I recently read an opinion article on a major internet news outlet written by a man that must be very bitter and frustrated with his chosen profession. In the article he was complaining about how he receives manuscripts, and request for advise or to be a mentor from as, he called them, “untalented” people. He continues to say that our society today is encouraging people to dream “impossible” dreams and as a result, people think that they can make a living doing what they love to do rather than working at a “real” job. He laments how Hollywood and New York are filled with people chasing their dreams of making it on TV or in the movies and that the streets are filled with people that will never amount to anything. He continues by adding that our society needs to teach people how to accept reality and quit dreaming and believing it’s possible to make a living doing what you love to do.
After I finished the article I was at first angry at the author. After a few minutes of thought I was just mildly put out. Now that I have had some time to think about the article and the author, I feel a little bit sorry for him. I feel sorry that he has lost the passion that lead him to his chosen career. I feel sorry that he has become jaded and frustrated with people trying to lift themselves from the ordinary. And, I must admit, I feel disbelief (and maybe a little bit of anger) towards his thought that our society needs to teach people not to dream of a better life for themselves. The really sad and scary thing is his opinion is being echoed by others in positions of influence. Our schools universities and even segments of our government have been promoting the need to quit dreaming and accept reality. But what kind of future will we have if we don’t have dreamers?
In our history we have had many dreamers. Steve Jobs, Andrew Carnegie, Henry Ford, Walt Disney, Martin Luther King, Jr., Ben Franklyn, Abraham Lincoln, and Aristotle were all dreamers. Every great thing and many of the things that we take for granted today, are the result of someone’s dream. It wasn’t the pragmatic thinkers that believed the world was round. It wasn’t the conformist that invented winged flight. These things were the result of someone’s dream. Granted, dreams are not always good and some should never be acted upon. But if a person dreams of a device or plan to change our world or our perception of it for the better, shouldn’t we encourage him or her? Shouldn’t that person have access to the knowledge and training needed to make their dream a reality?
Our country is currently suffering from a lack of support for people that have dreams of making something better for themselves and their families. Schools and universities teach only what is needed to meet the minimum standards. Average is more than good enough for far too many. Above average thinking and aspirations are becoming a rarity. I find it hard to believe that a society that was founded on a dream is now beginning to accept the idea that dreamers should be discouraged at a time when we need all forward thinking dreamers we can get.
We need the Fords, Kings, Franklyns, Lincolns, Carnegies and Disneys today more than ever. We need the small business owner that wants to make a better life for him or herself while creating jobs for others. We need the scientist that is working on sustainable, renewable energy. We need the artist, poets, authors and architects that will create the next master work if for no other reason than to inspire others to dream of a better life. We need the next generation of dreamers if we are to ever make this world a better place for everyone.
So I say to anyone that reads this, don’t be afraid to dream. Don’t let someone tell you that you are foolish for wanting to make the next great or small discovery that could make a better life for future generations. Don’t let the pragmatics discourage you from seeing beyond what is currently accepted as truth. Search out anyone and everyone that can teach and mentor you on the way to your dream. If you are unable to achieve your current dream, choose another and another until you find the one that takes you to where you want to be. Always learn along the way and share what you learn to others in order to help them achieve their dream.
I have a dream and I am following that dream. I have had setbacks and successes. I don’t know exactly how many twist and turns I will encounter on the path to my dream but I continue on. I know that on the way to my dream, I will help many others live a better life. What’s your dream? What are you doing to make that dream a reality? You do have a dream don’t you?