I have a cousin that, despite our age difference, I have bonded with a bit over the past two years. She has become somewhat of a mentor to me. She is a successful woman with a passion for the arts who manages a large assortment of investments while taking care of three children. We recently had one of our conversations about — to be quite honest everything and anything.
One thing she said stuck with me. Despite all her success, she does have one regret — and it’s a doozy. She regrets not having dreamed bigger, not having tried her hand at more, at the seemingly impossible. She wishes she could have believed in herself enough to want more.
I would like to believe that dreaming small is not something that our generation has to worry about. Maybe it’s because we were told how special and unique we are growing up. Maybe it has something to do with the concept of the American dream that has managed to cross boarders and infiltrate countries where only a couple of decades before dreaming itself was frowned upon. But the truth is that the majority of us still dream small. Sure, we fill our Instagrams with photos of selfies posed in front of luxury cars, yachts, expensive clothing and accessories. We do dream large when it comes to material possessions — oh man do we love useless, meaningless sh*t.
Such dreams are not much more than nightmares waiting to happen. A life spent focused on attaining things, objects is not a life worth living — having to wake up and realize that you wasted your life for that purpose, well, must really suck — for lack of a better word. Material dreams are the smallest of all and dreaming small is not worth the effort. You have one life to live; one life to use your life force to affect the people and world around you. I’m sure you could come up with something more significant and interesting purposes for your efforts.
The funny thing about dreams is that just about any one of them is achievable within a lifetime. Just the same, whether a big dream or small one, many of them take about the same length of time to come to fruition. You can spend 30 years making it up the corporate ladder or you could spend 30 years creating something that changes the course of history for the better — both dreams take decades, but while one is small, the other is huge.
There are 2 types of people in this life: those that influence and those that are influenced. Those that are influenced are kept at bay, kept living lives of mediocrity and accepting it as the workings of fate. Those that influence are those that have a lasting effect on humanity.
One day you will die and you will either be remembered or forgotten. What you do in this lifetime will either be a chain in the link of history or the rag used to polish it. If you’re one of those that couldn’t care less if and/or how they are remembered, then dream big for yourself. Wouldn’t you like to know what you are truly capable of? See how far you can take things, what you can pull off if you put your mind to it? If you never learn your limits then you’ll never have gotten to know yourself completely — there will always be that part of you that you never got a chance to explore.
The beautiful thing is that no dream is too big, just too small. Because most people assume the bigger dreams to be impossible, the competition for attainment is a minimum, compared to even the most average of dreams. It’s very funny really; most people consider the improbable to be impossible, so going after your biggest dreams ends up becoming a better rational choice by default. It’s economically sound, I promise.
There is a world full of opportunity open to you. Why not take advantage of it all? Think of the most impossible thing that you can imagine, make sure it is something that you’ll love and be passionate about, and go after it. Want to be president? CEO of the largest company in the world? The most prominent ballet dancer on the planet? World’s bestselling writer? Maybe you want to be the scientist that discovers a cure for cancer? Or — my personal favorite — the world’s first ever trillionaire?
Anything is possible as long as it doesn’t go against the laws of physics. What’s the worst that could happen? You could fail? That’s part of the learning process. And if you’re going to fail then you may as well fail at the near impossible and not the common. Besides, if you aim extremely high, even failure will leave you on top of the world.
Mid Surfer Photo Credit: Shutter Shock