Freud had it right when he stated that "men and women cannot subsist on the scanty satisfaction which they extort from reality." He believed that our tendency to daydream in our everyday lives was a tool derived from our basic pleasure principle.
Lately, I’ve found myself slipping into the fantasy of being awash on some Greek island, away from the confinements of my job.
In my fantasy, it’s a perfect, warm day and the ocean is rippling over my washboard stomach (in my fantasy, I’m also perfectly toned), while I’m being soothed by the right amount of sun.
This fantasy crosses my mind more than once while I’m stealing a few seconds in the sunlight to take out the trash. While I can only fantasize about escaping my air-conditioned, fluorescently-lit salon, the dream still makes me feel better… because, for a moment, my consciousness has drifted.
Most of us spend an awful amount of time indulging in thought and letting our minds wander. It allows us to indulge the self-expression and freedom that reality doesn’t always offer.
Fantasy = Purpose
Jim Rohn said, “Everything is always created twice, first in the mind and then in reality.” This is particularly true for those of us who have high aspirations for our futures.
We can spend hours and days fantasizing about a great idea before we actually take the necessary steps to make it a reality.
Fantasy = Insight
The tendency to obsessively wonder "what if" happens all too frequently in life. When we do this, we’re not consciously deriving anything beneficial from our fantasies; we’re just living in doubt.
Lord knows that I’ve spent far too much time lost in daydreams of past lovers, past opportunities and thoughts that make me feel so alive that I can almost taste them. But, the past and the future are not tangible, so for daydreaming to be truly effective, you must be gaining insight to something that will help you right now, in this moment.
Fantasy = Ideals
Since all of us have the capacity to have vivid imaginations, it’s important to remember that our whimsical fantasies will not always fulfill our expectations. When there’s a great inconsistency between our desires and our realities, fantasizing can become unhealthy.
Whether it’s wanting the Lamborghini, the pretty girl or the CEO headhunting position, fantasies will allow us to identify our unacknowledged aspirations and, perhaps, take another direction in life.
Fantasy = Self-Preservation
My childhood was a very unhappy time, and as a result, I often became lost in my own thoughts. My ability to switch off from my surroundings translated to writing fantasies on an old typewriter and later, spending many days alone in recess, writing in an old diary.
All were early signs that the ability to write had been gifted to me and would later blossom into full fictional novels.
Fantasy = Sexual Exploration
In the dark recesses of our minds, we all have erotic fantasies. Taboo fantasies of promiscuity, of threesomes, of exhibitionism, Oedipal complexes, Lolita complexes, BDSM -- you name it, we’ve fantasized about it. Does this make us immoral? Bad? Unfaithful? Of course not.
By focusing on the images, words and reenacted scenes in our minds, we can shed our inhibitions, self-esteem issues and anxieties and help ourselves where it matters the most: in the bedroom and in the real world.
Ultimately, fantasies allow us to break the confinements of society and make the world colorful. They allow us to transcend normality, dull habits and reach new heights. They're the reason why people like Ernest Hemingway, Stephen King, Michelangelo and John Lennon existed.
Fantasies are why all of us are capable of greatness.
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