The Benefits of Day Dreaming

By Sean Ogle •  Updated: 01/20/22 •  4 min read

This post was originally published in July of 2009. It was one of the first posts ever published on Location Rebel, so forgive the pretty horrible writing. I leave it published though, because this is a powerful message. If it weren’t for these days dreams and thinking about what might be possible. I likely never would have left my job just a few months later.

And now nearly 13 years since I wrote this? I can’t imagine how much different my life would be if I hadn’t.

This past Sunday I found myself laying in Washington Park and letting my mind wander to wherever it felt compelled to go.  Lately, this seems to be happening on a much more frequent basis.  On the golf course, I would imagine there was a crystal clear ocean just beyond the tree line.  While writing this article from the garden of my office building, I was imagining I was in a cosmopolitan oasis in the South of France far away from the 100 degree weather we have been experiencing in Portland.  I feel as though my whole life I have been discouraged from dreaming in this way.  Authority figures constantly reminding me to stay in the moment, because day dreaming won’t get you anywhere.  It wasn’t until recently that I figured out that:

Day dreaming can be the most rapid way to induce change in your life

The more time spent thinking about faraway places and your desire to visit them, the more you will begin to realize these things are actually possible.  For me personally, as I have become increasingly dissatisfied with my daily routine I’ve become more inspired to make the changes to turn these dreams in to reality.  It isn’t necessarily a hard thing to do, but it does require a change in mindset.  Instead of  “day dreams” look at them more as “day plans”.  Once you begin to disassociate your plans with the notion that they are unachievable, you will be amazed at how powerful a daydream can be.

What was once a vague notion of something that you want to do in the distant future, suddenly becomes a solid plan.  Once you know it will be accomplished, making the plans to get there is the fun part.  The more I find myself getting lost in my “plans” the more excited I get about future possibilities.  However, in order for these dreams to turn into realities, you have to approach it in a structured manner.  You must be willing to take the steps (however difficult they might be) to make it happen.

Start by making a list of all of your day dreams.  As you find your mind wandering to places you want to go or things you want to be doing, write them down each time it happens.  If you end up having a journal full of thoughts about scuba diving in Australia, you know where your priorities lie.  While the rational side of you might look at this as an impossible goal, change your mindset to view it as an actionable plan, and make a series of small goals to get there.

If you are anything like me, money is your biggest barrier to making your lifestyle change (or at the very least, taking the trip you have always dreamed about).  However, this shouldn’t stop you.  I am constantly asking myself “If I spend the money to travel now, will I regret it later in life?”  I have a feeling that the only thing I would regret is not taking the opportunity when it was presented to me.

So rather than stifle your creative life dreams, embrace them.  Evaluate your current path and if that isn’t taking you in the right direction, change your path accordingly.  Day dreaming is your mind telling you what you really are passionate about seeing and doing in this life.  There is no better time to break out of the ordinary and start doing the things you really meant to do.

Sean Ogle

Sean Ogle is the Founder of Location Rebel where he has spent the last 12+ years teaching people how to build online businesses that give them the freedom to do more of the things they like to do in life. When he's not in the coffee shops of Portland, or the beaches of Bali, he's probably sneaking into some other high-class establishment where he most certainly doesn't belong.
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11 comments on "The Benefits of Day Dreaming"

  1. I had completely forgotten about this in my own story. Every once in a while at the hospital I’d have to do the garbage route. It was by far my favorite thing to do because you didn’t really have a boss and weren’t at all micromanaged. You just walked around to certain closets where people would drop trash, load them into a cart and then walk them down to the loading dock where the trash compactor was and crush them. I got to work at 6:30am, so every morning I got to see the sunrise and the loading dock had the most brilliant view. Rays of light would peek over a nearby hill and shine through a light fog. Every time I’d make my way to the trash compactor, I’d squint my eyes and pretend I was staring at sugarloaf mountain.

    I used that time to remind myself of a rtw trip I’d take. I really hated my life at that point, so daydreaming was all I had.

    But of course my daydreaming snowballed and I ended up quitting my job. I think that’s how it usually is for people like us.

    Great post!

  2. Beautiful daydream Sean! Here’s sending you positive thoughts on your journey towards making it real!

  3. Ross says:

    I love to daydream and frequently it turns into something useful or an goal that you’d like to work towards. As for the scuba diving in Australia, it started as a day dream and worked it’s way into a real plan and I actually went out and dove on the Great Barrier Reef a couple weeks ago. Mission accomplished! Next!

  4. Dreaming is everything!

    We live in amazing times. It is completely possible to do whatever you want in life, where ever you want. The only requirements are hard work and focus.

    First you have to dream to understand what you want. Then you have to do the work to get there.

    Don’t put off your dreams until some imaginary perfect time in the future. Imaginary perfect times only happen in fairy tales. The best time to live your dreams is always now.

    1. Sean says:

      @JD, Thats a great story. Well not so much the part about hating your life, but that you were able to find relief in your dreams. Glad to hear it worked out in the end though!

      @Cody, Thanks for the comment, always good to see you here!

      @Ross, Scuba Diving in Australia is one of the big ones for me! Where did you go dive?

      @John, That is such great advice. Often times people fail to realize that they really can do anything they want, it just takes a lot of HARD WORK. And you are right, that “perfect time” will never come. In most cases it is only going to get harder and harder, so there is no better time than the present. In a lot of ways I think I should take my own advice and speed up my process a little more. But at the same time, planning is a vital part to anything (almost) that is successful.

  5. NomadicNeil says:

    The I look at it is that you might as well day-dream and then follow through on those dreams. I mean what else are you going to do with your life.

    As an exercise just think about a life in which you settle for something less… horrible isn’t it!

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