Dreams or Goals? Which one leads to sustained happiness?

Most of us are familiar with goals and goal making.

Dreams, however, reach deeper into our psyche.

For many, goal setting is an integral part of achieving success, but do we consider whether we achieve sustained freedom, fun, happiness and passion through setting goals?

As we age new goals are begun or older ones reviewed due to changes in circumstance - mid-life career change, personal or family issues, ill-health, divorce, bereavement. 

Many people swear by setting goals, yet for some, it's a challenge to maintain continued enthusiasm and motivation and here's why:

We’ve all set one goal or another at the beginning of the New Year, for example, haven’t we? We’ve followed it, but somehow - without any idea why - we find that the motivation, well, it just dips and dies - and guess what - the goal dies along with it!

Dreams, however, reach deeper into our psyche. They are with us right from birth, activating something far beyond our everyday life.

Dreaming our lives into being and achieving sustained happiness, peace and freedom. 

If we choose to birth our dreams into everyday reality, we’ll have no problem in maintaining motivation.  We tap into our passion, our reason for being, which means we will achieve all we set out to achieve.  There's an added bonus too, because we’ll collect vitality along the way.

"I've been an engineer all my life, but inside I'm an artist."

At 84 this gentleman - we will call him Gary -  is now living out his childhood dream.  As a youngster his whole world was devoted to nature and to drawing and painting; however, his parents had other ideas for him in the everyday outer and material world:  they encouraged him away from art and creativity and toward a career in engineering. "You'll always have a job, regular income." They said. 

If you measure a successful life by material means, he was successful. However, when asked was he happy throughout his working life the answer was negative. He yearned for the creativity and freedom of the world of the artist, he was lonely inside himself. Yes he had a wife and children, yes he had regular income. And no his heart wasn't singing. He was doing his duty. Nothing wrong with that, as many of us know. And how many of us, at sometime in our lives say "I wish I had kept doing that, or I have always wanted to do that myself." Of course, Gary dabbled a bit as a hobby. But for him, that wasn't enough. He wasn't living it daily, stretching his mind, his fear and creativity, natural to us all, but often repressed by many of us.  Yet in his words: "I couldn't disappoint my family, it was expected"

 "I am free and at long last at peace." 

At the age of 74, he re-activated his love for art by teaching himself how to paint.   His incredible eye for detail served him well, with his copies of Grand Masters receiving high praise. 

Freedom ~ Purpose and Passion at 84

What a difference!  This man shone with vitality. He was in touch with the true meaning of his life. And now? He is very much alive!  A respected artist at 84 years of age.  He was at pains to say that for him, age was merely a number because in his mind he was in touch with something much more significant than himself. Of course, he was, he was fulfilling his childhood dream!  Consequently, his mindset, behaviour and outlook on life were full of fun, freedom and fulfilment.  

Not a bad accolade to live by don’t you agree?

Follow your happiness gene

Contrary to what you might think, our world isn’t frozen in time, nor is life linear.

In the world of dreams its common to receive flashbacks - fragments to events from our dim and distant past.  Dreams have a habit of bringing forward events that seem jumbled up.  Long lost and forgotten hazy days in our childhood perhaps where we had not a care in our mind. Events occur into and out of existence. Our conscious memories only remember a minimal amount of all and everything we have experienced.

Imaginary Friends

In childhood many of us enjoyed living in our dream world, accessing all sorts of what parents might call ‘imaginary friends.’ I had a friend who was with me from the age of three until I was around six years old. He was a young monk in a monastery high up in the Tibetan Himalayas. I met him in ‘my everyday reality’ 50 years later. You can read my story here.

Have you continued dreaming in your adult years? Do you act upon them? As an adult, it can be helpful to 'access' our dreams and ground them in our everyday world.

Dreams give us access to vitality and passion, integral to living and ageing well.

They teach us how to listen to the inside of our beautiful mind as opposed to continually living in our outer world - an often demanding, stressful and full on 24/7 technological world.

 When did you stop dreaming?

The Shamans from the indigenous cultures say when asked to cure a member of the community of their ills:  “When did you stop dreaming?”

The Shamans know that when we stop dreaming, singing, dancing, share stories using our imagination, in other words, being playful and creative and having fun, we’ve stopped living the authentic life as a human being. Instead, we've restricted our freedom, shutting down our heart and mind to anything other than day-by-day routine. 

Just imagine what might happen if you turned your attention inside your own beautiful mind, listened to your dreams and acted upon them?  

Do you listen to the world you inhabit when you are asleep? Many 'old' civilisations maintain you are awake when you are dreaming...

I did. You can read my story here

 You can dream your life into being by living on the inside where  Fun ~ freedom ~ purpose ~ passion ~ happiness resides.  Let's all choose to live from that answer!



"Everything is possible and nothing is impossible. You are only ever limited by your mind."

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"We are all made of stars and carry eternity inside." Thich Nhat Hanh