Fewer than one in 10 Brits have landed the job they dreamed of as a child, a study has revealed.
Researchers who polled 2,000 adults about their long-term aspirations also found slightly more than one in 10 have worked in their perfect job – but don’t any longer.
Another seven in 10 believe you are never too old to let go of your childhood dreams – but around eight in ten are still yet to achieve theirs.
Despite this, three in five think it is healthy to hang onto your dream as a source of hope, even as it becomes more unlikely you will be able to achieve it.
And while 82 per cent of Brits over 55 have yet to achieve their lifelong dreams, one third still hold out hope their aspirations will be realised in their twilight years.
Hope Bastine, psychologist for high-tech mattress maker, Simba, which commissioned the study, said: “Naturally it’s easy to look at the results of this study from a glum perspective, but on the flip side it does show we’re a glass half full nation, even in the face of reality.
“When we are younger the world can seem full of endless possibilities, and we are encouraged to shoot for the moon, but soon certain realities begin to set in.
“When this happens, it is encouraging to see many of us still receive the support we need from friends and family to follow our dreams, even as life complicates matters.”
The study also found one in two ambitious Brits have been advised to follow their dreams when they have hit upon hard times.
Of these, three in 10 were inspired by their friends and 36 per cent were urged to grab the bull by the horns by their mum or dad.
One fifth can recall a particular teacher who encouraged them to forge forward, while another 24 per cent were driven on by a caring partner.
Fifty-five per cent believe lack of financial stability is the biggest barrier between them and their dreams, while 28 per cent feel they don’t have enough time to dedicate to the cause.
But one in six can identify a realist in their lives who has told them to let go of their unreasonable aspirations.
And 16 per cent think you should pack in such flighty thoughts before your 40th birthday.
Hope Bastine added: “It’s important to remember that, even in unfortunate circumstances, many persevering Brits find their way to achieving their life goals, even in the face of self-doubt and discouragement from those around them.
“And while the odds shorten every year, Brits agree it’s healthy to keep your dreams and aspirations close to you.
“The world is an unpredictable place and opportunity can lurk in unexpected places, which could turn your childhood aspirations into a reality.
At Simba, we’re all about innovation and ideas; imagining the what if’s and making them a reality.
“Whatever the size of that dream, your imagination can take you there. As you sleep, as you dream, as you wake; be limitless and dream big.”
Young and optimistic, one in five of our fledgling selves dreamed of becoming professional footballers, and 17 per cent thought they could become renowned musicians with enough practice and talent.
One in ten had aspirations to appear on the silver screen as a highly-regarded actor, while one in seven clung to more humble ambitions of becoming a teacher or a vet.
When asked to reveal some of their more unusual aspirations, one thrill-seeking Brit had dreams of being a downhill skier, while another wanted to own their own steam engine.
One jetsetter had dreams of seeing the world in their lifetime and has currently visited 51 countries so far, while another set themselves a more humble goal closer to home, of owning their own cat.
UK’S MOST COMMON DREAMS AND ASPIRATIONS
1. To own my own house
2. To have my dream career
3. To have kids
4. To get married
5. To live abroad
6. To retire young
7. To own my own business
8. To own a dog
9. To learn another language
10. To have a house with a swimming pool
UK’S MOST COMMON CAREER DREAMS AND ASPIRATIONS
10. Police officer
12. Train driver