We are often told that our actions in the real world determine the course of our future. But dreams, too, can be important in helping us navigate towards a rewarding existence.

Dreams give us destination.
Every day we are challenged to find true direction in life. We can work hard in relationships, physical challenges, or creative pursuits, but without a shore to strive for, our effort is similar to paddling in the open ocean. Dreaming about where we’d like to be, and how we might get there, can give meaning to our individual journeys.

Dreams help us see past the ordinary.
The daily grind can make it seem like there is no time for creativity in our lives. We work hard, we meet expectations, and we get up each day to do it over again. But most of us need more to existence than a punch card – and dreams can help us capture this imagination and wonder, perhaps inspiring us to pursue the passions that do not necessarily result in professional success or financial reward.

Dreams give us courage.
In dreams nothing is impossible – no matter what the situation, we seem to be able to overcome all obstacles in our path. Paying attention to the resourceful nature of our dreams can help us see past our fears of failure in the real world, illustrating that what life has in store is worth more than holding on to the illusion of safety that comes from never trying and never risking anything.

While wishing for a better life and moving towards one are two different things, learning to embrace the imaginative side of our brains may help us make our dreams more like realities. To illustrate the fusion of practical action with valued imagination, here is a dualistic quote from Henry David Thoreau:

“I learned this, at least, by my experiment: that if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.”

Good luck, and sweet dreams!