Have you ever had a brilliant idea? A wonderful thought of a stunning possibility? Then, you catch that thought in a net, chide yourself for even thinking it was possible, and pack it away never to release it again? Or perhaps as a young child you had a great passion and and a great ambition to go with it. But people told you, “It will never happen, why cheat yourself?” They said, “You are dreaming, this is the real world!” …and with all this your inner voice whispered, “How silly of me, I should just let go, after all, it will never happen.”
Wrong! While my last piece was on cutting the cord from toxic people this piece is about overcoming your own internal fears and unleashing all your greatest hopes and aspirations in the form of big, bold and powerful dreams.
Now I like epic things, I always have… Epic stories, epic books, epic movies, epic songs! I think if something is worth doing and you have the capacity, do it big! Like the air we breathe, dreams are free, and so I dream BIG! I may never get there but I will visualize it, embrace it, and in doing so allow my subconscious to start to tweak my every response towards the realization of that dream. Seeing it, they say, is half the battle won. And so I ask, do you see yours? Is it epic?
I interviewed US President Barack Obama a few years ago, he was then the Senator of Illinios but there was wide speculation that he may seek the Democratic nomination to run for the Presidency. He was very down to earth and quite humorous. Later, back at the office at Nation Centre everyone ridiculed the thought that this black man could run for President in the US – let alone win… But therein lies the key to a great dream… It must encompass the ‘Audacity of Hope’.
So, take a look at your dream and ask yourself, would it make everyone scoff at me? If not, perhaps it’s not big enough… Perhaps you can stretch yourself and make it bigger, bolder and more audacious! It is only in creating a big bold dream that we will challenge ourselves enough to outperform even our own expectations… And thereby yield abundant fruits on the journey even as we seek to get to the final destination.
And while your journey toward your epic dream must be focused and determined, ensure that it does not become a self destructive obsession. Moby Dick is one of the greatest American works of literature. Written by Herman Melville it captures the obsession for revenge of Captain Ahab, who seeks to kill Moby Dick, the great white whale that destroyed his ship and claimed his leg – but ultimately Ahab’s quest for revenge is his own undoing. On the journey towards self fulfillment there are several vital lessons one can take from Moby Dick:
1. Your dream must be about you.
Captain Ahab makes his life about Moby Dick, and yet he is told, “Moby Dick sees thee not. It is thou, thou that madly seekest him.”
It should never be about others, it must be all about you. Do not imagine that others are competing with you, and even if they are, do not seek to compete with them. The greatest competition lies within oneself.
Even as you set your own internal compass, ensure that you do not craft your journey or your destination around the success of others, the need to ‘be’ like someone, the need to ‘have’ what others have, or the need to outdo or destroy another… this could be your own undoing.
In the story, Ahab harpoons the white whale he so desperately sought but as Moby Dick dives into the deep he is caught in the line and drawn to the depths of the ocean and to his own death. His ship is also destroyed. All for naught.
2. Be flexible.
The search for Moby Dick reveals that the goals will often shift. In the story one sailor states, “It is not down on any map; true places never are.” In addition, your journey will have twists and turns, you will move back and forth, and that’s just fine, more often than not the path will not be clear and direct.
3. Be adaptable.
To be or not to be? One character in Moby Dick makes the profound statement, “Well, well, what’s signed is signed; and what’s to be will be; and then again, perhaps it won’t be, after all.”
As you seek your dreams remember that they may come to be or they may not come to be, perhaps then the greatest joy should be in experiencing the journey rather than getting to the destination.
Whether it will be or not, do not deny yourself a bold, positive vision, and a plan towards achieving this dream – then brace yourself, strap yourself in and enjoy the ride! I have no doubt you will find that embracing your vision, crafting your strategy, and walking your path is one of the greatest gifts of learning that you could ever give to yourself.