Published in Thrive Global June 29, 2021

We’ve all heard it before. Quit daydreaming. Get real.  Be serious. Somehow as a culture, we’ve decided that daydreaming isn’t as important as doing. But what if there are hidden costs to always keeping our feet on the ground and head out of the clouds?

All new advances require “thinking outside the box”

Think about it.  What if Thomas Edison or Nicola Tesla listened to the people who told them they were crazy?  Would we still be sitting around in candlelight and using horses to commute?  

All new inventions require “thinking outside the box”, which is really just dreaming up a new future.  

All of the greatest inventors started with the idea that something new was possible.  They opened their mind to the possibility that life could be done in a different (and to them better) way.

They let their dreams lead their actions.  

Dreaming opens us up to a world of possibilities

One of the things that set us apart from every other living creature on the planet is our ability to think beyond instinct.  As humans, we can imagine outcomes and experience scenarios before they happen, simply by thinking about them.

We can experience life within our mind before it ever happens in the material world.  And this puts us in a magical position of “trying things on for size”.  Daydreaming allows us to see what it would feel like to experience something new and decide for ourselves if it’s something we want to pursue before we ever put any effort into it.

Dreaming increases our desire to create

When we have big dreams for our own lives, the lives of future generations, and humanity as a whole we have a reason to get up and do something important every day.  Our dreams fuel our actions.  They lead us forward.

When we don’t see a future that’s any better or different than our current state we have nothing to work towards.  We slog through our days doing the same things we’ve been doing, expecting the exact same results we’ve been living.  

We need the promise of a better future to inspire us to new actions and ways of being.  

It’s our ability to dream big that keeps us moving forward.  

That’s not to say that action isn’t important too.  But action without dreams will never lead us to a new and different reality.

How to use your daydreams of a better future to create that future

Step 1: Daydream

What would you like to experience in your life?  What do you wish for the future?  What do you want to leave as a legacy for future generations?

You have the unique opportunity to allow your imagination to run wild and see what feels right for you.

Step 2: Get Excited

Through your dreaming of possibilities you can find what really excites you.  And that excitement is what will get you moving.  

Feeling excited and passionate about a possible outcome is the fuel we need to get us up and moving.  It’s what keeps us moving when things feel hard.  

Stoke your excitement by dreaming of that future often.  

Step 3:  Take Action

Fueled by your excitement it’s time to get to work.  What action can you take right now to move you closer to your dreams?  Do it.

We don’t need to know the whole path, each step will unveil more steps for you to take.  Don’t let yourself get overwhelmed by trying to see the whole picture.  Just let yourself consistently move in the direction of your dreams, whatever that looks like for you.

Remember to celebrate every little (and big) step you take towards creating that future for yourself.   It’s a big deal what you’re doing, and the journey is worth celebrating.

And the next time someone tells you to get your head out of the clouds you can let them know you’re doing important work up there.