Dream Good Dreams

photo from kean kelly

If the world could be different in one way because you lived, how would it be different?

I’ve asked a lot of people this question lately, for two reasons. First, I think it gets at the heart of who we are as individuals – our unique visions for our lives and the world. Second, I didn’t know how I would answer my own question. I was fishing for inspiration.

I always tell people that their answer can be big or small, that it doesn’t have to be the end-all be-all of answers (after all, I’m usually ambushing them over coffee). And every answer I’ve heard has been illuminating and inspiring.

For myself, though, I’ve been trying to dig deep. I want to get down to my end-all answer, my beliefs about who I am and my place in the world.

So far, here’s what I’ve got: I would want people to dream good dreams, and to pursue them more wholeheartedly.

Our dreams are the stuff tomorrow is made from. Tell me the dreams of 1,000 passionate people and I’ll predict the future.

But most of us, most of the time, don’t value our ability to dream. We set our sights wherever our gaze happens to fall: whatever town, industry, relationship, or pursuit seems like it will make for a comfortable evening.

Life’s momentum charts our course, with comfort and security it’s usual aim. Not that this is bad. It’s just wasteful. Wasteful of the most unique gift in the universe.

Of the millions of galaxies each with millions of stars and countless planets, only here on our beautiful little rock do we know life to exist. And among the millions of species on our planet, only we have the capacity to dream the way we do: to envision something that never was and to make it real.

And if all of us, or most of us, or even just a committed few of us envisioned a world based on our common values of fairness, compassion, and respect for the earth, we could make it so.

So for 2011 I am challenging myself and you to dream better dreams, to pursue those dreams with more fire, and to support the dreams of the people around us. Because of course it’s impossible for a person to tell the future. But a few people together can dream a future that never was, and make it real.


  1. Really great question James – I might start using that to spark some deep conversation myself. And I would have to say that my answer might be pretty close to yours. Interesting to work through this question seeking into people’s perspective with reflections on the eternal.

    Great stuff.

  2. If the world could be different in one way because I have lived, how would it be different?
    My dream is that all people would know their worth to God. Not worth as in wealth, but the worth of their soul and the depth of His love and care for them… and in knowing this, that they might have the realization that they really, really matter to God, the creator of the universe.
    It would be incredible to know that because I lived, my children and grandchildren know this… and they also make the world different through their own lives and dreams.

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