This is a trick question. Don’t believe the click-baiters out there, don’t believe those who have more snake-oil than sense, don’t believe the latest listicles that will teach you what the writer of the list can only dream of.
The choice is a clear one between clarity and delusion. You can’t live inside of your dreams without losing touch with reality. If you have achieved your dreams, it’s not a dream anymore. It’s reality. Congratulations, you've arrived.
The only way to live inside of your dreams is to live in a fantasy. Sure, you can fake it till you make it, but without real feedback you might as well stock up on your favorite kool-aid, close your eyes and just pretend.
Eventually, however, it will get boring. You will have to open your eyes at some point. You can’t fake it with your eyes closed.
Fantasists live inside of their dreams in the blind pretense that things will somehow work themselves out. Visionaries accept their actual premises and exist in the space between it and their dream until the space dissolves, step by step.
The first step you take toward your dream is not the first step that is on record. It begins with an elementary shift in your mind; that the limits of your imagination are not the same as the limits of the world. The initial impact of radical honesty is cold, but its eventual embrace warm and empowering.
It will show you your wrongs, the things you have avoided, the glitches you've been carrying. It will show you what you lack. It will show you what you already have. It will rid you of the dead weights you might have begun to confuse for your limbs.
It will feel just like a cold shower: deeply uncomfortable during, invigorating and vitalizing afterwards. And the value of the ensuing comfort outlasts the cost of the discomfort. I call that a bargain.
This is what naturally happens when you accept all the uncomfortable facts and premises and all the constraining boundaries and limitations, they disappear. Only when you know what you are really up against, can you start with questioning them all: the boundaries, the premises, the facts, the limitations, the assumptions.
It is difficult to chart a course to your destination if you don’t know your origin. Or even worse, if you believe that you are already there.
The fool who thinks that he has already arrived will never realize how far away he is. The most important piece of information is the difference between dream and reality, the vital destination is their intersection.
Someone once told me that fantasists have the stories that you want to believe and visionaries the stories you don’t dare to believe. It might take creativity and boldness to dream big, but it merely takes courage to be ruthless in your appraisal of the facts.
The pang of reality might be uncomfortable, but the regret of a life thrown into the waste basket of consolatory fantasies will last until you draw your last breath. Draw your next breath and ask yourself what you are avoiding to know right now.