To dream and to dare

One of the most potent passages from T.E. Lawrence’s Seven Pillars of Wisdom is this:

“All men dream: but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dreams with open eyes, to make it possible.”

According to T.E. Lawrence, humanity can be categorised according to its ability to dream and to dare. Which means that the people of this world can be put into four buckets. Those who…

1. …dream and dare.
2. …dare but don’t dream.
3. …dream but don’t dare.
4. …neither dream nor dare.

Of course, nobody wishes to be of the fourth category. Or the third. Or even the second; to dare without dreaming is to act without vision, to implement means without an eye to our ends. It is untempered motion. Action guided solely by the feedback from past deeds, instead of orchestrated in partnership with reflection. Such a way of life is punctuated with errors and pain, both for the actor and the acted upon.

Neither the second, third or fourth categories correspond to the vision we have of a full, enriched human life. So it’s the first category that we all aspire to occupy. We dream, and we wish we possessed the audacity and tenacity required to make them a reality. But not everyone does, and why that is so, I don’t know. In fact, it’s one of the puzzles I’m trying to complete for myself in my own life. I have dreams, but often, I do not dare to act upon them. Why? Where’s the disconnect?