The Truth About Dreams

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I’ve always been a very down-to-earth person. Any time Heath begins to explain his next out-of-the-box, creative idea, I begin scrunching up my nose thinking about how unrealistic or logistically impossible his dreams are.

It isn’t an intentional negative response, my mind is just pragmatic. Practicality is my default.

In that way, I’m not much of a thinker or a dreamer. This is the polar opposite of Heath. I am China and he is America. I play by a set of strict rules and he is probably off somewhere deciding to work in a bookstore on the beach while he learns to surf or become a cotton farmer.


Usually once he brings his ideas up, I start in with the same response. “You can’t just ___________.” You can’t become a cotton farmer to create a full business of growing cotton and manufacturing your own clothing directly from it. It’s crazy. It can’t happen.

And while I am so happy his dream of moving to North Carolina to farm cotton only lasted a week, I’ve learned a lot about dreams from listening to Heath’s freethinking.

1. Your dream will always sound ridiculous to someone else.
It doesn’t matter if you’re deciding to be an astronaut or to move to New York City or to have a baby. Someone will vocally have a problem with it.

2. Dreams are (supposed to feel) impossible.
They are dreams. The other night in my dream I couldn’t climb down a tree because Ursula from The Little Mermaid was at the bottom trying to kill me. How would Ursula survive on dry land? How did I end up at the top of a pine tree? It just isn’t feasible. It’s an impossibility.

That’s the nature of dreams. If your dream doesn’t have Ursula threatening you’re life and you can climb down your tree scott-free, you’re not dreaming big enough.

3. It’s a dream, not a plan.
I love planning. I love planning. Give me post-its, give me iPhone reminders, give me a calendar and I will write my plans for each day in all three places because I just love planning.

Plans give you certainty. Plans keep your hands busy and your head focused. Plans guide you.

Dreams do none of this. Dreams throw caution to the wind. Sure once you start dreaming, you can start planning out action steps and cut up your dream into manageable, bite-sized pieces. But it’s messier. It’s free form. And it can’t fit into bullet points on a post-it.

4. You can’t control your dream.
In Inception, Leonard DeCaprio argues that the most influential thing in the world is an idea. Once in the brain, it spreads. It consumes. This is how I view dreams. Once your mind, or your subconscious, gets a whiff of your dream, it refuses to be ignored. This might not be true for you, but I know my dreams insatiably nag at my mind and heart.

By no means am I dreamer, but I’ve gotten a lot better at opening my mind to the extraordinary ideas thrown my way. Like getting married in a wedding venue we found on a whim driving through Dripping Springs after a spur-of-the-moment road trip to California.

I know now that the cliché of being able to do anything, achieve anything, travel anywhere is really true. Once you become comfortable with dreaming, your story opens up to whole new array of endings. Here’s to our next adventure.

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