How Big is Your Dream?


Hope is a waking dream – Aristotle

August 28 marks the 50th anniversary of the “I Have a Dream” speech delivered by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in Washington, D.C. That speech sparked the conscience of the American people and helped to right the course of our history as a nation. As was the case in the dream that King embraced, your dream can lead you on a path of fulfilling your destiny if you choose to embrace it.

Whether it’s your state of mind about your job, or your unfulfilled dreams and aspirations, one thing is certain; the size of your dream and your attitude towards it matters. Have you felt like giving up lately? What dream have you walked away from? Discouragement will rob you of your dreams. Faith will cause you to press on despite your circumstances.

If you knew that you could not fail what big dream would you pursue? Peter Drucker said, “People who don’t take risks generally make about two big mistakes a year. People who do take risks generally make about two big mistakes a year.” Given the law of percentages why not enthusiastically pursue your dream? Here are four observations about dreams and why they matter and how they can change your life.

Failures in your past don’t define your future.

Historically we remember Abraham Lincoln as the 16th president of the United States. But few recall that when he first went into politics at the age of 23 he campaigned for a seat in the Illinois General Assembly and failed. He then opened a general store and it failed.

Churchill said, “Success is not final, failure is not fatal; it is the courage to continue that counts.” Your past failures are preparing you for your future. Many people don’t see their dreams become reality not because the dream wasn’t worth pursuing but because they gave up too soon. Stay the course.

Rejections by others can’t stop your destiny.

Millions of people the world over have visited the Disney parks, have read the Disney books, and have watched the Disney movies. We have enjoyed all of this because Walt Disney did not allow the rejection of a newspaper editor who fired him from his job for “lacking ideas” to keep him from believing in his ideas and dreams and making them a reality.

Be it past failures or rejections we have all at one time or another experienced the sting of these disappointments. And it’s during these times that you discover your dreams are going to live or die based on how you respond. Both Lincoln and Disney chose to go for the dream and it made all the difference. 

Your lack of education is no barrier to success.

Over the past 25 years who would you say has been the most influential movie director? Would you be surprised to learn that one person on the short list- perhaps even at the top, was a high school dropout? Steven Spielberg dropped out of high school and applied to attend film school three times but was unsuccessful due to his “C” grade average.  But I think such films as E.T., Saving Private Ryan, Schindler’s List, Jurassic Park, and may others would prove the critics wrong.

Your lack of education is not necessarily your demise or your dream killer. But believing that your lack of education will restrict you can hurt you. It’s not the grade given you by others that defines you. But if you believe in yourself and in the power of faith then no classroom will be able to contain your dream.

Physical limitations can’t restrict the human spirit.

Rick Hoyt was strangled by the umbilical cord during birth, leaving him brain damaged and unable to control his limbs. The doctors told his parents that he would be a vegetable the rest of his life. His parents didn’t buy it. While they easily could have complained about their lot in life they chose to turn their limitations into triumph. Today, Dick Hoyt, along with his son have competed his hundreds of marathons. Dick pushes him in a wheelchair and their story has inspired millions.

What you do with your limitations, rejections, lack of education, or past failures is up to you. You can either permit them to hold you back and not go after your dreams or you can use them as stepping stones to do something great.

How big are your dreams?

©2013 Doug Dickerson


If you enjoy reading Doug’s leadership insights you will especially enjoy reading his books, Leaders Without Borders & Great Leaders Wanted! Visit Doug’s website to order your copies today.

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About dougdickerson

I am Certified Leadership Trainer, author, columnist, and speaker. Husband to Alicia, father to Katelyn and Kara, and "Pop" to terrific grandson Tyson. I am an avid photographer, love the outdoors, and like to travel. I'm passionate about sharing my leadership insights and helping people reach their full potential.
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