Are You a Dreamer or a Realist?

People approach dreams in different ways. Some take dreaming to the extreme, while others play them down and are more grounded in reality. How you approach life determines whether you're a dreamer or a realist. You may believe you're a dreamer, but it's your logical mind that makes decisions. Or, maybe you consider yourself a realist, but deep down, it's really your heart that rules. Dreamers spend lots of time fantasizing and believing in extraordinary things. Their positive attitude gives them hope that good things will happen in the future. These carefree individuals have a vivid imagination that helps them escape the boredom of reality. Dreamers are extremely creative, often to be found with their noses in a book, writing poetry, playing an instrument, or honing their artistic skills. At the opposite end of the spectrum are realists. Focusing on what's right in front of them, they strive to learn the truth, whether good or bad and easily sort facts from fiction. Realists analyze and evaluate everything, weighing the pros and cons before forming opinions. These practical souls are independent, logical, disciplined, and great problem solvers.

History lesson

Fun facts about dream theory

  • Ancient Beliefs: In many ancient societies, such as Egypt and Greece, dreaming was considered a supernatural communication or a means of divine intervention, whose message could be interpreted by people with these associated spiritual powers.
  • Modern Interpretations: In modern times, various schools of psychology and neurobiology have offered theories about the meaning and purpose of dreams. Most people currently appear to interpret dream content according to Freudian psychoanalysis.
  • Dreams vs. Reality: People assign more meaning to goals than to similar waking thoughts. For example, people report they would be more likely to cancel a planned trip that involved a plane flight if they dreamt of their plane crashing the night before than if the Department of Homeland Security issued a federal warning.
  • Dreams and Beliefs: People are more likely to view dreams confirming their waking beliefs and desires to be more meaningful than dreams that contradict their waking beliefs and desires.
  • Ancient Mesopotamia: The ancient Sumerians in Mesopotamia have left evidence of dream interpretation dating back to at least 3100 BCE. Throughout Mesopotamian history, dreams were always considered extremely important for divination.
  • Ancient Greece: The ancient Greeks constructed temples called Asclepieions, where sick people were sent to be cured. It was believed that cures would be effected through divine grace by incubating dreams within the confines of the temple.
  • Freud's Theory: Sigmund Freud argued that the motivation of all dream content is wish-fulfillment and that the instigation of a dream is often to be found in the events of the day preceding the dream, which he called the "day residue."
  • Jung's Perspective: Carl Jung believed Freud's notion of dreams as representations of unfulfilled wishes to be limited. Jung argued that the scope of dream interpretation was larger, reflecting the richness and complexity of the entire unconscious, both personal and collective.
  • Archetypal Symbols: Jung believed that archetypes such as the animus, the anima, the shadow, and others manifested themselves in dreams as dream symbols or figures. Each represents an unconscious attitude that is largely hidden from the conscious mind.
  • Cognitive Process: In 1953, Calvin S. Hall developed a theory of dreams in which dreaming is considered to be a cognitive process. Hall argued that a dream was simply a thought or sequence of thoughts that occurred during sleep and that dream images are visual representations of personal conceptions.

Did you know?

The world needs both dreamers and realists

Many assume the great Walt Disney was a dreamer. He bought the world so much joy through his creativity. But he also had the ability to convert his imagination into reality. Those close to him said, "There were actually three different Walts: the dreamer, the realist, and the critic. You never knew which one was coming to the meeting."

We can't all be like Walt Disney. Luckily, the world needs both dreamers and realists to function. Dreamers have the positive attitude and imagination to explore new ideas and experience new things. They're creative, arty types without whom the world would be a boring place. On the other hand, realists live in the now. They weigh up the pros and cons of every situation to solve problems, make informed decisions, and get things done.

The two work well together. Dreamers come up with innovative ideas, while realists are the ones with the ability to focus on making those ideas a reality. Modern Family summed it up perfectly: "You see, the dreamers need the realists to keep them from soaring too close to the sun. And the realists, well, without the dreamers, they might not ever get off the ground."

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