Why Is It Important to Have Goals and Dreams in Life?
Dreams Bring Zest and Enthusiasm
Dreams are important. As human beings, I think it is essential to have a goal. We all need somewhere to head to, and something to believe in. Dreams are like anchors that keep us on our path in life. We might not have the same dream that we carried with us when we were little, after all, we are always evolving and growing as people, and new experiences can nurture different passions. Without a dream or a goal, where are we heading? Whether our dream is related to our career or a personal mission, believing in something and wanting to achieve brings with it a certain zest and enthusiasm for life. It is the opposite of simply drifting along—it is change for the better. It can be the difference between excitement and apathy.
"Nothing can stop the man with the right mental attitude from achieving his goal; nothing on earth can help the man with the wrong mental attitude."—Thomas Jefferson
When Dreams Aren't There
When I see youth in (often) deprived areas heading along a negative pathway, I always wonder what happened to their dreams. I think most young children, even though they live in the moment, expect to grow up and be something. My five-year-old told me last week that he wants to write children's books when he is older (uncannily similar to my own ambitions). Before that, he wanted to be a singer. Another time, he decided he would be an artist. Of course, the likelihood is that he won't end up choosing any of these career paths. The point is that he has ideas, however fleeting, of the future and his place within it.
So what about the youth who seem to have lost their way? Have they lost their dreams as well? We are all our own people, but our environment can have a huge impact on how our lives turn out. When there is nothing to spark the dreams, ambitions, and hopes inside people, then negativity often prevails. Everybody needs something to strive for, and reaching for goals fosters confidence and higher self-esteem. Our sense of achievement is greater when those goals are things we care passionately about. Our souls are enriched and we feel a real sense of happiness. It encourages feelings of fulfillment. It nurtures the perception that life is a rewarding experience, rather than just something we plod through. In fact, dreams can change our very philosophy of what our lives are really all about.
Of course, some people do seem to have an easier path mapped out for them. It appears as though life has been handed to them on a plate (although that is often not the case). Others might be plagued with the feeling that opportunities are elusive and out of reach, especially compared to those who come from a place of greater privilege or a background where ambitions are more actively encouraged. Dreams are for everyone. At the beginning, the core of each person's soul is infused with the same hopes and passions. It is up to us to act upon those passions and turn them into something real, and something to be proud of. The alternative is to let our dreams wilt away and fade to nothing, and that can only be sad. Many individuals, from all kinds of backgrounds, have fought hard for their dreams and succeeded. In the end, it is determination that prevails, and the belief that we can achieve anything if we really want it and really set our minds to it.
"You gotta have a goal, do you have a goal?"—Kit De Luca, Pretty Woman
"Always time to dream, so keep on dreamin'."—Pretty Woman
Not Giving Up
Even in bad times, our dreams can be the difference between sinking and swimming. Dreams help us to keep afloat since they show us a picture of how we would like the future to be. If we really, truly, believe in our dreams, then we actually envisage ourselves achieving them at some point. This brings with it a feeling of positivity and optimism, which we can return to even when we inevitably hit obstacles. Rather than seeing a setback as a reason for giving up on a goal, if we believe in our dreams then we can pick ourselves up and keep on going.
Having belief in our dreams is perhaps more important than actually achieving the end result. As a child, I was an enthusiastic skater. It was the height of Torvill and Dean's success—Bolero was the most memorable performance ever at the 1984 Winter Olympics. I was in an artistic skating club and they were my heroes. Actually, they were the heroes of everybody else at the club. We dreamed of being just like them. They inspired us. We practiced and practiced. We were passionate and life was an open road of promise and potential. In reality, this particular dream of mine didn't materialize. I gave up my hobby as I entered adulthood. I still remember the passion and ambition it gave me, and I carry the same zest inside me as I explore other avenues today.
When we hold our dreams inside us, it is easier to be optimistic when life isn't quite how we would like it to be. Rather than becoming infested in a pit of monotony and pessimism, we can see our current situation as transient. Our dreams are the light at the end of the tunnel. Without our dreams, life is darker and all the roads are blocked off. Often, when I feel that I am not where I want to be in life, then I imagine myself in a different place - one where I am already a success. It is an invigorating form of mental escapism. The image, rather than confirm that I am a long way from achieving my ambitions, reminds me of where I am trying to head towards. It gives me a surge of motivation and lifts me out of my current gloom. Basically, it spurs me on to continue on my chosen path with a bit of faith. Dreaming, combined with small, sure steps in the right direction, is enough to change my perception of life from pointless, to exciting and limitless. After all, birds have wings for a reason—it gives them the ability to travel anywhere they want to go.
Life—A Journey of Growth and Experience
I can't imagine not having a dream. I can't imagine being retired and pottering about at home without having any kind of goal to aim for. I like to think of life as a journey of learning and growth . . . a journey that doesn't just come to an end because we have reached a certain point when we think we've done it all. Being motivated and inspired surely helps to keep us feeling positive and worthy, even in our later decades. As we grow older, perhaps our dreams will change, but that doesn't mean we should let go of them altogether. Dreams can be huge, or they can be small goals that lead to quiet contentment. I remember that my late grandmother, in the last few years of her long life, still had dreams. She was approaching her mid-nineties and suffering from leg ulcers, which left her with chronic discomfort. Another wonderful lady that we knew at the time—a lady blessed with the gift of healing—was helping her with this. My grandmother remarked to our healing friend that all she wanted to do was to be able to tend to the flowers in her garden the following summer. It meant a lot to her - she loved flowers and life was still something to embrace and enjoy. There were still activities to look forward to, and she did achieve her wish.
I tend to have big dreams. My ultimate ambition in life, apart from raising a happy family, is to have a string of bestselling books published and to have at least one made into a film. I have not achieved this yet, but I am always inspired to work towards it. Aside from that, I love to communicate in any way using the written word. It is a passion that has always been inside me. It connects me to the wider world and allows me the opportunity to voice my thoughts and opinions, or to be creative. Every step that I take towards achieving my dreams, no matter how small, nurtures the feeling that I am at least heading somewhere. After all, as we persevere with our passions and goals, we are creating our own legacies and leaving a trail of experiences. I think that my worst feeling of failure would come from reaching the end of my life and realizing that I had not tried hard enough to make the most of my potential. The motto for all of us should be, "keep on dreamin'."