Lately, I have been doing reading about cognitive styles. There is plenty of information about strong-willed children/adults and High-D personalities as well as compliant children/adults. Yet, there is very little information about “Dreamers.”

Dr. Dana Spears and Dr. Ron Braund have an interesting book on Dreamers, the passionate-creative-culture-changers of the world. Join me for a more in depth look at this type of individual and see if you are a mold breaker.

In my previous post on Dreamers, I mentioned looking further into the topic. Below, I have provided a self-assessment from Dr. Spears and Braund for you to review. Which column is more descriptive of you?:

A
Sensitive
Moody
Compassionate
Dramatic
Imaginative
Creative
Thin-skinned
Defensive
Affectionate
Scattered
Imagined Fears
Disheveled
Careless
Forgetful
Clever
Day-dreamer
Emotional
Unusual
Original
Playful
Deep
Intriguing
Considerate
Easily hurt
Feels rejected
Know-it-all
Blames others
Self-critical
Relational
Articulate
B
Logical
Even-keeled
Detached
Level
Productive
Practical
Thick-skinned
Obedient
Somewhat stiff with others
Focused on details
Realistic fears only
Tidy
Precise
Dependable
Sensible
On-task
Dispassionate
Typical for age
Imitator
Industrious
Realistic
Predictable
Blunt
Oblivious to teasing
Feels confident
Humble
Accepts blame
Easy-going
Independent
Inexpressive

If you are like me, you fall more into column A than column B. If you find yourself agreeing with twenty or more descriptions in column A, then you are most likely a Dreamer.

About Dreamers

Dr. Spears and Braund say dreamers are complex. Unlike others, dreamers are not motivated by power but by a desire to be liked. This can be due to a dreamer being more sensitive than most. They can soak in the feelings of others around them.

Dreamers are also intellectually independent. They are not crowd pleasers and want to be different. They often take a lot of time to analyze issues and come across as self-confident but this “apparent confidence can mask extreme emotional vulnerability,” says Spears and Braund. “At the core of their being, dreamers need to feel understood.”

Dreamers Love Problem Solving

In regard to learning styles, many dreamers benefit most from a discussion format where they can focus on concepts, ideas, and problems. Dreamers like debating, especially when the topics are thought provoking. Because of this, dreamers love solving problems. Often they will spend a great amount of time thinking about and processing information before coming to a solution. This is why many dreamers wait to the last minute to begin a project. Once they begin, however, they are easily immersed in the process and find it quite enjoyable.

Dreamers that are more extroverted work well in group settings. They may be quiet as they process the information so they need to be intentionally called upon to share their thoughts.

What Dreamers Need

Dreamers need to be challenged. They love to constantly learn new things that interest them. They should work in areas they are passionate about. Nolan Bushnell, the founder of Atari, Inc., wrote in the foreword for A Whack On The Side of The Head:

“Innovative people have a passion for what they do. I don’t know if this passion is innate or not, but it can be snuffed out in a person.”

This is why Spears and Braund say you should never separate a dreamer from her passions. Putting a dreamer in an area that is too concrete and constrictive will kill their creativity.

Dreamers need space. They can fear failure and disappointment so they like to try new things privately before sharing with a larger group.

Dreamers need encouragement and acceptance. If they feel they are being pushed they will shut down. A lot of times, dreamers may be fearful but do not need that pointed out to them. Talking through successful possibilities can make them feel more at ease.

Dreamers need help breaking the fear-of-failure cycle. If you gradually guide them through risks they can generate greater self-confidence. Remind them of their accomplishments.

A Final Word To Dreamers

If you are a dreamer, you may look back on your past and note all the times you were discouraged from dreaming. How do you make sense of it all now, as an adult? Moving forward may have been challenging. If this is has been your experience, Spears and Braund have some closing words for you:

“If after reading this, you have decided your parents are guilty of intentionally stifling you, please reconsider that view. Your parents probably did the best they could with the information they had. What tools did your parents have to help them understand your inner workings?

Now is the time to embrace your future. If you allow your childhood to control your adulthood, you have become your own worst enemy. From this day forward, the choices you make are your choices. Are you choosing to nurture bitterness? Why not decide to move forward? This is your day. Don’t let bitterness be your master.

Don’t spend you emotional energy mulling over what might have been. Find a positive outlet for what you have learned. Become a crusader in your family and community for the dreamers who are children now and those who will follow.”

Don’t ever stop dreaming!

Notes: Strong-willed or Dreamer Child: Understanding the Crucial Differences Between a Strong-willed Child and a Creative-sensitive child, by Dana S. Spears and Ron L. Braund, Copyright 1996, pages 34-35, 115-117, 148-152, 229-230

A Whack On The Side of The Head: How You Can Be More Creative by Roger von Oech, Copyright 1983, 1990, 2008, 2011, Introduction