The Dreams of a Generation

When we are children, we can’t wait to grow up and follow our dreams. However, we may curtail our ambition because we’re told we need to be more realistic or that we won’t make the cut. How do we let ourselves go from the dreams of our childhood to the daily grind as adults, though? As it turns out, there might be a few specific reasons, but knowing why could help future generations. The Sleep Judge recently surveyed over 1,000 people about their past and current aspirations. The results were surprising, and some could say optimistic.

When We’re Young

Children often dream of becoming a doctor, firefighter, or baseball player, but those dreams often morph as we get older. However, the study found that, regardless of generation, people always dreamed of working in the arts and entertainment industry, with around a fourth of people in each generation carrying this childhood dream into adulthood. Every generation, except Gen Zers, also desired to work in athletics as children. But as people got older, athletics was swapped for technology and finance. 

All generations believed more in technology than science as they got older. And entrepreneurship became less of a dream than working in health care or finance for younger generations as they aged. Overall, while the value of each profession changed from childhood to adulthood, people didn’t stop dreaming.

Why We Don’t Follow Our Dreams

We often lose sight of our childhood dream jobs as we get older. We may have to face pressures from our families, financial burdens, or loss of interest. However, while the dream jobs we had as children don’t always make sense when we get older, it doesn’t stop people from finding another dream. 

Similarly, as we grow older, our reasons for wanting to work change. Overwhelmingly, adults said making money was their top reason for working, while being creative and helping others was more important for participants when they were younger. 

For those who gave up on their dream job, the primary reasons were that it was financially impractical, they didn’t have the skills necessary, or they didn’t have the right personality. The people who wanted to be athletes found they couldn’t hit a major league fastball, and 35% of those who wanted to work in technology decided to join another field because they found more stability in another job. Whatever the reason, most people gave up on their childhood dreams. But the study still found that 29% of participants actually pursued their dream job. 

There Is Hope

The fact that nearly a third of Gen Zers, according to the survey, believed they can still achieve their dream job provides hope. The thought of doing something to help the people and world around them drives a fire behind younger generations. This means around a third of younger people not only think they can still achieve their dreams, but also that they want to use their dream jobs to make the world a better place. We should build these dreamers up because they’re going to be the ones who change the world.


  • Michael Levitt

    Chief Burnout Officer

    Breakfast Leadership, Inc.

    Michael Levitt is the founder & Chief Burnout Officer of Breakfast Leadership, Inc,, a San Diego and Toronto-based burnout prevention firm. He is a Certified NLP and CBT Therapist, and is one of the world's leading authorities in burnout recovery and prevention.  He is also a Fortune 500 consultant, #1 bestselling author, and host of the Breakfast Leadership Show, a top 200 podcast on iTunes. He is a 2x Top 20 Global Thought Leader on Culture with Thinkers360. He is a former Healthcare executive, CIO, and CFO overseeing $ 2 Billion budgets, so he’s seen and done it all.
    His main keynotes are:
    1. Burnout Prevention: How To Avoid Your Own Year of Worst-Case Scenarios 2. Workplace Culture: Create A Workplace That People Will Beg To Work With 3. Working Remotely With Boundaries: How To Accomplish More At Home, Without Burning Out