Perhaps I’m following the wrong people on Twitter. When I look at the line of tweets each day there will always be one about what I need to do to realise my dreams. You know the sort of thing. Try this one, for example, by Joel Osteen: “Do all you can to make your dreams come true.”
But some dreams can be dangerous. To paraphrase Lord Michael of Jagger: “You can't always get what you want, but you just might get what you need.”
This modern obsession with ‘realising your dreams’ can smack of airy wish-fulfilment. Dreams can blind us, neatly blinkering away the reality of a situation in our effort to pursue some ambiguous state of satisfaction. In this article you see how two entrepreneurs’ dreams came crashing around their ears – and how easily they closed their eyes to the realities that were all too plainly in front of them.
So am I a cynic saying that dreams are a waste of time? No, I’m certainly not. Those who know me personally will, I hope, tell you that I am an enthusiastic and positive person with a quietly determined ambition to achieve what I’ve set out for myself. Martin Luther King had a famous dream but he was in no doubt about the harsh realities of achieving it or the fact that it would probably cost him his life.
But I’m not a dreamer. I say find the goals that give your life meaning and pursue those goals with all the skilled determination and persistence you can muster. But have the savvy to realise when a goal might be your undoing and change course fast!
I think T E Lawrence put it rather beautifully: “All men dream, but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds, wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act on their dreams with open eyes, to make them possible.”
So dream away. But wake up fast.