Of Dreams and Illusions: The Search for Happiness & Significance

Is what you want really what you want?  Is your dream the destination, or the path to something else?

What if you get or accomplish everything you are striving for, and then feel like nothing has changed?  It’s amazing how sometimes a person can get everything they said they wanted and feel just as incomplete or empty as before they started.

Whether it’s something you want for yourself or for someone else, dreams are typically born out of a desire for something…  a desire embodied by a vision of a different life or a different world than the one you live in now.  But what if the vision you have tied to your goals is just a mirage?  What if the way you think your life will look like when you get there is nothing like the reality of what it is when you arrive?


Have you ever asked yourself why you want what you want?  The answer to this question can often be more complicated and revealing than we think.

Like many other people, several of my dreams have involved becoming rich and/or famous.  I have dreamed of becoming a professional athlete, an actor, a comedian, and even a singer (and I can’t carry a note).  Looking back, none of these dreams were based on my gifts or skills.  They were based on a desire to be accepted and admired by others for expressing my creativity.

Growing up I was an artsy introvert who often felt like an invisible misfit.  I always looked up to people with creative talents, and I longed to be someone so full of creative brilliance that the whole world would stop and take notice.  I not only wanted to achieve creative excellence, I wanted to matter because of it.

The problem was I had focused my attention on popularity rather than passion, prowess, and purpose.  The dreams I had chosen were not my true objectives, but paths to admiration and respect.  I was more concerned with what I would receive if I succeeded than the process, abilities, and sacrifice required to become successful.  Professions like sports, acting, and singing all required a certain level of talent and love in addition to hard work, and I lacked the gifts and passion necessary to fulfill those dreams.

Fortunately for me, I discovered the flaws in my focus earlier rather than later.  It is not uncommon for people to invest large amounts of time and energy into dreams that are not aligned with who they are or what they truly want.  Our ideas of what comes with an achievement often overshadow the reality of what it will take to accomplish it.  We are blinded by the illusion of the dream and become obsessed with a mirage, not realizing until somewhere down the road that we were so focused on a lie we ended up walking a journey that made us miserable.

Illusion 3

So why do you want what you want?  Your odds of picking a dream that brings you happiness and fulfillment are much greater if your why is aligned with your passion and purpose.  If you choose your dream based on a void you are trying to fill, you are bound to end up miserable and disappointed.  You will not find healing or growth in what you receive from your dream, but in what you give to it.

God blessed you with unique qualities and abilities for a reason and is less concerned with what you get out of your dream than who you become to achieve it.  Take time to get clear on your gifts, what you care about, who you want to be, and how you want to impact others.  Then choose a dream that combines your gifts, passions, and purpose in a way that’s true to your identity.

Jonathan Clark is a life coach for adults and youth who specializes in identity, purpose, career planning, and helping people manage themselves better to achieve goals.  He is also the author of Quote Quest, a guide to creating a life of purpose, fulfillment, and success.  Purchase Quote Quest on Amazon and follow Jonathan on Instagram or Facebook at Cra-Z-Dreams life coaching for more powerful content to improve your life.

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