Dreams and Ambitions


Let’s talk about dreams, shall we? Because we all have them.

Dreams are nice. We like having them. They let us envision something that we might not yet have but wish to have one day. Dreams act as encouragers for us to achieve things. Without dreams, we would not have willingness to do things.

But, just like in everything, dreams can be harmful if not used moderately. Too much of dreaming can detach us from reality. Too much of one dream can turn into obsession and bad ambition. I am going to focus on the second one here, but it will also touch on the first point indirectly.

How do we know whether a dream is turning into ambition? My answer to that is ‘when we do not let any other option in our minds’.

Let me give you an example.

By now you know that I like studying and I always have. When I was going to apply for an MA program in Turkey years ago, I watched my dream become an ambition. Well, actually, I did not know at the time. I noticed this change in hindsight.

With my first ever linguistics class, I realized I wanted to do linguistics. Doing an MA was the best option for me because focused study is how you can best deepen your knowledge in any field. Until the last year of my undergrad years, I just took linguistics classes and enjoyed them all.

When the last year of undergrad studies came, things started changing. Now, the situation was becoming more serious because soon I would be out of school. So I either needed to find a job or do an MA.

I did not like the first option. So, it was out of question.

I wanted to do an MA, but not just anywhere. It had to be in my own university because it was good in the field and it had a good record of sending MA students abroad for PhD, which I eventually wanted to do.

I was left with just one option then: MA in my own university. If this did not work out, I would be jobless and schoolless. It was a big risk for me.

It did happen eventually, but what if it had not? (technically, I would lose only one year but that was also a no-no for me).

Now, thinking back at that year, I am thinking: I wish I had behaved more balanced. I could still have prioritized MA in my university as a career option but still have B-plans. Life is not black and white after all. It is true that I learnt a lot from this process and did not let (most of) my dreams turn into ambitions. At least in the best way I could. But this is an example, maybe the prime example, of a dream becoming an ambition and doing harm in my life (I was not that happy and healthy that years because of too much stress). I know this change happened because my dream became more than a dream: it became the only way I could envision my life to proceed. Dreams are more flexible.

That being said, what do you think about the connection between dreams and ambitions? What are your dreams and ambitions? Can you tell when your dreams become ambitions? Let’s discuss.


39 thoughts on “Dreams and Ambitions

  1. It is very well to have dreams, otherwise our life will be empty. It is also good when a dream becomes ambition but we need to make sure we still leave space for a plan B, for a dream B…we don’t need to let our dreams to condition ourselves…Never stop dreaming 🙂

  2. I agree with your distinction. I dream at night and fulfill my ambitions (goals) during the day. Sometimes, if I can recall them, my dreams inform my goals. Pairing realism with ambition gives you a healthy perspective.

  3. My dream is probably something that would take a couple of years for me to realize because it’s a big decision to be taken into consideration. But I don’t think of it as an ambition… My ambition is much more simple, but if I could, I would combine my dream with my ambition. But then again, it will take all of my time and effort

      1. But it is a huge step. Part of me want to realize it, almost desperately. But some part of me is also scared to do it. Leaving comfort zone is always scary though, right?

      2. That is true. You should get your mind ready for it. It might take time but don’t take the step before it is ready. Then, when you feel ready, you can do it.

  4. Dreams are visions, the mirage of an illusion on the horizon. It is all in the mind.
    Ambition is the desire and drive that pushes one to action. It speaks of movement, the conduit for one to make changes on the physical plane.
    There does need to be balance, however, as if one does not have vision it may end up causing devastation to ones current situation. Or destruction to the groundwork of what others had made before you.

  5. I like to say, “dreams are free”, sometimes it is nice just to day-dream about things that might not ever happen and that’s okay.

  6. Well, they say THE ONLY WAY to really make your dream happen is to HAVE NO PLAN BE, BE AMBITIOUS 110% COMMITTED! I attended a dinner that Robert DeNiro spoke at. He said about acting, “the ones that make it big in this business are the ones that NEVER GAVE UP!”

    I think I did not acquire my dreams precisely because I HAD A PLAN B!

    Now-a-days, I have no responsibility, no plan b, but life has robbed me of ambitions. I’m living day by day moment by moment and whatever The Matrix (because you truly have no control over getting what you want/desire) has in store for me, I’ll receive.

    1. Here is how I see this: I don’t think having a Plan B is a reason not to commit. Making something a priority is reason enough. The thing is that what we want might not work out, regardless of how hard you work. It usually does but not always. We don’t control the universe after all. In case it does not happen, we should have an open mind about options.

  7. It depends on how important that dream is for us. If it’s the only thing we want, then we should take the risk.
    If we are equally interested in many things, then you can have a balanced approach.
    But above all, life is unpredictable and sometimes the situation is not in our control, but our happiness is always in our control.

    1. Even if it is the only thing we want, sometimes what we want for us is not the right thing for us. So, while taking the risk, we should also keep in mind that it might not work out. I think it is about keeping an open mind at all times. What do you think?

  8. Good one Betul. I was always a dreamer. God gave me much more than my dreams. Now I dream only of big things – immensity infinitude eternity 😇

  9. This post reminded me of something I heard and really liked. “Goals are dreams with their work boots on”. So I guess it changes over when you actually start doing something to make the dream a reality.

  10. I have a question about this: What if you have a few dreams? I want to write TV for example. I went about what I needed to do and pitched a producer. They said yes. I wrote the show. (Yay me!) But… I also love blogging. I am blogging 5 days/week to build an audience and I read others. I do this because I also plan on writing more books down the road. Do you think I’m being smart about this (I loooovvve blogging and writing books) or am I watering down my TV ambitions? I have a plan. I have goals. I just wonder… is it too much? (I’m curious your thoughts. Thanks.)

  11. I am not sure that ambitions are in themselves bad. I think they only become damaging when we put them above caring for ourselves and those around us.

    Dreams then are perhaps ambitions that encompass others for everyone’s benefit.

  12. Greetings! This is amazing!! Enjoyed reading every single bit and look forward to reading more! I was wondering if you could checkout my new piece on a young individual in the community trying to fight all odds to make his dreams come true and hopefully comment some feedback to improve the writing style. Looking forward to hearing from you. – Kiran

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