Bridging the gap between dreams and realities
It was Myles Munroe who said that the wealthiest places in the world were not the oil wells of Saudi Arabia nor the diamond fields in South Africa, but the graveyard. He considered the graveyard as the wealthiest place in the world harbouring those who die without realising all their potentials.
People die with unfinished careers, unwritten books, songs not written and composed and houses not designed. This makes me ask questions – can one really have it all? Can I be all am designed to be? Is there such a thing as purpose for life? Is life random? Would you recognise the life you’re supposed to be living? Are your fantasies and realities about life one and the same?
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When I was young, I wanted to be a pilot. There was something cool as a young kid watching the planes glide across the skies. Then I wanted to be an aeronautic engineer simply because it sounded more complicated and cooler than an “ordinary” pilot. After that, I wanted to be a computer scientist, and much later an accountant (I assumed since they dealt with money, they were rich). I didn’t become any of these things at least for now. I became an entrepreneur and I love what I have become on most days (there are still bad days).
Most people as kids had big dreams of what they wanted to be when they grow up, but then, life happened to them. First they did not get the course they wanted to study in school. How will you become a doctor when you had four attempts at JAMB and you feel that even the microbiology you were finally offered was a favour to you. Some do not get into school at all; a parent died, funding dried up and schooling became an unachievable dream.
Or, maybe, you even got the course you really wanted. Since you were seven, you had wanted to be a pharmacist, but upon graduation, the only ‘sensible’ job offers you got were from Access Bank and GTB. Out goes the dream of being a pharmacist and in comes the rat race. You get married and have four kids. Between everyday work commute, school fees and house rent, the word “dreams” is only something you know in a dictionary. I saw a meme that read ‘there is more to life than just living and paying bills’.
Successful people, people who look like they are living the life or people who followed their dreams (doesn’t matter if they discovered such dream at age 7 or 37) didn’t happen randomly. They were inundated with the same challenges and limitations life sets for many. They wrestled and made deliberate efforts to go in the direction of their dreams everyday.
Let us wipe the slate clean and act a childhood drama. If you had a blank slate and you could dream again, what would you want to be when you grew up. Will you stay with the dream you had as a child or do you have new dreams. It doesn’t matter if it seems you have gone past the opportunities that will help you live your dreams.
Richard Branson wanted to be an astronaut, and he couldn’t but he founded Virgin Galactic. He will not only go to space but he will make it possible for several others to go to space. He’s an astronaut extraordinaire. You may have packed so much baggage along the path of life that you no longer know how to dream again, let’s start with what you don’t want. As a kid I know I never wanted to be a doctor or a lawyer. So you start by defining how you don’t want your life to be and that should make how you want your life to be easier to imagine.
In dreaming again, try (and I know this is hard work) try and forget money being a limitation. So if you have a dream to visit China and learn the language, don’t process visa procedures and ticket fares in your head. Simply write it down. Also don’t fall into the trap of thinking a dream is too big or fall into the trap of thinking some dreams are out of your league or doesn’t happen with people with your type of background, exposure or educational level. History is filled with people who defied norms, overcame challenges and lived their dreams.
One of the limitations of pursuing dreams remains bills. Mortgage, rent, car payment, school fees, etc. If you are on Facebook you should like the page, Humans of New York. That page is filled with real life stories of ordinary people with extra ordinary stories. I have read about people who at 40 decide to pursue entirely new career paths. I have read about people who at 55 decided to live life differently – the way they felt they ought to have when they were 25. One must assume these people had some financial responsibilities and commitments but still had the courage to live the life they wanted to. Age really should not be an excuse.
Another limitation of pursuing dreams is belief. Many people do not genuinely believe they can achieve their dreams, they do not believe they can be the person they want to be. Some old wise guy (I think Henry Ford) said, “Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t, you are right.” If you believe in your dreams, then you need to start believing in yourself. Believing in and pursuing your dreams involves letting go of the familiar. You have to be ready for a future you don’t quite know how it would pan out.
There are several paths to achieving your dreams. You decide your speed and pace by your commitment level and life responds to you. Life would test your resolve though by throwing obstacles in your path. Keep your cool. It is no cliché; tough times really don’t last if you are tough enough.
Today, I live my dreams of being an entrepreneur and I am quick to tell people that achieving your dreams really isn’t the big deal. That’s not the thrill. It is the buildup, the journey, the good days and not-so-good days, the small victories, the small setbacks, the experiences, the people you meet, and the changes in you that you rarely notice. In other words, it is every day including the days on which it seems you do nothing. That is the excitement, the journey to becoming what you want to be when you grow up.
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