To Dream or Not to Dream

[a note, not a motivational pile of crap]

I’ll take the dream. I’m allergic to skeptics.

I’ve learned something (as always) over the years. Never listen to the person that tells you “You’re not going to make it!”. They’re most likely to feel miserable and unfulfilled and need to drag somebody else down with them.

Shakespeare was right, we are made of dreams. That’s what pushes us to go further. That’s what made the IPad possible. Or the stem cell transplant. Or Daft Punk.

I’m sure that someone told Edison to give it up at some point in his life. I’m also pretty sure that he gave them the middle finger and look at us now. Think about that when you turn on the lights. Ransom E. Olds didn’t give up on the dream either. Remember the Oldsmobile? That was the “in-your-face” manifesto of a man who dared to pursue a dream. Think about that when you get in your car with the words “You’ll never make it!” thumping in your head. Mr. Bell had a dream. So did Martin Luther King. And Marie Curie. Even Kelly Clarkson had a dream. And they’ve all had to deal with at least one skeptic who told them “Come on, stop dreaming, stick to your day job, you’re not going to make it!”.

It’s time you put up that middle finger in the air and start using it properly. What, I can’t dream? I can’t wish for better things for myself? Should I just give up and keep pushing papers in a tiny office while my room keeps filling itself up with some of the most incredible paintings that the 21st century has ever seen? Maybe I want to become an astronaut. Who the hell are you to tell me that I can’t make it?

Humanity was not built on “realism” or “stick to your day job”. Humanity was built on dreams and it continues to grow on this platform. Of course, its effect on the planet is still shady to me, but I’m talking about a more individual level here.

Take me, for example. I’ve heard this crap all my life.

“Well, it’s a nice thing you can paint and all, but it won’t get you far, you might think of a career as a secretary or even assistant manager! Imagine that! ASSISTANT MANAGER!” – yes, it’s always been my life’s dream to fetch coffee and mail for some pompous bastard in a suit until I retire. Then my grandchildren will ask me about my life and what I’ve done. I’ll have a lot to tell them, for sure. “I sorted the mail and answered the phone for thirty years. It paid the mortgage and the food for your mother.” — the problem is that I put up my middle finger instead and pursued my own dreams. I’m not on top of any pyramid right now, I’m not handling any multibillion dollar business and I’m not hanging any “Sold Out” signs at the entrance of any art gallery. But I’m happy and I can look at myself in the mirror.

“Good for you that you can write novels and great stories, but that won’t pay the rent!” – thank you for the wonderful insight, I’ve never thought about it this way. Not even when I was serving coffee to daddy’s little rich girls just so I could have a decent lunch. I will take that advice and quit writing, in fact. I’ll live out the rest of my days as a waitress who loves “Big Brother” and when my breasts reach my knees I’ll be able to look back and say “Hey! I’ve done a lot these last 20 years! I’ve done a lot!”, while I feed my three cats and pray that my children do better. I’m kidding. I’ve put up the middle finger high up in the air again and I’ve gone my way. I’m writing and I will keep writing until I reach that point of success that every aspiring writer dreams about. I’ll keep following my dream – maybe I’ll make it, maybe I won’t. At least I will have tried. My dignity will still be there to pat me on the shoulder.

“You’ll never have your own business! You need money and your current job won’t cover that.” – I think Richard Branson heard that almost every single day of his life. I’m not just throwing examples in your face as a motivational tactic. Not at all. It’s just incredibly annoying to hear that “You won’t make it!” line every time I dare to talk about my dreams.

We all have dreams. Whether we have the courage to admit it or not, it’s our problem. Whether we have the balls to pursue them, it’s entirely up to us. But if we keep ourselves down just because others didn’t have the courage to follow their dreams, we’re of no use to this world.

We don’t need skeptics, we need people who can stand up for themselves and for their vision. Progress was never based on “Give it up, Joe, you’ll never make it!”.

So, for example, if I say that in five years’ time I’ll have my degree and my own business, there are 50% chances that it will happen. If I stick by it and try hard to make it, my chances will go higher. If I keep giving people the middle finger every time they tell me that I won’t make it, my chances will continue to grow. Worst case scenario is that I won’t make it, but at least I’ll be able to live with myself and defeat will not sting as much as regrets. Best case scenario is that I’ll put a diamond ring on that middle finger, so it’ll sparkle while I show it off.

My point would be to never give up. Not until you try, anyway. It’s better to go out there and end up smacking your head against the wall than to stay inside and keep looking out the window, wondering “What if?”. Success doesn’t come easy. There’s blood, there’s sweat and there are tears involved. And a lot of workouts for your middle finger.

I’m keeping mine up and proud.

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