What Is The Difference Between A Wish And A Dream?

If all wishes came true – and then defined our lives from that point forward – most boys would be firemen or astronauts right now, and most girls would be riding pretty ponies off into the sunset. Wishes don’t actually have that kind of power over our lives, though, because until those wishes have been elevated to Dream status, they are just fanciful thoughts.

Fanciful thoughts, as much fun as they can be, don’t become much more than that until a burning desire to attain the subject of those thoughts is put into place. Without a sincere desire to attain whatever it is that we are thinking about, our thoughts can be simply knocked out of the way by other thoughts that take their place.


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Long-term lifestyle changes don’t take effect until we have consistently given thought to any given subject, and also attached powerful, passionate emotions to those thoughts. Think of the chaos that our lives would be made up of if every time we had a dreamy thought, our reality would be instantly whisked away, only to be replaced with the world that we were just thinking about.

Although it is certainly true that we can manifest anything at all into our lives that we desire, it takes more than just a passing thought to unleash our mastery over manifestation. Our desires must first become so ingrained in our thinking and feeling processes that we can’t help but think about them. If you have to remind yourself to think about your dreams, then those aren’t dreams, but rather fanciful wishes.

You can let go of a dream, but a dream never lets go of YOU.

- Joel Osteen

In today’s world of unbounded possibilities, it can be very easy to become confused when trying to determine if something is truly a long-term dream, or just the latest “wish of the moment”. Here are some tips to help you tell the difference.

Dreams don’t need to be Justified

If you truly want something in your life, then you won’t need to quantify your desires by then adding in details about what your dreams are going to do to enhance humanity, or to help save the world.

If you have always dreamed of being a professional golfer (just a random example), then you want to do that because it is what you want to do. It has nothing to do with changing people’s lives, improving humanity, or any other lofty goal. Your dreams are your dreams because you want them. That’s it.

If your dream life ALSO includes curing the ill, advancing evolution, and helping old ladies cross the street – well, that’s just so much the better. However, those perceived positive concepts do not necessarily need to be part of your dreams.

Your dreams are what YOU want, not what the rest of the world wants.

Dreams hunt you down

If someone comes back from a vacation in Tahiti, shows you pictures, and brags about how wonderful it all was, then it would be perfectly natural for you to start thinking about how great it would be to visit Tahiti.

The more that person embellishes the glory of their Tahitian vacation, the more you will want to enjoy that same experience. However, that doesn’t mean that your life’s goal is going to suddenly become doing nothing but planning and financing a trip to Tahiti.

On the other hand, if something happens to you that causes you to instantly fall in LOVE with an idea or a geography, and just like the love between 2 people, you can’t stop thinking about it no matter what you do, that could be a dream in the making. That dream will keep popping up over and over and over again, and you won’t be able to stop thinking about it, even when you TRY to.

I visited the big northern island of Kauai in the Hawaiian islands many years ago – probably close to 10 years ago by now. I was on vacation from a dot-com company during the height of the dot-com era, and I went to Kauai from my home in Seattle, WA.

The difference in lifestyle could have been measured, cut up, and served on a plate with a side salad and a cold beer.

The beautiful climate, the laid-back atmosphere, and the instant connection with Mother Earth was like getting hit with a wake-up bullet right to the head. I was instantly in love, and I couldn’t stop thinking about that lifestyle.

I had never even seen the ocean before that, but to this day I am a beach junkie (hence my screenname), I physically get stressed out if I don’t spend enough time outdoors, and my dream since that vacation and up to the present moment is to live in a house that is on the coast, and that is in a geographically tropical environment.

After that vacation I went from Seattle, WA, to Atlanta, GA, to Jacksonville, FL, to Daytona Beach, FL, and right now I live in Orlando, FL, with plans to very likely move to Cocoa Beach, FL within the next 3-6 months. Ever since that vacation almost 10 years ago, I have been in love with the beach and the tropical environment, and no matter what I do, that dream keeps hunting me down, and I keep getting closer and closer to seeing it realized.

Dreams are Bullet-proof

A true dream is something that you want and that you believe in having no matter what other people say. If all it takes for you to give up your dream is someone telling you that you don’t have what it takes, then that isn’t a dream.

A dream will never allow itself to be bullied, rationalized, or reasoned out of existence. Dreams don’t need petty things like logic and reason in order to survive. A dream is something that you want no matter how impossible it may seem to attain it.

If you find yourself seeking counsel from other people about whether or not your dreams should be pursued, then those aren’t dreams – they’re wishes.

To use the earlier example of a vacation to Tahiti, once you had decided that you really wanted to do that, you would very likely start a data-mining project to find out all that there is to know:

  • What is the most time/cost effective way to get there?
  • What are the best things to see/do in Tahiti?
  • How much money will I need for a vacation like this?
  • What do other people say about their vacations to Tahiti?

From a logical and reasonable standpoint, those types of questions make a lot of sense. Who wouldn’t research a vacation before going on it?

Someone whose DREAM it was to go on that vacation, that’s who! If you dream of Tahiti (or living in a house at the beach), then those dreams require no further study. Those dreams simply exist, and no amount of research is going to change the fact that you want them.


So, can you ALSO have wishes to go along with dreams? ABSOLUTELY!

Just remember that wishes fall into the “would be nice to have” category, and dreams fall into the “I gotta have that” category.

Pretty simple when you break it down like that, don’t you think?



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