Sunday, July 11, 2010

Dare to Dream Again

The other day someone gave me a Space Shuttle. OK, it wasn't a real Space Shuttle - it was a cuddly toy replica with a bright orange fuel tank.
So, you might ask - what prompted them to do this?
The answer is " a dream".
You see, this 18 year old girl who gave me the Space Shuttle cuddly toy had just been to Florida - her mom had taken her there as a surprise 18th birthday treat, because..and here is the punchline: her 18 year old daughter wants to be an astronaut.
So why did she give me the Space Shuttle?
The reason is because I encouraged her to pursue her dream. For a while, she had become discouraged by the odds stacked against her success, and it was so tempting to give up before she had really begun to try.
So I told her to watch a video where Tony Robbins explains his understanding of certainty. I told her to ask her mom to watch the video too.
So, here's the interesting thing: 8 months after watching the video, the mom & daughter go and watch a Shuttle launch.
I've watched a few of these launches on YouTube. Projected on to a big screen with a good sound system, and it feels like you are almost there. Except, you're not really there.
Now to this 18 year old, seeing a Shuttle take off moved her to tears (I admit, the same happens to me). She was awestruck by the power of such a machine, and more importantly, she was amazed how we human beings can produce such incredible achievements.
Claire (not her real name) was animated, eyes wide, as she described to me the launch, and how it had inspired her.
I'm pretty sure she was encouraged to carry on her pursuit to become an astronaut too. And her gift of the cuddly toy Space Shuttle was her way of thanking me, and affirming her commitment to persist.
Now it's over to you: what dreams do you have?
Or, perhaps you have allowed your dreams to die, maybe because of the knocks you've received along the way. It might be that you've never been encouraged to dream...or maybe it's become too painful to dream because of the disappointments that you've experienced in your life.
I want to share an important principle which might encourage you to dare to dream, and why it's imperative for your survival as a human being to dream.
Here is the simple principle: don't mix up the past with the future. Let me explain what I mean. It's a very common mistake to take the experiences of the past and use them as the pattern for how things will go in the future.
It's a fundamental mistake. And it's easy to make, as it helps us to believe that we understand and make sense of the world around us. The problem with this approach is that we often are too quick to think that we really do understand the world just by the experiences that have happened to us, and that we can predict what will happen in the future when a similar situation happens again.
Let me give you an example which shows you why this is such a bad way to think about your future.
Let's say you are 6 years old and you are learning to ride a bike. You get on. You fall off. You get on again. You fall off again. Now, stop the tape running in your head for a minute, and ask yourself this:
If you had given up at that second fall, what effect would that have had on the rest of your childhood? You would probably be missing out on a whole heap of fun that your friends were experiencing because they had learned how to ride their bikes.
So, don't make the same mistake in your life: starting today, wipe your future "inbox" clean.
And dare to dream what difference you would like to make in this world. If you do this, and stay focussed on this vision, no amount of challenge, adversity, struggle or pain will stop you.

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