5 Things to Gain From Not Achieving Your Dreams

Why Missing Out on What You Want Can End up Being a Big Advantage

The idea that there are things to gain from not achieving your dreams is difficult to accept.

We’re encouraged to follow our dreams or do things we think will bring us joy. If we’re told to forget our dreams or be realistic, it can bring up a lot of resistance.

Even though we all have dreams, only a small percentage have the courage to pursue them. An even smaller percentage will ever achieve their dreams.

What if not achieving our dreams can end up being an advantage?

Should You Fear Not Achieving Your Dreams?

Our dreams are important because they reveal our uniqueness and creativity. Most times, when we’re pursuing our dreams or living them, we feel most alive and function at our best.

If we fear not achieving our dreams, it means we’re making achieving them mean something about us. We’ve linked our identity to our dreams, which can trigger unhealthy thoughts and emotions.

If we pursue our dreams and not achieve them, thoughts that can get triggered include:

  • “I’m not good enough.”
  • “I should be responsible.”
  • “That dream or those dreams weren’t necessary anyway.”
  • “I shouldn’t waste my time going after my dreams.”
  • “Not everyone achieves their dreams.”

Even though not achieving our dreams may appear a bad thing, we can use our perspective to make up different meanings.

not achieving your dreams

An Example of Someone Who Has Benefited From Not Achieving Their Dreams

Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson had a dream to play in the National Football League (NFL). He thought his pathway to the NFL would be via the Canadian Football League (CFL).

In this short video, The Rock talks about how his failed dream turned out to be the best thing that never happened.

His “failed” dream has led to him becoming a well-recognised and popular celebrity in the world. He has also become one of the highest-paid actors in Hollywood.

Our lives still matter if we don’t achieve our dreams.

5 Things You Can Gain From Not Achieving Your Dreams

Here are five things you can gain from not achieving your dreams. These insights will help reframe how you view what you may consider “failed dreams” and cause you to do what’s best.

  1. You can use it as a catalyst to change direction. When things are not going as planned, it’s an opportunity to pause and look at what we’re doing. That can help us decide what are the right actions we need to take.
  2. You will appreciate what you already have accomplished. We don’t always give ourselves credit for things we’re already achieved. Constantly focusing on what’s next can take away from what we’ve already done.
  3. It’s an opportunity to reconnect to the real reasons why a dream is important. If a dream is not happening, we have to question whether the dream is still important. There are times when we go after something we think we want only to find later on it isn’t as meaningful.
  4. You will accept there is a rhythm in life. Things are seasonal or cyclical. Knowing that can give us confidence we can revisit our dreams at a later time. That will also help us focus on our immediate priorities.
  5. You will not be in a rush to get somewhere or achieve something. We often put a lot of pressure on ourselves to achieve what we want. Things will manifest when they’re meant to, according to the laws of the universe. We have to enjoy the journey we’re on while pursuing our dreams, without needing to hustle or force things to happen.

Final Thoughts

Our dreams are important, however they don’t have to define us or affect the quality of our lives. Not achieving our dreams can lead to new and better things.

Real joy is when we can let go of what we assume we need or how our lives are supposed to be and enjoy the present moment.

Action Step: If you’ve experienced not achieving a dream or have abandoned one, reflect on whether not achieving it has been an advantage. Decide what you will do to take the right next actions.

Question: What are more things to gain from not achieving your dreams?