Are you a Dreamer or a Realist?


Night Dreamer Girl
In my last post I talked about “the triple constraint” (the idea that everything we do is bound my limitations on the amount of time, money and energy we have). When you truly understand this, I believe you can have and do virtually anything. You just can’t have everything.

That got me thinking of dreams.

We all have dreams. We all have goals, and things we want out of life. So what’s the difference between someone who has dreams, and a dreamer?

I frequently hear about dreamers and realists, as if these are two contradictory concepts or opposite sides of the coin. But I don’t believe that’s right. I think you can be both. Actually I think being both is a very positive thing.

Sometimes when I hear people talk about being a dreamer, it seems people are actually using the label of “dreamer” to rationalize a lack of responsibility for their behavior. Likewise the term realist often seems used to rationalize being negative.

That’s not what they are about.

To me a dreamer is someone who is sets goals and then is willing to strive for them, no matter how realistic or unrealistic they may seem to others. Often people are ruled by fear. They are scared to try things, and scared to fail. As a result they sell themselves short, telling themselves they can’t do something. A dreamer is someone who isn’t afraid to take a chance on that dream.

But being a dreamer doesn’t mean you will do something blindly. It doesn’t mean moving forward without a plan, and it doesn’t mean you don’t understand or care about the consequences of your actions.

Being a realist doesn’t mean you see the flaws in everything. It doesn’t mean you look for reasons not to do something, or reasons why you can’t do something. That’s just negativity. Negative people talk about why things can’t be done. Realists may see those things, but they don’t use them as excuses for not doing something. They are simply things to be aware of when doing something. Instead of saying they can’t do something, a realist says “these are potential problems, and this is what we can do about them”.

So being a dreamer is not contradictory with being a realist. They are complementary.

You can do anything you want with your life. Think big, set goals for yourself, and believe in yourself. Don’t let others doubts bring you down. But ground your dreams in reality. Understand that you have limits on time, money, and energy. Understand the implications of your actions and how they affect others. Acting blindly without considering others is irresponsible. But having a plan doesn’t mean you aren’t following your dreams.

Be a dreamer, but temper it with reality.

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7 thoughts on “Are you a Dreamer or a Realist?

    • I’m with you in that I’m definitely both. I’m fairly organized and grounded, but at the same time I have a lot of dreams and aspirations that work towards.

      Writing was always one, and in high school/university I hope to one day write a book in the fantasy genre. It hasn’t happened, but this blog at least gives me an outlet and practice for my love of writing.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I believe this is me however my husband says he is a realist but he is negative and has never worked toward a goal in his life (he has said this). I make goals & dreams and am shattered when they have to be rerouted. I take reality into my dreaming though. All of these concepts sure need a ton of self-reflection!

    Liked by 1 person

    • As I alluded to in the post, it bothers me when people use “being a dreamer” as an excuse to do whatever they want without worrying about consequences or the feelings of others. It also bothers me when people just say no to everything and use the excuse that they are being “realistic”.

      Some degree of ambition is important. It’s interesting that you mention your husband as someone who has never worked towards a goal in his life. I’m always interested in patterns of behaviour, and in many of the stories I hear/read about affairs, the person who has had the affair seems to have poor self esteem, needs affirmation from others to feel good about themselves, and also have very little ambition. Actually they may “talk” about all the things they want out of life, but they tend not to DO anything about these ambitions.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yes. Apparently I am finding this out now. I had no idea. I am stupefied. I’ve never lived this way and I do not want to live this way. There has got to be more than the immediate gratification cycle……. I always wanted more out of my life and by golly I’m going to get it somehow! I have always had ambition and integrity. How the heck did we even get married? LOL.

        I’m going to post one of my favorite songs – here’s to the ultimate dreamer – http://youtu.be/DVg2EJvvlF8

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: You can say that I’m a dreamer | Lolsys Library

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