Tuesday, April 21, 2015
Meghan Miller, H01 Blog Post 1
My three blog posts are going to be a culmination of my thoughts on dreams. Not nightmares or daydreams, but rather, aspirations and ambitions. My first post will simply describe why dreams are so central to us as human beings, and why perhaps we should give them more credit than society tells us to. My second post will discuss the mind-over-matter concept, the idea that we create our reality by the kind of thinking we participate in. My final post will touch on the mindset that I believe is most conducive to making your dreams reality. This I believe: be a dreamer and a doer.
Everyone is born with dreams. Dreams of greatness, of world-changing, mind-blowing proportions. When asked what they want to be when they grow up, children sometimes give some pretty crazy responses. They say they want to be astronauts, actresses, presidents, professional athletes, or to solve problems like cancer or world hunger. Time passes. Give these same children a few years under their belts, and they’ll give you much wiser responses. Things like working for NASA, being a newscaster, working for the government, being a sportswriter, and perhaps working in an oncology lab or coordinating a non-profit. The dreams have been dialed down a little bit, made more realistic, but each still echoes the same tone it contained a few years earlier. Give these same kids another few years, however, maybe wait for them to enter college, and most of their answers become unrecognizable. Suddenly they’re saying they want to be in engineering, media production, administration, physical therapy, nursing, or business (not that there is anything wrong with these careers). The problem is how society has changed the children’s dreams. Children who once dreamed of being amazing, unique, pioneering, and world-changing now just sound like a bunch of clones, blending in with the rest of society. And you know what’s amazing? Let these kids live their lives, pursuing their ‘normal’ careers, and go find them again towards the end of their lives. Chances are, most of them, even though they are old and grey, will still remember what it is they wanted to be when they were little. Most of them will feel a tiny tinge of regret, a little sadness over the memory of that once shiny dream. Because now it is too late. And they never went into space; they never got on stage after the high school play; they watched presidential debates with frustration each year, as candidate after candidate proved a disappointment; they never set foot on a professional baseball field; cancer still isn’t cured; children are still starving.
In the words of the late Robin Williams, “You’re only given one little spark of madness. You mustn’t lose it.”
It’s ironic. We ask children what they want to be, and then tell them they can’t be it. We entertain their amusing dreams when they’re in first grade, but in high school, we tell them to think realistically. How will they make a living? Do they know the odds of becoming a professional athlete? Don’t they want to be able to support a family? What about the millions of other problems they can’t solve?
Instead of teaching kids how to pick a career based on statistics, personality indicators, salary, or feasibility, why aren’t we teaching them problem-solving, opportunity recognition, persistence, and the power of their minds? Dreams are innate. They are woven into our souls as indications of who we are meant to be. Society says dreaming big dreams is futile, childish, and unrealistic. The heart says otherwise.
Isn’t it fascinating that the heroes we hold dear as a society are those who pursued their dreams, who went all the way to the top, who persevered and overcame? People who did the unthinkable, the impossible. People like Albert Einstein, Steve Jobs, Jackie Robinson. People who persisted in the pursuit of their dream despite failures and discouragement until they succeeded. It is this courage that society applauds, and yet hypocritically discourages. Think of all the greatness that society prevents, merely by convincing children to be less than their dreams. Maybe the potential world-record pitcher is sitting at a desk crunching numbers. Perhaps the cure for cancer lies within a mind that decided to be a radiologist instead. Dreams are important; they are a part of us. When we reduce them, diminish them, and laugh at them, we not only forfeit the potential to change the world around us, but we forfeit a part of ourselves. This I believe: pursue your dreams.