Dreams and goals

By Sam "Disciple " Slater  "Often tossed aside as childish and left like old dolls, comics, action figures, and storybooks in the attic of your mind, dreams are your unattainable end. They are those things you can strive for, yet will never reach. They are those things that will constantly give you direction.  Many people trade dreams for goals, because they fail to realize that dreams keep you forever young, and forever growing."   Read more for the whole article.   Discuss in this thread

What is the difference between a goal, and a dream? Which is more important?

Most people I discuss that first question with tell me that they feel a goal is something that you can achieve, and a dream is fantasy, something that is unattainable. I have been reflecting on the subject of goals and dreams a lot lately, and I decided that their relationship is a little more complex than "one is real" and "one is fake". I will attempt to explain.

Where many people see goals as an end, I have come to see them as a means to an end. A goal is a device used to give you perspective and focus. It is something that pushes you to work harder than you might otherwise. But what happens when you achieve a goal? Is that the end? I say no. There is always something beyond, and always something more. More to do, more to see, more to experience, more to become.

So if a goal is a stepping-stone on the way to other things, and there is always something more, then what is the end? What is the final goal? Well, if goals are tangible, achievable, measurable things, then there can be no end goal. This is where I feel dreams come in to play.

Often tossed aside as childish and left like old dolls, comics, action figures, and storybooks in the attic of your mind, dreams are your unattainable end. They are those things you can strive for, yet will never reach. They are those things that will constantly give you direction.  Many people trade dreams for goals, because they fail to realize that dreams keep you forever young, and forever growing. These individuals are disheartened by any notion that those things that are not real or are intangible could ever be as useful as something concrete.  What they also fail to realize is that if one does not strive for the perpetual advancement of the self towards some fantastic end, then it is highly possible that upon reaching their tangible goal they will become lost and stagnant.  Like a tree, if you are not growing, you are dying.

So what about that second question? Which is more important?  From what I have deduced, neither of the two is more important than the other, for neither works without the other. If you have a dream, but cannot create the goals to try to reach them, whether long term or short term, then your dream is of no use to you because you will not be motivated to grow towards it. If you have goals, but no dream, you will at some point stagnate.  You need both the unattainable end, and the goals you can reach as you attempt to get there.

I realize that perhaps some people will need an example to visualize where I am coming from, so lets look at the dream of flight.  People dreamed of flying through the air, however humans cannot fly.  Despite our physical limitations, humans have found or created various other means of flying through the air, such as airplanes, or hang gliders, or parachutes.  This isn’t flying like Superman; however in an attempt to get as close to that as possible, look at the amazing things people have done.

Perhaps a more pertinent example can be found with the founder of Freerunning; Sebastian Foucan.  In Jump London, Sebastian states that when he and his friends were younger, they were always playing, always trying to be mythical ninjas or superheroes.  These children’s dreams of being able to move like magical and fictional characters propelled them to work hard, and find a way to move in a manner that, while it might not be as unfathomable as the movements Spiderman or the mythical Sasuke, it is still amazing.

So what's the point of all of this? Only a recommendation; find a dream, and I mean an impossible one. Then figure out what you need to do to try to get there. Set your goals, make them attainable, and get to work.  Just remember, you're probably never going to get there ... but you'll have fun trying, and who knows, perhaps you’ll find some other way to make that impossible dream come true.

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Written by Mark Toorock   
Saturday, 01 March 2008 03:11
Last Updated on Monday, 13 December 2010 22:05