I've always been an optimist. As a matter of fact, I've actually only been one for six years now - or when I started design school - but that seems like always to me anyway. Naturally as 'visionaries' and progressive thinkers, we like to stay positive because it promotes an atmosphere that is conducive to change and increases standards of living. The true nature of the world, however, is pessimism. Not only do the majority of people see the society around them negatively, but they usually disregard any hope for a brighter future. This is a huge reason why we as designers, whether you are an architect, industrial designer or any other creative-based thinker need to move past the pessimists and actually pursue our dreams.
I'm going to write this from an architectural point of view since that is where I see from. Through school we are taught that our manifestations and thoughts can and will change the world one day. And while this is laughable to an outsider or nay-sayer, it can be true. Always being coined as the "world-savers", architects are faced with a wide range of diversity just to see their creations come to life and usually see their dreams fall by the wayside to erroneous budgets and hostile neighbors. Being out in the real world and seeing just how small you are can quickly crush your every last hope and desire.
So can listening to all of those who tell you you're foolish for dreaming.
Dreamers ultimately shape the world and the ways we live. Think about any influential person, at one point in time they were just dreamers like you or I. They sat up late at night thinking, planning, envisioning and dreaming, all of which led them to become the people they were. Frank Lloyd Wright dreamt once. Albert Einstein dreamt once. And c'mon who could pass this one up; Martin Luther King Jr. dreamt once! Without the dreams of these beautiful minds, the world we know today wouldn't exist quite the same. Do not be afraid dream! Only be afraid if you're too timid to take the dreams and convert them to a reality.
And isn't that what architecture really is? Converting non-tangible concepts and thoughts into deliverable concrete products? So couldn't any designed and built building be a realization of a dream? That's a lot of fulfilled fantasies. While there is a difference between irrational dreams (such as being a trillion-aire with immortality and the love of everyone) it's not out of the realm of possibility nor should it be disregarded for one to want to change the world in some way. No, we probably won't get to a point where we change literally everything around us, however if just one person, one community, one city - even one country - can be altered by our dreams and determination then that is an ample achievement.
I am a firm believer in the beauty of dreams and the determination to convert them to realities. Do we (architects) dream too big? I'm sure we do, however our job is to re-imagine the way the world works around us. Anything from social engagement to how a meeting is held or a school is run, we are there to reinvent better ways of doing everyday things. Dreams are only dreams until they're fulfilled, then they become truths rooted deep in the brains of our amazing creators. Do not be afraid to dream and to dream BIG because that is where the true innovation happens. Do you think Bjarke Ingles was ever afraid to dream BIG?
Be a change. Be a difference. Be a Dream Designer. Most importantly, don't let anybody ever tell you no.