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Vision vs. Dream: What's the Difference?

Edited by Aimie Carlson || By Harlon Moss || Published on December 1, 2023
Vision refers to the ability to see or to imagine future possibilities, whereas a dream is a series of thoughts, images, or emotions occurring during sleep.

Key Differences

Vision often implies foresight or imagination, particularly in the context of planning or conceptualizing future goals. Dreams, in contrast, are experiences that occur involuntarily in the mind during sleep, often blending memories, thoughts, and emotions into narratives.
A vision can be a clear, creative insight or idea about what could be, often driving innovation and progress. Dreams, however, are not constrained by reality or practicality, often weaving fantastical or surreal stories that may defy logic or reason.
In a professional or personal development context, having a vision usually denotes a strategic plan or a long-term goal. Dreams, though they can inspire or influence waking thoughts, are typically less structured and more fluid, reflecting subconscious thoughts and desires.
Visions can be shared and communicated to inspire and motivate others, often becoming a guiding principle for groups or organizations. Dreams are usually personal experiences, unique to the individual's mind, and can range from mundane to deeply symbolic.
In terms of achieving objectives, visions are often actionable with specific steps or plans. Dreams, while they can sometimes lead to creative or problem-solving breakthroughs, usually do not have direct application in goal attainment.

Comparison Chart


Conscious, intentional, and future-oriented
Unconscious, involuntary, often occurring in sleep


To inspire, guide, or set goals
Reflects subconscious thoughts, emotions, desires


Often realistic and achievable
Can be fantastical, surreal, or illogical


Can be shared and articulated
Personal and subjective, often hard to articulate

Role in Planning

Central to strategic planning and goal setting
More inspirational, less directly involved in planning

Vision and Dream Definitions


The ability to think about or plan the future with imagination.
With clear vision, she charted a course for her career.


A state or creation of the imagination.
Her new house was a dream come true.


An imagined idea of the future; foresight.
His vision for the company involved groundbreaking technologies.


Something that appears beautiful or perfect, but is unlikely to become a reality.
His idea of a perfect vacation was a dream.


An experience of seeing someone or something in a dream or trance.
He had a vision of his grandfather guiding him.


A series of thoughts, images, and sensations occurring in a person's mind during sleep.
She had a dream about flying over mountains.


The ability to see with the eyes.
Her vision was sharp, noticing every detail in the room.


An aspiration or goal; something greatly desired.
Becoming an astronaut has always been his dream.


A mental image of what the future could or should be.
Her vision of a greener city inspired many.


A situation or event that is desired but not easily achievable.
Owning a beachfront property was just a dream for them.


The faculty of sight; eyesight
Poor vision.


A series of images, ideas, emotions, and sensations occurring involuntarily in the mind during certain stages of sleep.


What is vision?

Vision is the ability to see or the power to imagine future possibilities and goals.

What is a dream?

A dream is a succession of images, ideas, emotions, and sensations occurring involuntarily in the mind during sleep.

Are dreams always meaningful?

Dreams can be meaningful, reflecting subconscious thoughts, but not all dreams have significant meanings.

Can vision be taught?

Vision, as in foresight or goal-setting, can be developed through practice and guidance.

How does vision impact leadership?

A leader's vision provides direction and inspiration, shaping the future of a team or organization.

Do animals dream?

Many animals, especially mammals, show signs of dreaming during sleep.

Can dreams influence real life?

Dreams can influence emotions and thoughts in real life, sometimes inspiring creative or problem-solving ideas.

What causes nightmares?

Nightmares can be caused by stress, anxiety, sleep disorders, or certain medications.

Is vision necessary for success?

Vision is often crucial for success, as it sets a clear direction and goals.

Can vision change over time?

Yes, vision can evolve with new experiences, insights, and changing circumstances.

Can vision be unrealistic?

Visions can be ambitious, but they should ideally be grounded in some level of realism.

Do dreams have a purpose?

The purpose of dreams is not fully understood, but they may play roles in memory, emotional processing, and problem-solving.

What are lucid dreams?

Lucid dreams are dreams where the dreamer is aware they are dreaming and can sometimes control the dream.

Is vision limited to leaders?

No, anyone can have a vision for their life, career, or projects.

How can dreams be interpreted?

Dreams can be interpreted through various frameworks, though interpretations are often subjective.

How do visions help in planning?

Visions help in planning by providing a clear and inspiring picture of the desired future.

Are dreams always in color?

Not always; some people dream in black and white, while others dream in color.

Can vision be shared?

Yes, a vision can be communicated and shared to motivate and align a group's efforts.

How do organizations use vision?

Organizations use vision to set long-term goals, guide decisions, and inspire employees.

What is the science of dreams?

The scientific study of dreams is known as oneirology.
About Author
Written by
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.
Edited by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.

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