Let’s take it way back…
Remember living in the 90’s? Huge TVs, pagers, using home phones to call a friend- only if no one was using the dial-up internet of course! It’s safe to say the world has come a long way since we were kids. But for a moment, I’d like you to imagine a time before you were even born.
The 1890’s. No indoor plumbing meant no showers or washing machines and no indoor electricity meant candle lit evenings and a lack of telephones. Cars had yet to be mass produced, so horse drawn carriages were the most convenient method of travel and a German church, Ulm Minister, was the tallest building in the whole world.
There’s no question that it took a lot of innovative people to get us to where we are today. And by the time we grow old, this world we’ve become so familiar with will become unrecognizable due to a myriad of technological, cultural, and structural changes. Of all generations, ours has seen the most significant amount of change in the shortest amount of time- which leads me to my proposal. Let’s be the generation to end discrimination against dreamers, once and for all.
What I mean when I say ‘Change’…
Now allow me to elaborate because when I say ‘Change’ I’m not just speaking broadly about the innovations that progress humanity, but I’m also referring to a cultural or lifestyle change. People such as Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, Alexander Graham Bell and the Wright Brothers have been household names for generations due to the improvements they’ve made to the human experience. But they weren’t always revered inventors.
At one point or another almost all innovators and artists were seen as lunatics before the world grew accustomed to their work or ideas (sometimes this was even after their death). For example, the famous Greek pioneer of philosophy, Socrates was sentenced to death by poison for his beliefs. This was one of the first of its kind in recorded history but unfortunately not even close to the last. Jesus, Galileo, Martin Luther King Jr., Lincoln, John Lennon- just a few names from a long list of revolutionaries that were persecuted, executed or both due to the fear of change inherent in our nature.
Why this matters…
This piece is not meant to be a history lesson or depressing for that matter, so now that I got all of that out of the way we can start to explore how this affects you. Everyone has a dream- you don’t need to be actively pursuing your dream, or even acknowledging it, but I can guarantee you have aspirations. If you’re anything like me, then you’ve known about your dream since you were a kid.
Letting go of your superficial 5-year-old “I wanna be an astronaut” dream is one thing. But when you truly desire a goal, thrive to become someone special, or create something we must all learn to fight for our passions regardless of what others say. Even when some girl in seventh grade told you, “You’ll never be a fashion designer, that’s what everyone wants!” or after pitching an invention some kid said, “That’s the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard, I would never buy that!”.
You’re the only one that must pay the price of neglected dreams due to societal shaming. I could write an entire paper on this subject alone.
Why is it so easy to shoot down people’s dreams?
It’s easy to view our world (especially here in the U.S.) as a cutthroat place where one must compete with others to get ahead. In my opinion, we live in a world with a majority of competitors and a minority of creators.
The truth is, no one permanently gets ahead through competition unless they’re professional athletes. In the employment world, we get ahead through creation. The creation of art, entertainment, technology, services, methods of production, laws and regulations, our whole world is supported and run by those dreamers who have removed themselves from the plane of competition and rose to the plane of creation. Free to enjoy the various fruits of prosperity blessed upon those who have learned this wonderful little secret.
So please, for the sake of a better future, don’t shoot down dreamers…
Let them be no matter how crazy you think they sound. They may be the next Steve Jobs or Lil Wayne or Michael Jordan. We rely on dreamers to bring the world innovations and services that keep us alive and happy day after day, year after year and for the rest of human history.
And for all of you who’ve placed your dreams on the back burner, hush that inner voice convincing you that your dreams aren’t possible. Your dreams should be pursued regardless of how small they may seem or how silly someone once told you they were.
If there’s one thing you take away- remember this one thing- you have a unique and important role in this world and it’s your responsibility to share your gift. Don’t be afraid to be a creator in a world of competitors!