We all have dreams, a vision of how we’d like things to be.

These aspirations don’t just include the things around us, in our environment, but also ourselves - who we want to become. This concept is known as the ideal self.

The way we are right now is our actual self.

Inability to reduce the gap between our actual and ideal self causes frustration, disappointment and depression.

And this is not rocket science. You meet your expectations - you feel the sense of accomplishment and this boosts your self esteem. You fail to meet them - you feel pain.

Usually, some parts of our ideal self we’ll be able to obtain, while some others we won’t. I think it’s very important to know not just where we’re going, but also why. This can allow us to meet our needs in a different way, should something go wrong.

What does that mean practically? Two things:

1. Know what you want.
2. Be flexible.

In my case, as a kid, I dreamed about playing basketball professionally, but unfortunately, my dream never came true (part of the reason is because I learned early about injuries, and I don’t mean from a book).

I needed to realize what it meant to me. Why did I (and why do I still) like basketball so much?

It all started with my cousin, who had a very successful basketball career. This made me start watching games.

In addition, my school had a basketball team and a lot of my friends were on it. We had fun practicing, competing against the other kids and travelling (playing on the road, not the dribbling violation :D).

Basketball gave us something to do together, and something to talk about. I loved the social aspect of it, being part of a group, a team.

We were a great team. After years and years of playing together, we knew each other’s playing style very well. This made us hard to beat. The importance of a team is a life lesson I learned early.

I also learned to appreciate all the hard work that goes into developing a skill, and playing well under pressure. You often get rewarded in public for what you do in private.

Anyway, going back to the original question, what I really wanted was to have strong social relationships and to have fun. Basketball served as a vehicle to meet my needs. It was a way, but certainly not the only one.

That’s where flexibility comes into play. I have to admit that I’m lucky enough to live in an age where the social networks make it very easy to stay in touch with almost all of my friends (if you throw in IM, Skype and email that covers pretty much everybody).

As far as fun goes, there’s an abundance of entertainment, for which I’m grateful for. I play NBA 2k (I’m in my rookie season) I watch the NBA games (no matter who plays :)), and lately I’ve been getting into college basketball. I also enjoy listening to music, reading books, browsing Quora, taking photos (mostly of my family) and writing.

So what is your dream? What does your dream mean to you? Are you close to reaching it? Let me know in the comments. :)