In his wild imagination, a man lived the lives of famous people, enjoyed their celebrity status and socialized with their closest friends. His family became concerned with his more frequent "escapes from reality" and encouraged him to see a psychiatrist.

After several sessions, the psychiatrist announced, "Congratulations, Mr. Jones, you're a healed man."

"What a lousy cure," responded his patient. "Before I was famous, and now I'm a nobody."

Was he actually delusional or looking to fulfill a dream? I'll leave that to the professionals to decide, but really, haven't we all imagined a bigger, better, more exciting life at some time?

I'm a big believer in dreaming. That's how I started my envelope-manufacturing company and became a writer and a speaker. Show me someone who doesn't dream about the future and I'll show you someone who doesn't know where he or she is going.

Actor Kevin Costner said: "I'm a big fan of dreams. Unfortunately, dreams are our first casualty in life — people seem to give them up, quicker than anything, for a 'reality.' "

Life is full of people who believed in themselves and their dreams. For example, writer W.P. Kinsella envisioned an Iowa corn farmer and a dream to reunite a deceased father and son for a game of baseball. He turned his dream into the novel "Shoeless Joe," which later resulted in the blockbuster movie "Field of Dreams."

British philosophical writer James Allen wrote: "Dream lofty dreams, and as you dream, so shall you become. Your vision is the promise of what you shall one day be. Be bold with your dreams! Aim high. Create your own 'field of dreams.' "

Warren Buffett's early years were filled with entrepreneurial ventures, from going door-to-door selling chewing gum, Coca-Cola and weekly magazines to working in his father's grocery store. He delivered newspapers, sold golf balls and stamps, and detailed cars. He always knew that he was going to be a wealthy person, and he certainly achieved that.

Tyler Perry had a tough childhood and was expelled from high school. He was physically and sexually abused and tried to take his own life twice. Yet he didn't give up on his dream of working in theater. He wrote, produced and starred in a variety of shows that were unsuccessful. Finally, he achieved success and has become a superstar powerhouse in Hollywood.

J.K. Rowling was an unemployed, divorced mother living off state benefits when she decided to turn to her writing passion. Within five years, she was one of the richest women in the United Kingdom, thanks to her fictional creation Harry Potter.

Dreams take many forms — awake, asleep, lost in thought. Don't downplay any of them! Sometimes we can go places in our minds that help us formulate goals and plans that will shape our future.

"Since it doesn't cost a dime to dream, you'll never shortchange yourself when you stretch your imagination," said the late pastor Robert Schuller.

"I think, therefore I am" is a fundamental concept of philosophy: We have to assume that we really exist because we're aware of our existence. But in neurological terms, the idea is more complicated, because scientists haven't been able to identify the area of the brain responsible for self-awareness.

Research involving lucid dreaming may solve the mystery. Lucid dreamers are sleepers who are aware that they are dreaming and can even control their dreams. Scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Psychiatry in Munich are comparing brain functions before and during lucid dreaming, hoping to pin down how the brain knows it's awake and aware.

That's more science than I can absorb! But what I do know is that dreams come true every day. Small dreams can grow to big dreams.

Barbara Grogan founded Western Industrial Contractors in 1982 with a 1969 orange pickup truck she bought for $500. Western became a nationally recognized industrial construction company. Among her many accomplishments, she became the first female chair of the board of the Denver branch of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, and was the first female chair of the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce.

"The world is chock-full of negative people. They have a thousand reasons why your dreams won't work, and they're ready to share them with you at the drop of a hat," Grogan said. "Well, this sounds trite, but you just have to believe in yourself and in your ability to make your dreams come true."

Mackay's Moral: Dream on — and then DO something about it.

Harvey Mackay is a Minneapolis businessman. Contact him at 612-378-6202 or e-mail