If you’re a perpetual daydreamer, you know what it feels like to spend hours and hours creating a life you’d love in your head (maybe while looking images from Pinterest or blogs). And you probably know how painful it is to stare bleakly into space and being either bored or anxious with your present reality after being swept away from a daydream in which your current struggles are either smaller or nonexistent.
You might think the world outside of you, your current life, or external factors are making you unhappy, bored, or anxious. And you might be thinking that daydreaming about the somedays is going to help you manifest that daydream into real life if those dreams should propel you to work harder to get there.
I’m sorry to break it to you, but your dreams are making you discontent. They’re making you depressed, ungrateful, and downright lazy.
Daydreaming is a coping mechanism which hides your underlying fear of never being good enough, never doing enough, and never proving yourself enough.
Daydreaming diverts your attention from pressing problems that you’re too afraid to face. And these problems often relate to careers, money, and generally having lack of control over these things.
People are motivated by pleasure and comfort — they want to reduce the time spent operating in fight-or-flight mode (which often occurs when they face harsh circumstances, toxic work environments, condescending people, and emergency situations).
But some people aren’t merely satisfied with just pleasure and comfort. These kind of people are motivated by purpose. They want to do something useful so that they feel like their lives have meaning. They want to do it in their own way and not be told how to go about it.
And the best way to do both is to do something you’re good at that challenges you (without being too perplexing), work with supportive and like-minded people, and make a good enough of a livable income to avoid living just in survival mode. Just so you have more control over your life.
However, the truth is, this is a reality for only a few people. Most people are barely hanging by a thread and have no hope of recovery if an emergency should occur. Some people can live comfortably, but they are miserable in their jobs in toxic work environments. And only the few at the very top control the world and keep getting richer for it.
Daydreaming might seem like a reasonable thing to do. To avoid this reality. To avoid the bleakness of the future and all of the horrible things that will happen to the majority of people who are helpless against problems that are too big for them. It feels good for a time, but then it slowly seeps out of you and leaves you empty.
But like it or not, we all have to deal with Social Darwinism in our everyday lives. The strongest and fittest will survive, conquer, and thrive. Those who have no talents, no persistence, no access to opportunities, and no emotional support will end up living in destitution and without any hope of overpassing the strong ones. That’s how life works. That’s how it works in the animal kingdom. And that’s how it works with humanity. Toil, struggle, and more toil and struggle. An endlessly raging battle.
Your daydreams are making you discontent because you have no way of making them real since there are financial, time, and physical constraints. You have no control over situations because much of success depends on being accepted by the right people who can give you opportunities to prove yourself and keep building upon what you already have. You have to prove that you’re good enough, regardless of what your dreams might be. Your dreams don’t matter to people because they want to know how you can help them, not how you can use your dreams to comfort yourself.
You need to shift your awareness from a distant future to right now. And ask yourself honestly how you can improve yourself every day so that you act accordingly whenever difficult situations arise and whenever you have to prove your worth to people in order to ascend higher than you ever would be if you just remain stagnant.
No matter what’s going on in your life, this is a reality that most people have to face. Following your dreams is not the answer. Believing that you’re special and deserving of opportunities is not the answer.
In order to succeed, you need to be able to solve problems in the best way possible with your given constraints. You need to adapt to your environment for a time until you become good enough to make it adapt to you.
In the end, all we have is what’s within us and the more we’re able to evolve into more ideal versions of ourselves, then perhaps we can all have more control over our lives so that we’re not just drifting off into dreamland without facing problems head-on.
And this is what we all have to learn.
Originally published at christinefchen.com on December 11, 2018.