Dreams: The Untapped Potential in Each of Us

I have this crazy idea each of us possesses a wealth of untapped potential: Our dreams.

original photo by Dirk Dallas

In A Millennial Manifesto, I wrote something that has resonated with a few of my readers:

Dreams are powerful.
Dreams contain the
untapped potential in each of us.
Dreams can shape the world.

I know what I wrote sounds a bit optimistic, but there is no denying it’s truth. Each of us, no matter what age, no matter what circumstance, possesses powerful dreams.

But more often than not, our dreams materialize into nothing more than “should haves” and “could haves.”

Top 3 Reasons We Don’t Chase our Dreams

I have a theory, based solely on personal experiences, that as we get older we value our dreams less and less. This notion is silly, because as we get older, we theoretically should have more resources at our disposal to achieve our dreams. So what’s holding us back?


Not just any fear, three specific types of fear keep us from acting on our dreams: fear of the unknown, fear of rejection, and fear of failure.

Fear of the Unknown

I live a complacent life — My job is comfortable; My lifestyle is simple; My car is a Rogue. Life is good.

What would happen, let’s say, if I achieved my dream of becoming a writer and being self-employed? Well, I’m sure my lifestyle would change.

I might have to work more to support my family. I might have to travel and be away from my wife and son more. I might worry a lot more.

Sometimes success can be just as scary as failure. I don’t know what will happen if I chase my dream, and this unknown variable frightens me.

So how can we overcome our fear of the unknown? Imagine the regret of never chasing your dream, and weigh that against your fear. I’d rather regret less than fear more.

Fear of Rejection

Does your dream seem “so unlike you?” That’s okay. We tend to base our identities on how others perceive us. So when we dream of a different “me,” we fear rejection from others close to us.

Let me stop right now and say: If there are people holding you back from chasing your dream, confront them. You should never tolerate others’ resistance from allowing you to achieve your dreams.

The fear of rejection is just something we build up in our heads. If you are surrounded by loving and supportive friends and family, I guarantee, you should have nothing to fear.

Fear of Failure

This is my favorite fear. Why? Because, I’ve learned to harness this fear into a source of fuel to power my metaphorical-dream-chasing-engine.

Before chasing your dream you need to accept one simple fact: you probably will fail along the way. All of the greats, from Albert Einstein to Jonas Salk, from Jeff Goins to Seth Godin have failed at one point, but that never held them back. Failure only made them better.

You can measure success by your ability to accept failure; If you can do this, you will clear the biggest hurdle in your way.

Still looking for motivation?

If you like what you’ve read so far, I want to offer you the opportunity to read my 10 Steps to Revamp your Dream Drive worksheet.

You can download the PDF by subscribing to my newsletter here (I value your info and promise never to spam you, expect 1–2 emails/week). As an added bonus, you’ll also receive my eBook, A Millennial Manifesto!

This post originally appeared on A Millennial Type. If you would like to connect deeper with me, please join my mailing list to receive a weekly email from me and more information about my newest book, The Millennial Way.

Stay-at-home dad. 9-to-5 escapee. Aldi aficionado. Me in a nutshell→ declanwilson.co/start-here

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