If I was to tell you today you should stop dreaming, you should stop making grandiose plans and construct diagrams of future projects, would you pay attention? If I was to tell you, stop bluffing yourself, you don’t have what it takes. You’re an imposter. You’re a fake. Stop trying so hard.
And yet, this happens every day. Every day, people are being told to “stop dreaming.” It takes place at home, at work, at school, in the hospital, in the courtroom, in the lecture room at college or university, in the military, at city hall, in the halls of parliament, in our shops, on the sidewalk, in our coffee shops.
People are discouraged.
Why does this happen? One reason is, the person who preaches and lives this philosophy has given up on their dreams. And they insist you do the same.
One of the most famous speeches ever given was the ‘I have a dream,’ speech by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., given on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial on August 23, 1963, during the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. Several minutes into his prepared speech, Dr. King changed course and started with a new narrative.
“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—”
And yet, we are surrounded, on a day to day basis with nay-sayers. Only a few short weeks ago, someone near and dear to me told me, referring to my vision of becoming a full-time author and writer, “stop bluffing yourself. It’s only a hobby.”
The nay-sayers preach, “Don’t waste your time.” It happens even from within our churches, in our libraries or bookstores, in our music stores, when we watch TV or movies; the same mantra often comes across: Don’t even try. You’re too mediocre.
Let’s take a different approach to the topic.
I want to challenge you: dare to dream!
I want to give you permission to dream.
Give yourself permission to dream again.
Years ago, months after I had completed my Anesthesiology specialty training, my professor told me, “You’ll never make it.” He was referring to private anesthesia practice. Yes, that took my breath away. It inflicted a deep wound. But, how did his prophesy turn out? I made it through twenty years of fulltime anesthesia practice before workplace abuse was allowed to foster and hamper my practice.
Why is it important to dream?
We were made to dream. As human beings with living souls, we have all inside of us this longing for more, for bigger, for the eternal, for better and for growing and creating. Often we have just stopped listening to the voice. We have stopped believing we can. We may have smothered the voice calling out to us.
We were made to walk, talk, think, sing and dance. If we become inactive, day after day, week after week, we become ill. Sick. We develop diabetes, heart disease, depression, we lose muscle, become overweight—in one word, we become unwell.
We are similar to eagles. Eagles are made to fly, to ride the currents of the skies and to soar. If you take a baby eagle and place it with a hen in a chicken coop, the eagle may soon believe it is a chicken and will scratch the dirt floor for worms and corn kernels to eat, believing it cannot fly. But this doesn’t change the fact the eagle is not a chicken. It is simply not fulfilling its purpose.
What is your dream?
It serves little purpose to have this lofty dream and vision and plan, but not take the necessary steps and action to bring it to fruition.
Don’t say, I have this dream, but … it can never work.
I’m too ordinary.
Sorry, those are all excuses.
Write your dream down, then take action.
Is your dream to speak in front of people without breaking out in a panic or lose your voice? Or make it a career one day? Join a Toastmasters club.
Is your dream to be a published author? Take the steps to get there. It’s hard but achievable. Take writing lessons. Learn how to read like a writer. Join a writing group. Then start writing.
Is your dream to become more fluent in English as conversational language? Toastmasters can help with that. I’m still working on my Canadian English, on my elocution.
Is it your dream to complete a college diploma, obtain a degree at university? Maybe it is to complete your Ph.D. Perhaps it is your dream to fix your broken marriage or fix a broken friendship. Perhaps lose weight. Perhaps you have always procrastinated on becoming fit, regaining and reclaiming your health.
Many, if not most of these dreams and visions are achievable. Achieving them will not be easy. That is not the point.
How do we do this dream-thing?
- Stop listening to the nay-sayers.
- Give yourself permission to dream. No more excuses.
- Write it down. Set realistic goals. Set a timeline.
- Have an accountability partner. Surround yourself with yes-sayers, with positive individuals.
- Take the first step toward your dream. And the next. And the next. Don’t stop.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in 1963 said, “I have a dream that one day—” Make today your “one day.” Dreaming big is not for other people, for famous individuals, only for the rich and influential.
Dreaming is for you and me. Are you willing to be an eagle locked up in a chicken coop for the rest of your life, or are you willing to escape the cage and start exercising you flying muscles and learn (as if for the first time) how to fly? And then one day, take off and soar?
I challenge you, as I challenge myself: dare to dream.
Thank you for reading and sharing!
- Drew D. Hansen – The Dream – Martin Luther King Jr. – 2003 by Ecco (Harper Collins Publishers)