Are Your Dreams Really Your Own?



A major value in our modern society is individualism. Almost everyone will proudly proclaim that they’re their own person, free and independent of other people’s opinions.

This narrative is so central to our culture that it’s hard for us to recognise and acknowledge to what extent we really are influenced by others. Your mission today is to find out what your dreams are like without anybody else’s influence.

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Task 1: Examine your dreams


To do this, you must first of all come to terms with the fact that yes, you are a product of the society you grew up in. Realise this isn’t a bad thing; humans need other humans to survive and thrive.

Acknowledge this and realise which part of your dreams and goals may be influenced by society. This is not to eliminate them! It’s simply important to have clarity about the origins of what you wish for.

Some examples of society’s norms and the goals based on them are:

  • Loving one’s family above everything else.
  • Finding your passion and making it your living.
  • Getting married and having kids.
  • Advancing in your job.
  • Material possessions such as a house, car etc.

your dreams
Picture by Greg Rakozy on


Task 2: Navigate the unfamiliar


Again, wanting these things isn’t a bad thing, nor does it make you uncool. To a certain extent, it’s part of being human. We’re social beings and much as our upbringing contradicts it, we do depend on the group to survive.

Rather, once you realise you really do want something, it becomes unimportant whether anyone else wants it or not. You become sure of yourself. You feel calm, centered, purposeful.

Finding your true dreams can feel very unfamiliar at first, so be patient with yourself! Here are a few questions you might ask to identify them:

  • If money was no object and everyone I love was perfectly taken care of, what would I do every day?
  • Where would I live?
  • Who would I live with, if anyone?
  • What passion(s) would I pursue?
  • How would I contribute to society?

The answers give you clues on what truly meaningful goals might look like for you.