SONY DSCI know the topic of pursuing your dreams is supposed to be inspiring. But what about this? What about not having dreams at all?

I used to dream of winning the lottery. One time, I was invited to join a group that was trying out meditating to see if you could cause a big lottery win. I bought a ticket. Then a strange thing happened. I thought maybe this technique would work. But that’s not the strange thing. The strange thing was my reaction. I felt dread. I didn’t want to win the lottery! What if we won? I was so relieved when we didn’t win. Of course I dropped out of the group so I wouldn’t mess up their experiment. No, I don’t want to win the lottery. It would change my life too radically, too abruptly. The change is not organic.

I used to have dreams of being a famous writer. I wrote a lot. I’ve always written a lot. Then I stopped writing. A friend asked why. I said I didn’t want to be published.  What?! She said, “I don’t know what to do with that.” (She’s incredibly supportive. I just really flummoxed her with that issue!) Okay, I figured out that what that was all about was that I couldn’t handle the extra work that goes with being published on top of a high-pressure job. But I could still just, write.

Recently I had an assignment, an exercise, in which I was to write down my dreams. I couldn’t think of any! I have some goals, but no dreams.

Does that sound awful? It doesn’t feel awful. In fact, it feels great. I like to write. I like to have short term goals about getting things done and I look forward to getting my next book on an internet site near you. And I like not having any dreams about the outcome.

There will be an outcome. People will read it or they won’t. People will like  it or they won’t. Regardless, I’m going to keep writing. Writing has nothing to do with dreams.

One time I thought, what would I do if I only had one year to live? The answer was exactly what I’m doing now. Just live. Wake up, write, have some coffee, email, message, Facebook, and blog-chat with friends, have some breakfast with my hubby, more of the above, go for a walk, cook dinner… But here’s the thing. Even when I had the high-stress job I answered the question that way. I wouldn’t change anything. Even when my day looked like get up at 5, first con call at 6:30, lunch at 2, emails, status reports, deadlines, a boss…

So here’s my case against dreams. Be in your life and enjoy it. Enjoy whatever you are doing with no thought as to what will come of it. Having dreams and working toward them takes you out of the present. You just might get your dream that way. And when you do, you’ll be able to enjoy it because it will just be your life and you have plenty of practice enjoying your life.

9 thoughts on “The case against dreams

  1. I like having dreams, but I don’t stress over them, if that makes sense. I have ideas or dreams of where I would like to go, but they are constantly changing. I like the way you look at Nia.


  2. I love this thought, Nia! I’ve recently done a bit of soul-searching on my approach and plan to make some changes. Living in the moment sounds amazing and a wonderful way to enjoy the journey.


    1. Hi RoseAnn,

      I’m glad this was helpful. It just hit me today. I think that western approach is good sometimes, but sometimes the eastern zen approach is good too. Perhaps a time of life thing. At this point in my life, the moment seems to be the place I’m happiest.




  3. I enjoyed this a lot. I used to dream of finalling in the RWA Golden Heart. After many tries, I did. The night of the awards I was all decked out in my gown and praying, sweating actually, that I would not win. I kept say, “Not me. Not me.” And the relief that washed over me when I didn’t win was huge. I realized then that I wasn’t ready for any big changes in my life. Fortunately, it took another year before my first book came out, and I had that twelve months to prepare myself. So, yeah. Dream. Just don’t dream too big. Ha ha.


    1. Robena, that is an amazing story. Thank you for sharing it. There’s a catch to getting something too big too fast. It’s much better to be ready for it. And being able to say “Finaled in the Golden Heart” on the cover of GONE TROPICAL is all the promo you need. (I’m loving it, by the way.)


  4. I have dreams but in order to achieve my dreams I have broken them down into smaller goals. Maybe I will never achieve my ultimate dream but achieving the smaller goals along the way certainly makes me feel good 🙂


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