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Reflection: Keeping Your Dreams Alive In The Face of Reality

Let’s be real – having dreams can be difficult in the face of reality.  Sometimes the demands of everyday life – work, family, money, etc. – can make it hard not only to achieve your dreams, but even to think of them.  Where you are now just seems too far away from where you want to be.  At this point, do you hold onto your dreams, having faith that you will figure out how to get there?  Or, do you let them go, and focus yourself on the demands of the reality you currently live in?

And, what about dreams that are far-fetched, non-traditional or extremely ambitious?  How do you hold onto those dreams?  Is it possible to live in reality and still hold onto an extremely ambitious dream?

This post has no answers (yet!), but has a ton of questions.  And I’d like your help in answering them.  So, what do you think?

  • Is it possible to hold onto a dream while still accepting reality?
  • How do you keep a dream alive when your current situation is far from it?
  • What do you think about non-traditional dreams?  Do these take our focus away from the “real” things in our lives?

Thanks for your help!  Feel free to leave your answers in the comments section.

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  1. Hi Amanda, those are good questions. I think a good dream is where your feet are on the ground and your head is in the clouds. It is grounded in reality yet reaches for the stars. For example, I can aim to make a million dollars a year but the business plan has to be realistic in terms of hit ratios etc. Does that make sense?

    Daphne’s last blog post..Do You Have A Personal Creed?

  2. Amanda Linehan Amanda Linehan

    Hi Daphne – That makes a lot of sense. In some ways it’s holding onto two opposite ideas at the same time (feet on the ground, but head in the clouds). Thanks for your thoughts!

  3. Hi Amanda,

    What a great topic for discussion!

    As the consummate dreamer I have had to learn to deal with this dilemma. There is a constant battle for my attention between my dreams and the pull of life’s reality. My dreams typically remain just that, dreams. Life has had to win over the abstract.

    This being said, it is my dreams that keep life interesting. I suppose they would be defined as fantasy in a technical sense but I do not plan on giving up on them. It is certainly possible to live in both worlds providing we keep as Daphne said, “our feet on the ground”.

    While we may never realize our dreams, they have impact far beyond fantasy. Dreams spawn creativity, allowing us to achieve much more than we could otherwise. It is the old “shoot for the stars and you may hit the moon” saying.

    I think our dreams can allow us an escape from the drudgery of reality when we need to. Some may do this too much, creating new problems. Non-traditional dreams may be the best kind. If we are going to dream, dream big!

    It is not that I don’t think I could realize many of the dreams I have chosen not to pursue beyond thought. Like most, I have had to prioritize what is most important in life and that is not always following our dreams. It is what it is.

    I hope we never loose our dreams and in spite of all our resistance, some of them come true.


    Roger’s last blog post..How Does a Microwave Work?

  4. Amanda Linehan Amanda Linehan

    Hi Roger – Thanks for your thoughts! The part of your comment that stood out to me the most is what you said about dreams “keeping our lives interesting” as well as spawning creativity. I guess even if are dreams are never fully realized, they still have an important place and purpose in our lives. I hadn’t thought about that before – thanks 🙂

  5. Hi Amanda

    Being someone who tends to want to focus on one thing, I battle with this. I suppose it depends on the type of dream, but I think there should be some time spent on steps towards at least some of them.

    Perhaps it is also good to take a look at one’s life as it stands – one may well already be living some dreams.

    I think that without dreams and steps towards those dreams, one’s life can start to feel meaningless.


    LifeMadeGreat – Juliet’s last blog post..Overcoming The Barriers Of Introversion: Starting The Process

  6. Amanda

    I had great dreams as a teenager and into my early twenties. Before life hit me. Getting a job, married, apartment, kids. Job turned into a career. Marriage failed. Kids growing up still. Apartment turned into a house (with mortgage to match). All by the time I was 30!

    Then about 7 years ago someone close to me asked me ‘What are your dreams?’. I realised with an immense sadness that I’d allowed life to push away my dreams of a better world.

    My complete inability to answer that simple question became a major turning for me and I started reawakening my sleeping dreams and doing something about them. For me, it became clear that a life without dreams was not really a life at all.

    Thanks for the reminder of that question!

    Ian Peatey’s last blog post..When smacking seems the only option

  7. Steve Steve

    Hi amanda,

    interesting topic for discussion – i guess the non-traditional type dreams can make us forget what’s most important in life – ie family, friends


  8. Amanda Linehan Amanda Linehan

    Hi Juliet – Interesting point about our dreams being alive in our day to day life right now. That’s easy to overlook, since we tend to believe that the grass is always greener 😉 I’ll have to take a closer look at my life right now – thanks!

    Hi Ian – Your story brings up some points that were the reason that I brought up this question. Truthfully, we do have to worry about the “real” things in life, but, as you pointed out, I guess there is something missing from life when we don’t hold onto our dreams. Thanks for your thoughts 🙂

  9. Amanda Linehan Amanda Linehan

    Hi Steve – Yeah, we don’t want to forget about the important things in life – like family and friends. I guess finding a way to keep both areas of our life “alive” is key. Thanks for your ideas.

