Roaring thunder is echoing off the distant mountain and the lake acts like a giant amplifier, making the booms even louder. The old porch is shaking with each blast, and the rain is slamming loudly on the roof above. Rain is driving sideways like arrows trying to penetrate the screens, yet somehow the water isn’t coming in.

My dream was to one day have a porch like this. Sitting here in a storm is one of my favorite things; it’s as if I’m defying nature, nestled and secure in my little wooden shelter.

Did you know there is a difference between goals and dreams?

I’ve found that goals are intentional, and often related to dreams — but dreams tend to be random, often not formalized by the process of goal-setting.

Which do you think is more powerful? A set goal or a random dream?

In Trouble for Daydreaming

In fourth grade at Harrison Hill Elementary I was sent to the principal’s office for daydreaming, not paying attention in class. Most of my school years were considered unproductive because of my horrific grades, which had to do with not paying attention, not wanting to be there, being bored, and being in a better place inside my head than in class.

Drifting into Dreamland

Today, though I’m a better student because I pursue what I want to learn, I still drift off when a speaker stimulates a thought that then circulates inside my head, getting louder and louder as I explore the possibilities. Before long I can miss a couple of hours of content because the idea is being played out in my head. And frankly, that’s the value of going. 

No Life Without Dreams

Dreams have been the foundation of my life, which has been a machine gun of ideas sprayed across the world. If I think about something, I’m thinking about it as if it has already occured. I envision my life when that dream takes place, and I see myself doing what it is I’m dreaming. Events like the Plein Air Convention and the Figurative Art Convention were dreams where I saw myself on stage, presenting the most brilliant minds in painting. And when those dreams came true, the first versions were exactly as I pictured them, faculty and all.

Dreaming Isn’t Goal-Setting

I’m big on goal-setting, but I’m bigger on dreaming. Because dreams, I think, reflect what you really want, and sometimes goals are what we think we should want. They’re often rooted in family responsibilities like paying bills or raising enough money for college (we’re facing that now).

Where do your dreams take you?

Others tell me they don’t dream, or they don’t have vivid dreams. Still others don’t daydream. I’m guessing they do, but they’re not embracing it for what it is. It’s not useless folly. 

Ending Dreams

Young couples have dreams. One day we’ll have a family, three kids, two dogs, a little house with a white picket fence. And most of them get those dreams. Then they dream of their kids growing up, college, grandchildren, etc. And those dreams typically come true, though they are out of their hands and in the hands of their kids. But sometimes those dreams end there because of the limits we impose on ourselves.

Squashing Dreams

Before quarantine times, I was with someone whose child was telling me about his dreams of doing something big and great, and his mom chimed in and said, “Stop that foolishness. Our kind are not meant to do such things.” I was mortified and wanted to speak up, but did not out of respect to my hosts.

Are you squashing your own dreams or the dreams of others because you feel undeserving?

Brilliant Dreamers

You may think that someone like Elon Musk has something we all don’t have. We may tell ourselves that his brilliance is possible because he is a billionaire, but the reality is that he is a billionaire because of his dreams. Unlike most, he has trained himself to dream big, not place any limits, and explore endless possibilities. We all tend to give ourselves reasons things can’t be done, yet if you eliminate the limits and dream big, you will surprise yourself with what you’re capable of accomplishing. 

Dream Till You Believe It

I’m a big believer that goals without actions are just a to-do list that never gets done. It’s action that moves things forward. The value of dreams is that when we envision something in detail and continually repeat those thoughts, we begin to accept that the impossible is possible. The brain tends to help us seek and find ways to do impossible things. 

Like most, I have limits. I catch myself continually telling myself all the reasons something can’t happen. But once I catch myself, I try to change my thinking. It’s very deliberate.

What is one big dream you’ve always wanted to accomplish?

Now, what are you telling yourself about that dream? Here is a typical list:

  • It’s too big for me
  • People like us don’t do things like that
  • I don’t have the degree or education
  • I don’t have the talent
  • I don’t have the money
  • I’m not good at the things needed to accomplish it
  • I’m too young
  • I’m too old
  • I don’t have much time left

Dreams are the place you write the next chapter before you accomplish that chapter.

Napoleon wrote, “Small plans do not inflame the hearts of men.”

I have confidence that your dreams can come true. I can’t tell you how; I never really know how, when I first start. But the more you think about it, envision yourself in it, the more the answers will come.

Eric Rhoads

PS: I was dreaming recently during our quarantine. I thought that there is a whole world of artists who have been coming together on my daily videos (noon Eastern @ericrhoads on Facebook and Instagram), and it made me dream of creating the first worldwide artists’ event in history. Something where all the plein air painters (and wannabes) gather virtually in a global plein air event.

At first, my brain told me it was too much work, that it would be impossible. Then I started thinking about the time, the money, the challenges, the tech, and I almost stopped working on it. But then I realized it’s a dream that can change lives and that I could not let anything get in my way.

Plein Air Live will take place on July 15-18, with a new plein air beginners’ day on the 14th. Five days total where the world gathers, paints together, learns together, and celebrates our passion. You’ll be part of a historic moment, and you’ll be connected with people you never before knew. And no travel, no expenses. All in your safe home.

Already the response is phenomenal, and frankly, technology may limit how many can attend. So if you go to and fill out the form, we will ticket people in the order they came in. No obligation, but once we announce details, you’ll be glad you are holding that possible reservation.

This is one of my big dreams. There are others. I fully intend to live my dreams. I hope you will too.

PS 2: Here is a link to all the free video samples we’ve posted the past almost 80 days. Enjoy.

PS 3: The world, at the moment, is filled with hurting people, and they also have dreams. Let’s all remember to listen to the dreams of others and help them live their dreams.