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Dreamer Personalities

By Dr. Linda Sapadin

We hear so much about hard-working, hard-driving, enterprising personalities, that you may be forgiven for forgetting that there are also many people who are just the opposite. Yes, lots of people are easy-going and laid-back. This doesn't mean they're stupid or lazy or slothful. Indeed, they may be quite bright, creative, and even ambitious.

Dreamer personality types fall in love with an idea but don't fall in love with the work that must be done to make their ideas happen. Yes, they want to write the great American novel or make the next great scientific discovery. They may talk about writing, think about writing, even dream about writing. But they don't write. Their ideas may be magnificent. But they go nowhere because the execution of these ideas is minimal or non-existent.

So what can you do if you dream of going from A to Z, but hate dealing with the difficult details that you need to do to get there? Here are some suggestions:.

Differentiate your goals from your dreams.
Dreams are usually loose-knit in structure. They may be visually appealing gossamer images: a gorgeous home, a major trophy, a professional award, a best-selling novel.

A goal, in contrast, is a more tightly knit enterprise, involving a plan with an explicit structure. It's best when a goal has:.

Objectives that are clearly defined;
Steps you'll take to achieve those objectives;
Specific time frames to meet each step;
Resources you'll utilize as you work to meet your objective;
A goal line to know when you've achieved your objective.

So, keep on dreaming. And enjoy your dreams. But whatever it is you're truly striving for, make it a goal. Then, map out the road you'll take to reach that goal.

Be mindful of the difference between "feeling good" and "feeling good about yourself."<br>
Dreamers have a reputation for being overly passive allowing time, energy and goals to drift away as they watch TV, surf the net, or hang with friends. Being passive on occasion is fine, but if you remain in that state too often or too long, it will invariably be at the expense of your self-esteem and wellbeing.

Feeling good about yourself, as opposed to simply feeling good, has to do with taking pride in your accomplishments. On a short-term basis, you may not feel good as you push yourself to go to the gym or organize your stuff, or work on a complex project. However, on a long-term basis, the self-confidence and self-respect you'll gain from completing these activities will make you feel enduringly good about being yourself. So, as you get used to a more active lifestyle, don't be surprised if you keep racking up success after success.

Guard against thinking of yourself as 'special'.
Resist the temptation to engage in self-stroking reveries of being smarter, more talented, more interesting, or more creative than others. This kind of fantasizing can usurp the action you need to take to cultivate the talents you do possess.

There are countless ways that you can go about creating troublesome, ultimately self deluding gaps between your private image of yourself and your public image. Hence, it's a good idea to stay on top of your thoughts by asking yourself questions like, "Am I inflating this story?" "Am I getting carried away here?"

For example, you may catch yourself revising an experience so that when you tell the story, you come off more favorably than what actually occurred. You may recreate the time when you failed an exam, as a time when you refused to take the exam seriously on principle, leaving the reluctant prof with no choice but to give you an F. Or you may create an impression that is simply not true, such as, feeling at ease about a speaking engagement even though deep inside you're dreading it. Such discrepancies between your 'real self' and your 'dream self' undermine your belief in yourself.

Remember that no matter how smart you are, work still needs to be done. Even Albert Einstein did not rely solely on his super power brain. He attributed his success to his work habits, saying:.

"It's not that I'm so smart, it's just that I stay with problems longer." .

Linda Sapadin, Ph.D. is a psychologist in private practice who specializes in helping people enrich their lives, enhance their relationships and overcome self-defeating patterns of behavior. For more information about her work, contact her at or visit her website at

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