  10. Thanks for this post. What I wondered when I read this was whether this has to do with a specific situation in your life — is there a dream you have that seems to conflict with reality? By the way, the pictures at the beginning of your articles are always tasteful.

    Chris Edgar | Purpose Power Coaching’s last blog post..Everyone Has Different Places To Grow

  11. Amanda Linehan Amanda Linehan

    Hi Chris – When I wrote this post I was thinking that having dreams requires that you have your feet on the ground but with the ability to let your imagination go anywhere. But I was curious what the readers thought. Sometimes I see things that seem very either/or and I just wanted to see what answers other people had.

    Sometimes my dreams seem far away, but like Daphne (above) has mentioned – I try to keep my feet on the ground and my head in the clouds. 🙂

  12. One’s perception of dreams and one’ sense of reality are ever-changing. o develop mental discipline allows a person to learn to prioritize what matters and disregard irrelevant distractions of a given moment. Yoru chosen graphic is lovely.

    Liara Covert’s last blog post..How do you know what it means?

  13. Amanda Linehan Amanda Linehan

    Hi Liara – The picture is a great one. I thought it fit really well. I like your mention of “mental discipline” as a force to keep what matters in the fore front.

  14. 1)I think you should hold on to any dream and commit to working hard until you get it. A dream is something that has can sometimes get you to focus on the future so just makes sure to spend time meditating, living in the moment. To help put your awareness, focus on each step you take towards your goal. Learn to enjoy what you do now and you will become more mindful.

    2) I use to think that only the things that come easy or natural to you or meant for you. The I started to listen to successful people like Oprah and Donald Trump. A lot of ambition people had a huge dream when they were a child. Nobody could talk them out of believing that they would achieve their dream. When things were tough they got going with the spark of passion to spur them on. Most people don’t fall into success by accident. It started as a dream. Commit to solving each problem that you encounter, instead of worrying about it, and you will be surprised by your ingenuity and perseverance.

    3) My favorite dream was this reaccuring “nightmare” that included getting kidnapped by aliens that had brains on top of their heads. The first few times I had it scared me , I was only five. Soon I looked forward to going to sleep because I knew there was a chance to experience this unique dream. I think that the more time you spend getting to know your true self the more obvious your purpose in life will become to you. Traditional is a label that does not mean much except that most people would find in typical. If you true dream is to get married and have 2.5 kids that’s great. If your dream is to build a city on the moon that will become a tourist trap, that’s great to. No matter what your dream is it will always feel to you like shooting for the moon.

  15. Amanda Linehan Amanda Linehan

    Hi LLnL – Thanks for your comment! “Most people don’t fall into success by accident. It started as a dream.” Beautifully stated. I think your comment summarizes very well the idea that dreams are the “sparks” of fulfillment. And even if you want to build a “city on the moon” it doesn’t mean you also can’t keep your feet on the ground. 🙂

  16. Will Martin Will Martin

    Great topic. Reason being is that it is centered on what we as individuals want. And what we “want” as human beings are ultimately important for us and drives us in almost every aspect of our lives.

    It definitely varies from person to person, and includes areas and disciplines such as spiritual dreams, financial dreams, career dreams, healthy lifestyle or fitness dreams, materialistic dreams, adventurous dreams, and the list goes on…

    The bottom line is that our lives are currently as we have thought about it in the past (Including the fears …). And if we had dreams about our lives (Or fears for that matter…), it is showing in our lives today. Our dreams and goals of today, will reflect in some or other form or matter in future, and this has largely to do with our minds. That’s where our dreams are born, in our minds. And from there our dreams become reality if we allow them to.

    Dreams and goals and objectives are tremendously powerful forces if we allow it to work in our lives. Our own cultures, day-to-day tasks, responsibilities, thinking, communities, religions etc, are the issues holding us back from actually realizing that those very dreams we have are the dreams which need to come to fruition to help shape us as the individuals we were intended to be.

    If we can close the gap between who we are right now and who we want to be on a daily basis, we will be living the lives we want and deserve.

    Dreams are extremely important is my feeling and humble opinion. It makes you feel alive. But we also need to understand that the paradigm shift from accepting “reality” and believing that dreams might just come true, are of utmost importance. You have to believe it. A wise man once said: “Whether you believe it or not, you are right…”.

    All of us are on different levels of spiritual development and awareness. And due to our non-believe systems and doubts, we tend to ask for justification of our own dreams through the eyes of someone else. Hence making decisions to pursue a wonderful dream based on someone else’s opinion… Someone else whom has no reference of our own circumstances and levels of awareness. Any dream, no matter how small or seemingly insignificant, is YOUR dream ultimately.

    It is ultimately about relinquishing the fears in our own lives (Mainly fear of criticism…) and allowing our dreams to just happen…


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