I also write for Hatfield Christian Church's Newsgirl blog, you can read Here's to the dreamers there.
“Here’s to the ones who dream, foolish as they may seem”
We all admire people with big dreams.
The drama student who wants to become a famous Hollywood star. The swimmer who wants to make it to the Olympics. The guy next door who starts his own band.
At times, we can be cynical when it comes to others’ dreams. Especially when we know them personally. But even the most cynical of us are mesmerised and inspired by the people who actively pursue their dreams. Their passion and dedication towards their dreams is infectious.
We all want to be dreamers.
We all want to achieve something so much bigger than ourselves, and dreams give us that hope. Hope of achieving an ideal; of aspiring to be better in whatever regard. This glimmer of hope provides focus and vision, and gives us something to look forward to.
We all are scared of pursuing dreams, particularly those dreams that we desire greatly.
The reason for this fear is the more we value something the bigger fear of losing it becomes. In this case even the idea of failure is terrifying. Teachers and parents tell their students to dream big. But, oftentimes, it is the large scale of a dream that intimidates us. The impossibility of it all dawns on us. And we either run away and try to forget all about our dream, or we scale it down – replacing the dream with a more achievable goal. Why aim for a distinction in Maths if all you need to do is pass? Why try to paint the Mona Lisa when drawing stick figures and doodles are more achievable?
We often measure the impossibility of a dream through our own severely critical and pessimistic lens. We measure our dreams and the possibility of their success by the limitations we have put on our own abilities. We fear failure. But without failure, how can we appreciate success? I have learnt that the only way to build up a resistance to failure is to fail in small doses. Being exposed to failure in small measures not only help us build up our immunity of the fearing failure, it also strengthens us to pursue bigger dreams that come with a bigger risk of failure. However, this is easier said and done.
Yet, we still have an innate desire to dream big.
We still want to achieve something so much bigger than ourselves. So why do we reason our way out of pursuing our dreams? Why do we keep looking for possible ways of disqualifying ourselves from our aspirations to be better?
Ask any child what they aspire to be when they grow up and each child will have an answer for you. Some will give you the typically popular answers: a fireman, a policeman, a teacher or a doctor. And some will give you more unrealistically creative answers: a mermaid, a dog or even the president.
My dreams in life were always achievable, but never outlandish: get good grades, pass matric, go to university, get a degree, get a job. Although all of these dreams might have been challenging in their own ways, I managed to achieve them all; mostly with ease. But for the first time in my life, I am faced with having dreams that seem way too big and completely unachievable. If I am being honest with you, I was crippled with fear for a while. I tried to go on with life and find more manageable alternatives. But this just made life seem mediocre and dull. What is it about riding that rollercoaster, or jumping off the edge of that cliff that gets our hearts racing, our adrenaline pumping and clears our minds? Pursuing crazy big dreams brings a little of that into our lives. With terror comes excitement and with risk comes reward.
Statistically speaking, we spend a lot of our time sleeping, working and eating. If we cut out all of those things, we are left with only a quarter of our lives to pursue meaningful things. Our time is limited. When I finally came to this realisation, I decided that I didn’t want to live a mediocre life. Instead, I am going to try to be bold and tackle my dreams head-on. Take on the risk of failure! Face my fear! Because maybe, just maybe, I will be successful. And then, possibly, I can ignite a passion in someone else to take their own risk, pursue their dreams and make every day meaningful.
So next time you disqualify yourself from pursuing a dream that might seem a little too crazy, I want to challenge you to go for it. Give it all you have. Take that leap of faith. Increase your measure of courage. Build up your belief in yourself and your abilities. You never know, you might be successful. At the very least, you will have a sparkle in your eye and a hop in your step.
Because you dared to dream.
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