There has been much said about dreamers. We are after all in the same boat in this regard. If we didn’t dream, there would never be a desire to do anything more. We wouldn’t seek to create, to make a difference, to achieve something possibly greater than ourselves.
Arguably the greatest example of this is the ultimate dream weaver Martin Luther King who shared before a nation his dream and proclaimed:
“I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.’ I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia, the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood…”
MLK repeats the words “I have a dream” several times more sharing to the people, his desire for a world free from racism, injustice and oppression. Had MLK said, “I have a policy…” or “I have a proposal…” I doubt his speech would have had the same impact. We have dreams because it is what inspires us.
There’s a reason why we cheer for the underdog because they strive to achieve their dream.
Yet it is undeniable that we also have needs. Basic needs to survive on this world. Food, water, shelter, clothing etc. And as a result of these needs, we discover we live in a world of practicalities. A world that often says, “Yes, it’s great that you have a dream but you have to be practical. You need security, a job to earn a living and afford those things that you need.”
And here’s the rub…
We come to believe in this world of practicalities more than our dreams. We convince ourselves that the two are mutually exclusive. That the dream is just a dream and “real life” is what confronts you when you wake up. And when you wake up, there’s no room for your dream.
It took me a long time to understand why this was so. Why we’ve allowed others to beat us down and say, “That’s an impossible dream. You can’t do it. You have to be realistic.” I didn’t understand how this could be so because there are plenty of examples of dreamers who have accomplished their dreams, whether it be Nelson Mandela dismantling the legacy of apartheid, Agatha Christie writing her first novel The Mysterious Affair at Styles, Ludwig Von Beethoven composing his Ninth Symphony, Jonas Salk developing a polio vaccine, Michael Jordan winning his first NBA basketball championship or Marie Curie seeking scientific breakthroughs in chemistry and physics. The list goes on and on.
It then hits me why certain dreamers confront the world of practicalities and combine the dream with reality as opposed to treating them as mutually exclusive. There are two keys to unlocking the dream and it is evident in any of the great dream weavers that come to mind. The first is they all believed and the second is they were doers, go-getters, never-give-up individuals. And that’s where the big differences lie.
Belief + Doer = Dream weaver reality
You have a dream? You believe in it? Then you have to work at it until it becomes a reality AND IT’S NOT EASY.
Nelson Mandela was in prison for 20+ years. He never stopped believing and he turned his beliefs into actions (even in prison) leading to his election as president and his ceaseless work in ending apartheid. Agatha Christie received rejections from numerous publishing companies before getting her first novel published. Beethoven suffered severe tinnitus and was essentially deaf when he composed one of his greatest works in the Ninth Symphony. Jonas Salk devoted seven years of his life to develop a successful polio vaccine. Michael Jordan played six years before winning his first NBA championship and Marie Curie had to face poverty, male chauvinism and misogyny before developing the theory of radioactivity, discovering two new elements and becoming the only person to win the Nobel Prize in two different sciences (Physics in 1903 and Chemistry in 1911).
Everyone has a dream. It’s what makes the world so interesting. You just have to strive toward it and work at it and it will become a reality.
What’s your dream? How are you working to achieve it? Feel free to email or leave a comment and let me know.