…but let’s talk about dreams. There is also another saying, “A dream without a plan is just a wish.” Does that make dream and hallucination one in the same and if so, are visions the only useful thing to realize? The short answer: I reject that notion.
Dreams are glimpses into a future.
Visions are glimpses into your future.
The difference lies between the layers of ownership. Let’s shift to a jumping metaphor. When we dream, we momentarily jump onto an opportunity to grow mentally, physically, or spiritually. A vision is a step above dreaming. Maintaining a vision is taking many jumps along a path. Although there are a series of barriers, visionaries continue to overcome them. We’ve taken ownership of our dream and taken action with a designed path leading toward accomplishing an end goal.
If I dream of writing a novel and becoming an author, I’ll pick at it every once in a while as I go through my daily work routine. I ponder occasionally with a flash of inspiration but allow my thoughts to dissipate. Life gets in the way and list excuses. But maybe I take a step to write a thousand words but I stay in a rut when I don’t find my muse or a spark of genius does not strike me. Visions remain dreams when they are stopped by obstacles or a lack of effort.
Visionaries face the same obstacles as dreamers. The difference is in approach. Occasionally Visionaries stumble into pitfalls or bumps along the path but they recover. Failure doesn’t impede their drive and determination. Visionaries have failed many times over. Failure is part of the process.
But there are worse things than failure. Worse than lacking a cohesive vision. Every dream has the potential to degenerate into hallucination. Hallucination is a vicious cycle of non-productivity. It can take the form of whining, complaining, gossip, or criticism. We jump once but stay in the same place. What begins as an optimistic opportunity becomes a negative routine or habit. No action is taken again. No endeavor accomplished. We become disillusioned and squander any opportunities we have. Larger systematic forces close in and crush our spirit. What if replaces I did. Hallucinations are dreams that go nowhere.
Here is a way to defeating the beast of hallucination. After dreaming, but prior to writing my novel I take inventory and establish my long-term goals and milestones. An audience is anticipated. Publishers or contacts within a network are established. I follow through with research, outlining, and a specific goal of 1,000 words a day. I cultivate a system I have defined or designed for myself based on principles that enable maximum productivity and efficiency. On the way toward a self-designated path, I become a visionary.
Yet, to feed a vision, we need to be conscientious in our planning, action, and flexibility. By taking action and being actively reflective throughout the process about our situatedness we can work out a path that allows the vision to be achieved. That is not enough. We must not fall in love with our planning and maps. Plans may have to be scrapped. Maps may stagnate new possibilities. In lean and changing times, visionaries must be flexible, it is a necessity.
It is dangerous to dream and it is dangerous to hallucinate. Both vary in their respective fatality. You can break a system or a system will break you.
Dreaming ultimately serves a vision. Dreaming is the first step, a platform to jump from. Visionaries cannot let fear of failure prevent them from achieving something greater. Something new.