Month: November 2012

Dare to Dream

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This past weekend, I was engrossed in a conversation with an acquaintance.  I was sharing some of my ideas for the coming year, and midway, she stopped me and said, “Wow, you really think big.”  My response was simple: “If you’re going to dream, why dream small?” 

Too often, the word “dreamer” is associated with negative connotations.  A dreamer, for many, is one who is not grounded in reality. In fact, a dreamer is perceived as escaping from reality altogether. The textbook definition is “one who escapes to a fantasy world; a habitual dreamer; a highly impractical person.”  And too often, being a dreamer is perceived as being “lofty”.  Lofty is often taken to mean not concrete or to be “in the clouds”.  However, the actual definition of lofty is “exalted, elevated, and affecting grandness.”

But if it wasn’t for “highly impractical” individuals, the world, as we know it, would be completely different.  We would think twice about seeing family and friends thousands of miles away if it weren’t for the lofty ambitions of the Wright brothers.  A college dropout wouldn’t have revolutionized technology as we understand it today.  Skyscrapers, space travel, how could we have had any of it if those pioneers stayed grounded in reality?   

The truth is anyone who has created something knows that their saving grace was the dream itself.  It was not a magical cake walk, but it always started with a dream.

In the beginning, it starts with a vision.  A scene playing out in your mind’s eye.  You can feel it, you can smell it, you can grasp it.  Then, the scene visits you again and again. On the train, while watching TV, while in conversation about random topics. Somehow, you cannot shake the scene.  Then, comes the euphoric feeling that allows you to ponder: can this really happen?

Then, your dream slowly starts to take shape.  On any piece of paper you can get your hands on, you start jotting down ideas, thoughts, anything to get it all down.  As you see it come alive on paper, you are starting to believe.   This can happen. 

And then, you take the first step. You send that email. You make the call. You share your vision with a trusted friend.  You finally say it out loud. 

Now, you’re all in. 

You are no longer just dreaming. You have transitioned to making it a reality. The only thing you need now is courage, persistence and the ability to see obstacles as new creative ways to reach your destination.

This could be a personal dream, a professional one; it could be short term or long term.   It’s different for everyone.  But the relentless desire to accomplish something that turns into a realistic experience is the same. The euphoria is universal.

Many of you probably found this description familiar because you, yourself, have experienced it. Congratulations, you are a dreamer.  And you are on your way of implementing your new reality for yourself or have probably already succeeded.

However many of you, most likely the majority of you, I am afraid may not have related to the process I described at all. Your inability to relate means you have not dared to dream. You have ideas but you flick them away like an annoying fly. You see these ideas as distractions or, dare I say, lofty dreams.

I beg you to reconsider.

I know that everyone of us has a purpose. I also know that the two major obstacles in us fulfilling our purpose is the feeling of inadequate and fear of failure. Don’t give these obstacles life. Every person who has lived a fulfilling life has also faced these obstacles, but it is these they flicked away not their dreams. And every person has failed. Einstein and algebra?

I think it was best summed up by Joel Olsteen, who was being featured on an episode of Oprah’s Life Class as he described the real challenge.  The challenge is not the dream; it’s the courage to embrace it.

I feel especially for women, we give so much encouragement to our loved ones.  Yet, we leave little time for ourselves. We mask our fears as practical tendencies. But I am telling you, these are just excuses.

I want every one of us to dream.  I want everyone to go for what is destined for us. If there are circumstances in your way, change them.  I want you to fight for your dreams.    

Sometimes we need something to push us to reach our dreams.  For me, sometimes that’s music.  This song has been inspiring me for the past few months, I hope it can do the same for you.