How Movies Can Help You Avoid Dream Bullies


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In this world there are two kinds of people: Dream Achievers and Dream Bullies. Dream Achievers give life to dreams. Dream Bullies harass or destroy dreams. If you want to be a Dream Achiever, you must learn two things: how to avoid Dream Bullies and how to seek the company and support of other Dream Achievers.

Dream Bullies are, unfortunately, everywhere: in our families, work environment, spiritual community, gym, circle of friends, neighborhood club. Some of them are easier to spot than others. They all share one thing in common: they are afraid of dreams. They are afraid to take risks and make their innermost desires a reality. For this reason, they like killing everyone else’s dreams, as soon as they are aware of them.

How to Spot A Dream Bully

You can easily recognize Dream Bullies, once you know their main characteristics. Here is what to what for:

Dream Bullies:

  • Get energy from harassing or destroying dreams.

  • Are afraid and judgmental of creativity, creative ideas and creative expression that comes in any shape, color or form.

  • Kill their own or other people’s creative ideas as soon as they are born, very often without even realizing it.

  • Are workaholic and spend enormous amounts of time in a work they secretly or openly dislike.

  • Usually disguise their fear of creativity under the mask of “practical”, “reasonable”, “down to earth”, or “too busy with ‘real’ responsibilities”.

  • Claim to “know what’s best for their children” but, in fact, they ignore their children’s natural talents and pressure their children to follow a path against their own wishes.

  • Generate frequent crises that keep their family, friends or co-workers distracted from pursuing their dreams and creative ideas.

  • Have chronic mysterious health problems that draw constant attention and worry from their significant others, and affect the progress of their family members or work colleagues.

  • See potential where it doesn’t exist. As a result, they waste great amounts of time, energy and money supporting people, ideas, and projects with no potential. When they are disappointed, they convince themselves and others that they were victimized, exploited, and “taken for a ride”.

  • Enjoy great pleasure from other people’s failures and suffer pain from their successes.

    Movie characters who are Dream Bullies:

    Real Women Have Curves: Carmen Garcia, Ana’s Mother

    Field of Dreams: Mark, Ray Kinsella’s brother-in-law.

    Billy Elliot: Jack Elliot, Billy’s father

    How to Recognize A Dream Achiever

    Dream Achievers are the complete opposite of Dream Bullies.

  • Draw energy from making dreams reality. This gives them a constant purpose that becomes ever more deliberate with failure.

  • Recognize failure as a natural part of the growth process and allow themselves and others to fail in order to learn.

  • Use their mind like a fresh sponge to absorb knowledge from every mistake they make, and then squeeze this knowledge out into their next effort to do better and better.

  • Get their inner clarity from staying connected to their dream. They are aware of their inner needs and concentrate their actions on fulfilling them.

  • They always know their goals are but they also know that they are in a constant process of learning. For this reason, if they fail, they do not dwell on what should have happened, but focus on how they can do better from now onward.

    A great example of a Dream Achiever is that of Thomas Edison, who tried 20,000 times before he created the incandescent bulb. He never considered any of his attempts as a failure. Instead, he called them his 20,000 steps to success. He used to call failure “the greatest teacher of great inventors” and consider it essential in the learning process. He was a Dream Achiever who kept his laboratories staffed with hundreds of fellow Dream Achievers, all people who approached failures as opportunities for strength.

    Now, think: if Thomas Edison had allowed a Dream Bully to kill his dream during his 20,000 efforts to put electricity in a bulb, how would the world be today?

    Movie Characters Who Are Dream Achievers:

    Working Girl: Tess McGill
    Music of the Heart: Roberta Guaspari
    Real Women Have Curves: Ana Garcia
    Rocky: Rocky
    Chariots of Fire: Eric Liddell

    How Movies Can Help You Avoid Dream Bullies

    Once you spot a Dream Bully in your immediate environment, you must do one thing and one thing alone: do not let him/her see your dream. Instead, seek support from allies who have nothing to lose if you make your dream reality. Create a plan of action that deflects the Dream Bully’s attention to other matters, irrelevant to your dream. If necessary, create a mock tragedy to keep the Dream Bully occupied and entertained. In the mean time, go after your dream! Only you can do it!

    Using movies for inspiration to follow your dreams can help you stay on track. Complete the exercises in this section. From the following list, pick one or more movies and watch them alone or with friends. Then, answer the questions that follow.

  • Field of Dreams
  • October Sky
  • Billy Elliot
  • Working Girl
  • Real Women Have Curves

    Questions to Answer:

    1. What is the main character’s dream?

    2. Who is the Dream Bully?

    3. How does the main character disarm the Dream Bully?

    4. Is there a Dream Bully in your Life?

    If you answer “no”, then you are very lucky! But if you answer “yes”, I suggest that you:

  • Create a support group of people who are after a dream, goal or aspiration.

  • Use Reel Fulfillment: A 12-Step Plan for Transforming Your Life through Movies as a guide to make your dreams reality. You learn how to follow a step-by-step plan to success using movies for inspiration.


    Maria Grace, Ph. D. , is an expert at teaching people how to learn lessons from popular movies to find the job, home, relationship, and healthy body and mind they want. She is a Fulbright scholar, licensed psychotherapist, sought-after public speaker and coach, and the author of “Reel Fulfillment: A 12-Step Plan for Transforming Your Life through Movies” (McGraw-Hill, 2005). “Reel Fulfillment” was praised by Publisher’s Weekly as one of the top “self help books out of the self-help box” for 2005-2006.

    For more information visit and

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