Wednesday, 21 October 2015

The Reason I Cannot Realize My Dream

Did you once have a dream but then life's knocks came along and you gave up on that dream?

Is there something you would really like to achieve, but you have never gone for it as you didn't believe it was possible for you?

The sad truth is that most people, if they are honest, would admit to this.  "I always wanted to ..., but ...!"

Everyone's "but" is slightly different.  Maybe even unique.  But I guess some of the biggest "buts" fall somewhere into one of the following categories:

  •   I don't have enough money
  •   Nobody living where I do could do it
  •   I am not educated enough
  •   I am too old
  •   I am too young
  •   I tried it before and I failed
  •   I don't have the right body for it

One of the best ways to become successful, to live your dream, is to find someone who has already done what you want to do and then copy what they did.  Not do the same things, but see how they approached the challenge and then do likewise.  Or simply to become inspired by others who have achieved something great, even if it is very different from what you wish to achieve.

  I don't have enough money

This is perhaps the biggest obstacle perceived by many people who give up trying to be successful.

Some millionaires were born wealthy.  But many were not.  Take John D Rockefeller for example.  His father was a con artist who more or less deserted his family.  His mother did the best she could to bring up her family in the absence of her husband.  They were not "dirt poor", but they were certainly not rich and John had to struggle to make good.  And make good he did!  John D Rockefeller was the founder of Standard Oil, and created a number of charitable foundations which have done enormous good in the world.  Not bad for the son of a snake oil salesman!

Or take a look at the early life of the Canadian singer, Shania Twain.  Her family was so poor that they couldn't afford to pay for heating; Northeastern Ontario, which is where they lived, gets very cold in the winter.  Shania went to work when she was just eight years old so that her family could afford to eat.  Despite this inauspicious start in life, Shania went on to become one of the highest selling female musicians of all time and is now worth several hundred million dollars.

  Nobody living where I do could do it

Too often, people blame their environment and say it makes it impossible to achieve their dreams.  In many ways this is linked to the excuse that they cannot achieve them because they do not have enough money.

Have you ever heard of the heavyweight boxer, Jack Johnson?  Jack was an African American, living in Texas in the late 19th and early 20th century.  His parents were former slaves.  He was living in a State where at the time African Americans were hardly even regarded as human.  But this background did not stop Jack doing what he wanted to do, which was to box.  That was his dream, and he lived his dream.  He became the world heavyweight champion in December 1908.

Oprah Winfrey is a more recent example of an African American from Southern USA rising to wealth and fame.  She was born into a very poor family in Mississippi.  Oprah is now known as the "Queen of All Media", and is believed to be North America's only black billionaire.

  I am not educated enough

Benjamin Franklin's family was not wealthy enough to pay for more than two years of school, so he never graduated.  He did not let that get in the way of his education, though, and he took every opportunity he could to improve himself, especially through reading lots of books.  Amongst his achievements are the invention of the lightning rod, the urinary catheter, and bifocal glasses.  He also happened to be one of the founding fathers of the United States.

Albert Einstein took so long to learn to speak that his parents thought he had a learning disability.  He did not do well at school, and eventually dropped out at age 15.  When he tried to get into Zurich polytechnic he flunked the exam.  And this was one of the most brilliant scientists of the 20th century!

Richard Branson suffers from dyslexia.  This meant he performed very badly at school, as in those days dyslexia was not really recognized and schools did not make allowances for students with this condition.  Nevertheless, Richard Branson went on to create the Virgin brand, and realized his dream to create a large and successful airline.  In his autobiography he wrote "My interest in life comes from setting myself huge, apparently unachievable challenges and trying to rise above them".  That is something Richard Branson has certainly achieved, setting a great example for anyone who feels challenged by their educational ability.

  I am too old

Kathryn Joosten was a highly talented actress who has won two Emmy Awards.  When did she become a successful actress?  When she was nearly 60.

Frank McCourt achieved fame through his novel "Angela's Ashes", which gained him the Pulitzer Prize.  He did not realize his dream of becoming a published author, though, until he was 65 years old!

Have you ever used a Thesaurus?  If so, you can thank Peter Roget who came up with the concept in the first place - at the grand old age of 73!  Not only did he have the "obstacle" of age, but he also suffered from Obsessive Convulsion Disorder.  Instead of seeing his mental condition as an obstacle, Roget used it to his advantage to turn his dream of a Thesaurus into reality.

  I am too young

Nobody should see being too young as an obstacle, but unfortunately many still do.

There are countless examples of very young people achieving success.  Mozart began composing at age 3 and had his debut at age 4.  Blaise Pascal created an extremely important mathematical theorum, Pascal's Theorum, when he was 16.  Arfa Karim, a Pakistani girl, became a Microsoft Certified Professional at the age of 9!

Whatever it is you want to achieve, whether young or old, you should not see age as an obstacle.

  I tried it before and I failed

Stephen King received rejection letters from 30 publishers for his first novel "Carrie".  When it was finally published it had an initial print run of 30,000, and the paperback edition which was published a year later sold over 1 million copies!

Thomas Edison is probably one of the best examples of someone who simply kept trying no matter how many times he failed.  Edison didn't invent the light bulb.  Alessandro Volta could be said to have invented it 78 years before Edison began his work.  What Edison DID invent was the first electric light bulb that would last long enough to be a practical replacement for gas and oil lighting.  It seemed an impossible task.  Everything he tried seemed not to work properly.  Did that make him give up?  No!  Instead of becoming discouraged, Edison said "I have not failed.  I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work!"

  I don't have the right body for it

Franklin Roosevelt became President of the United States when he was permanently paralyzed from the waist down.  In those days people were much less tolerant of disability and Roosevelt believed, probably rightly, that he would not be voted into office if people realized just how disabled he was.  He did not see this as an insurmountable obstacle, though, but just a challenge to be overcome.  He gave speeches from a sturdy lectern that he could lean on and appear to be fully mobile.  His strategy worked, and Roosevelt became perhaps one of the most famous Presidents of all time.

Stephen Hawkin is another great example.  Hawkin is so fully paralyzed by motor neurone disease that not only is he unable to move but he can also only communicate by moving a single cheek muscle attached to an electronic device that turns the movement into speech.  He was first diagnosed with the disease when he was 21, and was told he would not survive his 25th birthday.  As of the date of this article, Stephen Hawking is 73 and is still working.  His work includes a development of Einstein's theory of general relativity, and numerous publications popularizing his passion for cosmology.

Nick Vujicic was born without arms or legs.  He is now a very well known international motivational speaker, with a particular interest in helping teenagers overcome their problems.  This he can do very well - after all, if Nick can achieve so much without arms or legs, then how much more should I be able to achieve without such a major disability?

  So, what is your excuse

I hope you have been inspired by these very brief stories of people who have realized their dreams against what must have seemed impossible odds.  The one thing all these people share is that what others would have seen as insurmountable obstacles, they saw as stimulating challenges.

The next time you are tempted to say you are facing too difficult an obstacle to achieve your dream, just read through these examples again.  That obstacle may be very real, but it is probably not as challenging as the obstacles any of these people faced.

Whatever your dream may be, no matter your circumstances, just go for it!

1 comment:

  1. Thanks very much Mr Graham for sharing with us those beautiful inspirational stories which are of validity to our normal life.I thus appreciate your beauty of sense of humor to help mankind to be successful in life.Good bless and bless everything you do,family,work and so forth.
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