, don’t align with ours. Our dreams aren’t their dreams and that’s part of the core of all dreams. Dreams are personal and we shouldn’t try and dream for others.

We are our dreams

The intimate nature of our dreams makes them inseparable from who we are. That’s one reason why it hurts us so much when the forces above seemingly align against us. If we truly have a dream then it is held as closely as our identity. Any dream capable of being forgotten once we step off the curb into the parking lot at 5 p.m. isn’t really a dream; it’s just something we do. What we do might get us closer to our dream and I hope it does. It just won’t be our dream. For some the road is too long and too convoluted. For them the dream becomes a new bass boat or a new house or the coolest new i-thing. As small and materialistic as these things may be, some dream is better than no dream. Having no dream is a very dark place.

Us without dreams 

Without a dream we truly have no purpose. I said at the outset that as kids all we have are dreams. I’d contend that as adults, they’re all we have too. If success is the progressive realization of a worthy goal or idea (something I stole from The Strangest Secret by Earl Nightingale) I would argue that the goal must be our dream. Call it a goal or a dream, our purpose, our aim, has to have something on which we’ve set our sights. We have to have a target. Targetless people are the keepers of bar stools and coffee shop chairs. More than likely, they’re also the people that will present a bevy of reasons why your dream won’t work, how it’s been tried before and failed and is just plain stupid. Don’t listen to them.

We’re unique to our dreams 

How do you suppose they managed to become the occupier of that sitting apparatus? My guess is they took the advice of someone who loved them, bowed to the pressure of the world or listened to the person who formerly occupied that spot. They may think they’re giving you sage advice. They may think they’re saving you a lot of trouble and heartache and disappointment. They may be right! BUT, and it’s a big but, this is your dream and even though it might look an awful lot like “Harry’s dream from back in ’53” just as you’re your own unique person and certainly not Harry to begin with, your approach will be different. Who knows, maybe Harry tried once and gave up (something you have no intention of doing). Maybe Harry went after this dream for five long years and would have succeeded in the sixth if he hadn’t quit. You don’t intend to quit because you know that no matter how long it takes or how hard it gets, “quit” just isn’t in the equation. There are literally thousands and thousands of reasons why you’re different than Harry. So please, take courage.

Don’t ever give up 

All we have are dreams. You might argue that it’s the one thing that separates us from the other animals and you’d be right. Don’t relegate yourself to that lower stature. Dream. Think big. Put your whole life and your whole self into it. Become that kid again, the one who only had a dream. Then go for it. I promise you, the pursuit of your dream is all you have and it’s worth it. Don’t give it up.


What’s the biggest, most audacious dream you’ve ever seen become a reality? I’d love to hear the story.


If you liked this and think your friends might too, feel free to use the social icons below to share it with them. 

If you would like to return to the home page, click here