Each of us have arenas in our life where we’re often struck with inspiration and see possibilities that don’t yet exist. Inspiration is good because it allows you to see beyond what's real into the depths of possibilities -- and in doing so, we also touch the divine.
The problem for some of us, or maybe all of us some of the time, is when we get caught up in deluded fantasy instead. If inspiration is the divine, then fantasy is the hell dimension that drags us away from our live and into its pit.
Inspiration leads to reality
My college drama professor defined reality as "anything that is, was, or could be."
The "is" and "was" part is easy. We know what's real because we either see it happening around us or know it from past experience (our own or some historical record).
The "could be" part is more difficult. For anything to become real -- some new whiz-bang invention, some new political ideology, or some new whatever -- someone somewhere as to believe in the possibility and sometimes dream the impossible.
Believing in potentiality is called faith, inspiration, and dreaming and it adds constructively to our lives. Inspiration also vitalizes us because it gives us something bigger and outside of ourselves to believe in…not to mention being fun.
Consider Star Trek's teleportation, for example. You already know Gene Roddenberry used it as a fictional means of transporting beings and objects across space. However, the possibility of teleportation is very real today, although many kinks still need working out before we humans will be telling Scotty to “beam us up.”
The hell dimension of fantasy
There’s nothing wrong with a little bit of fantasy in our lives because we all need a little time to escape our real life. Occasional daydreaming about being Buffy the Vampire Slayer, super hero, or about being the hot-shot rock star on stage is perfectly healthy and okay.
Fantasy only becomes problematic when it overshadows our lives and devolves into delusion. For a quintessential stereotype, think of the never-grow-up men living out their Star Trek fantasies while still living in their parent’s basement well into their 20s or 30s.
How do you know, though, if your what you see in your mind’s eye is inspired or whether you're being a nutcase?
Here’s a Star Treky example.
You're inspired or visionary if you know that teleportation is not currently possible but believe that someday it could be with the right technological breakthrough – and you have ideas of what that could be. You're deluded if you believe that the technology is technically viable today and go sign up for a teleportation travel package to Jupiter.
Delusion is the source of investing your life savings in a con man, only to see the money go poof. Delusion is chasing after the love of your life completely trusting he or she is The One, only to find out that the one who is really The One is the one you've been overlooking.
Unfortunately part of the problem with being deluded can be a failure to recognize you are. It happens when the fantasy world is sooooo much more inviting than the real world that we elect to stay in the alternate reality.
Want to know another word for delusion? Victim.
Dreams versus fantasy
Now let’s make it personal. How do you tell the difference between a viable dream and a wasted-time fantasy? What’s the litmus test?
A dream is something you invest in and do. To manifest them, you have to ground dreams in the material. Otherwise they’ll just float away.
In contrast, a deluded fantasy is something you spend copious amounts of time pondering without ever actually doing anything about.
For example, if you’re 30 and working in sales but dream of becoming a doctor, then actions you might take to manifest your desire include going back to night school to earning any needed pre-med credits, sitting for GMATs, applying to and going to medical school, doing an internship and residency after graduation, and finally sitting for your boards. A fantasy of becoming a doctor is spending the same time daydreaming of how cool it would be to wear the white coat and run around saying “stat!”
I believe in dreams, big ones. So Dream yours, no matter how impossible they may sound to other people. Make them come true, though, by grounding them and taking action on them. Dream big, do it big.