You have a right to have more than one dream. Honest. We grew up with the question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” And, admittedly, throughout the years the answers may have changed. Yet, they all had a common theme, the answer was usually one thing.

“I want to be a doctor, a teacher, an artist.”

The answer for many of us was never,

“I want to be a teacher who creates art as a side-project.”

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Growing up we were encouraged to pursue our dreams, but along the way the “s” was removed and it turned into pursuing our one dream. As adults, we frequently dedicate all of our time and energy to achieving that one dream we love, which can be undoubtedly fulfilling. Here, tunnel vision is motivating because through this approach we learn to focus our attention on one thing we really desire. But, we tend to forget that we can widen the tunnel and apply this same idea to other avenues in life, too.

In a New York Times’ article on fundraising and volunteering, the author wrote: “When people give their time or money to a cause they believe in, they become problem solvers. Problem solvers are happier than bystanders and victims of circumstance.” By moving away from a tunnel vision approach we allow ourselves to become problem solvers in other aspects of our lives. This can include volunteering with an organization that champions your favorite cause or by joining a book club to uncover a new interest. If given the chance, pursuing different passions opens us up to a wonderful middle ground where anything is possible.

So, we need to dare each other to dream in plural. Making reflection a part of our daily routine can help us pinpoint what provides the most joy or how we can fill holes in our day with something we truly love — which can be more than one thing. Looking around at friends who are pursuing multiple dreams is a viable source of inspiration.

For me, inspiration was found in one of my closest friends. She has a nine-to-five job she loves, but this doesn’t stop her from auditioning for plays afterhours. She loves her dreams wholeheartedly and has decided to live a life filled with them. Her plays may never pay the bills, but who says all dreams need to have a dollar sign attached to them? Maybe the return-on-investment we need is the knowledge that we pursued and enjoyed something we loved.

Do you have multiple dreams? What are they?

Image via Sarah Maizland

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6 comments

  1. I love that: “Who says all dreams need to have a dollar sign attached to them?” I think as adults we put too much pressure on ourselves to cut out things that don’t have “value” (aka monetary value). But there is so much fulfillment in doing things we love for their own sake. This is something I started learning in the last year as I returned to dance class, knowing I may never be a professional, and took up painting just because it makes me happy. Whenever I find myself questioning the “value” of these dreams, I’ll remember this article. 🙂

  2. I have never thought of the multiple things that I want to do in life as dreams. I’ve thought of them more as passions. But whatever you want to call them, I dream of/have a passion for writing, teaching, fitness, technology, business, retail, art, design, and sewing/knitting.

    There’s a book that I think would be really helpful for anyone trying to achieve multiple dreams and make money at the same time. It is The Renaissance Soul by Margaret Lobenstine. People think in boxes, and those who have multiple dreams will find “comfort” in realizing that they are not alone. There is a box for them. It’s just a different one. And they will learn how they can achieve all of their dreams/passions without finding themselves in the poorhouse.

  3. This encouragement away from “tunnel vision” is both inspiring and liberating. The pigeon-holing perspective of maintaining just one dream disallows an individual’s full potential. A holistic approach to influence and involvement is crucial for the fulfillment of both dreams and responsibilities.

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  4. This was really interesting! I have multiple dreams but they all interconnect, they are:

    1. Help save the animals
    2. Help save the environment
    3. Help save the people

    but most of all

    4. Help save the world

    I guess I am a big dreamer but that is what I want to do 🙂

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