Define Big Dreams


“The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.” 
Ralph Waldo Emerson

What does “dream big dreams” really mean? The definition of “big” is: of considerable size, extent, or intensity.   While these three adjectives serve to provide a basic meaning, they can only be understood by way of comparison using a reference point or yardstick.  Context provides the subtle nuances that are lacking in the mere words – size, extent, intensity.

Humanity is small within the structure of the universe. The extent of our physical reach is limited by time and space. We live intense lives, but they are short compared to the duration of a star. William Butler Yeats once said, “In dreams begins responsibility.”  Perhaps “big dreams” are those that are universal, that endure beyond our timeline, foster a greater good and gives meaning to our existence.

“I don’t know what your destiny will be, but one thing I know: the only ones among you who will be really happy are those who have sought and found how to serve.” 
 Albert Schweitzer

Published by Rebecca Budd

Blogger, Visual Storyteller, Podcaster, Traveler and Life-long Learner

20 thoughts on “Define Big Dreams

  1. Yes, you have identified something important there…”universal’ and ‘beyond our timeline”. Interestingly, sometimes, our dreams start out very tiny and somewhere along the line become big.


    1. As I read your comments, the first thought that came to mind was by Winston Churchill! I agree wholeheartedly. Our dreams do start out small, then grow beyond us…

      “Every day you may make progress. Every step may be fruitful. Yet there will stretch out before you an ever-lengthening, ever-ascending, ever-improving path. You know you will never get to the end of the journey. But this, so far from discouraging, only adds to the joy and glory of the climb.”


  2. you have got me reading twice regularly – checking your structure to see if I have missed anything – 3 great interlinked quotes which all make me think – great


    1. You are too kind, Scott!!! Photos have a way of centering my thoughts, allowing me to look closely at the story behind the lens. That is why I love stopping by your blog – there is always an adventure.


  3. Your two quotes are extraordinary. Emerson’s quote sets the stage, I believe. Schweitzer gets to the root of the subject. Your post, once again, shows wisdom, thanks. I do believe that compassionate service brings happiness.


    1. We live and work within tribes. When one of “ours” hurts, we all hurt. It is natural for us respond compassionately. In the past, our tribes were relatively small; now, we have a global community where many are hurting. When we respond, we engage in a healing process that gives us a sense of purpose. As you said, “service brings happiness.”


    1. I think you have the right of it – they are an escape. An escape from mediocrity. I think that you have escaped a long time ago…you are the antithesis of mediocrity, my dear friend.


    1. Thank you! Yes, everything is relevant. Today, when I went for my walk, I met an elderly woman using a walker. She was acting on her dream – to climb a slight incline up to the grocery store. When she gave me a brilliant smile, I was humbled by her kind and generous spirit. I can walk now, but there will come a time when I will have her dream.


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