“If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them.” –Henry David Thoreau, Walden
It’s easy to dismiss our dreams as impractical or unrealistic, and yet it is precisely our willingness to take them seriously that leads to important social innovation and change—or perhaps simply a more fulfilling life. In fact, without the willingness to envision a better and different future, we are signing our power over to other potentially dubious forces at work in our life (people, organizations, institutions). So it is worth taking our dreams seriously, to take real responsibility for them, and also to subject them to a little scrutiny.
If our dreams are to act as viable blueprints for taking action, we need to engage our faculties for critical thinking and examine them for flaws. This requires research. It also requires patience and flexibility with the limitations of reality that may lead to alterations of the original vision. However, this is all just part of the adventure, which is why as much as it may be important to take the venture seriously, it is just as essential to maintain a degree of levity, humour, and a spirit of play.
Taking joy in the process of building a solid foundation on which to give form to the dream we have for our life helps fuel creativity, and creativity lubricates the construction process by increasing the odds of effective problem-solving along the way. There will be obstacles to overcome, but they need not be reason for losing confidence. Obstacles are also opportunities. Consider that any great act of creation is not necessarily to be realized in merely following a recipe, but in intelligent deviations that may lead to rewarding new perspectives and unexpected forms of beauty.
The realization of our dreams tends to take a slower pace than we’d often like. But, they will materialize if we apply consistent effort in that direction—if we persist. It’s an evolutionary process, not a revolutionary one.
End of day, our dreams are of fundamental importance. They are a sign of life, an impetus to growth and ripening into a more full-bodied version of ourselves—a call to living a life less ordinary.