“If you can dream it, you can do it. The only way you’ll fail is if you quit.”
– Dick Rutan
The subject of dreams has been flooding my mind lately. Unfortunately I’m not referring to the kind of dreams where you are in a fight but you are unable to punch, or the ones where your husband’s pet turtle dies and you wake up only to find tear filled eyes with your hands soothing him by rubbing his back. Nope. I’m talking about the kind of dreams based on what your heart desires most. Here’s a list of synonyms incase you’re still confused: ambition, aspiration, desire, hope, notion, wish. Anyway, I thought of the subsequent story while contemplating so much about dreams.
When I was in the midst of my adolescence, the 10th grade to be precise, I dreamt of being in student government (mostly so I could wear one of those thick cardigans). I thought I would inquire what others thought about my idea, you know.. ask them if I was beloved enough by the student body to be voted into office. The first girl that I talked to, Beatrice (the name is changed, obviously), boorishly said “you won’t make it, only boys get elected into student government”. Beatrice ended up being absolutely right, well at least about the “you won’t make it” part. She was right because I didn’t even try to make it. Any aspiration that was inside of me was immediately destroyed following my chat with Beatrice. Because of her one remark I genuinely believed that I had no shot at that specific dream and I would be better off throwing it away.
Well…somewhere between my sophomore and junior year of high school I decided to become the own architect of my life and, as the story goes, I ended up running for student government the next year and made it! From this minuscule example I learned a highly valuable lesson that would impact the rest of my life. It is as follows.
Don’t let the voice of critics get you down
In one way or another we all have Beatrice’s in our own lives. It could be a friend, the status quo, or perhaps even ourselves. There is always going to be something telling us that it’s totally impossible to accomplish our dreams. To that I say… ignore it. Ignore the fear that is keeping you from starting your own business, climbing Mount Everest (you can choose to take this literally or metaphorically), or becoming a professional entertainer. Ignore any odds going against you. Ignore people telling you that you suffer from insurmountable thinking disorder. Ignore the logic of your mind and listen to the longing in your heart.
The Iron Cowboy has a perfectly inspiring success story. In case you are unaware, this man recently accomplished something that doctors said would kill him, the media said was insane, and he said…was his dream. The Iron Cowboy completed 50 triathlons in 50 consecutive days, in all 50 states of America. This story, to me, says nothing less than YOU CAN DO ANYTHING YOU WANT. Don’t allow yourself to fall prisoner to the voice of critics. I say this because I once was a hostage to my own mind in this aspect.
My male roommate (aka my husband), Tucker, informed me that one day we would start our own business. A few months later he striked up a conversation about applying to big wig MBA programs. He’s also mentioned on several occasions that he wants to build an airplane. In the moment I would humor him with a faint smile and think to myself.. “those are all great ideas honey, if we were supernatural, well to do, or genius”. Since those manifestations, however, my eyes have been opened. (It’s just an idiom.. I opened my physical eyes the day I escaped the womb).
I used to live under the false perception that doing big things was for other people. Who am I to get into Harvard? I could never write a book. Starting a non-profit organization is for rich people. The idea of doing anything more than merely existing and living a mediocre life was too farfetched to me. Tuck helped me to realize that the bogus limitations I was putting on my life, were indeed just that… BOGUS! There’s no distinct law saying that some people are destined to live their dreams while others must suffer a mundane lifestyle. The fact of the matter is, if you can dream it you can do it, the only way you’ll fail is if you quit. The greatest things in the world were accomplished by ordinary people who were able to ignore their critics and follow their heart. We, my friends can do the exact same. Tell yourself your dream, then make a plan to achieve it.