When you grew up, did someone laugh at your dreams? Did they mock you for wanting something greater than yourself? Perhaps they said “That is impossible! You do not have enough money!” Or “you are too young and are dreaming to much!” Or perhaps you did not tell people your greatest dreams because you were scared they were going to laugh at you since you knew that what you wanted was going to take work and an optimistic mindset, not necessarily a realistic one.
Speaking to kids at high schools, I began realizing how many of them were either scared to tell me their dreams for fear of ridicule or were not dreaming big enough. Recently however, one kid explained his dream to me with hesitancy and nervousness radiating from his body language. He told me he was probably going to give up because his dream would require a lot of time, multiple failures, and money before he succeeded.
Nonetheless, he had already put in five years towards building it. Him and I spoke and I said nothing special, but continuously encouraged him. Afterwards, he looked at me and said, “I want to thank you because I do not get much respect or encouragement from people.” The amount of sadness that overcame me at this moment was unbelievable because I began seeing how from an early age, the majority of people have become jaded to what society thinks they can and cannot do.
“Success is the result of perfection, hard work, learning from failure, loyalty, and persistence.” – Colin Powell
Just like this teen, I have big dreams and many people including the people closest to me tell me that I cannot do it, it is not possible, that I am dreaming too much, and that I should get a real job.
When I get down on myself and start second guessing the path I have chosen for my life I think of these three things to continuously propel myself forward:
1. Use the negativity in your life as fuel
If you do not have haters, you are not living to your fullest potential. We need to use all the negativity we get in our lives and put it to good use. It should not be used to prove people wrong, but to prove to ourselves that we can do anything we desire! I have met countless people who are in their twenties or even past fifty that have settled for a second class life because they chose to give up on their original dreams.
Once I investigate more into why most gave up, it became apparent they let the negativity from people and society get to them. Encourage yourself and others to always go for what they truly want.
2. Push forward
As a future physician, it is challenging when I sit down and think of all the years I have left in school. When my mind wanders off into this though I think of what my mentor told me “When you look at all you have done to get to a certain point in your life and not focus on how much you still have left, you begin realizing how far you have truly come!”
Many of us can have feelings of doubt or discouragement but we must always remember to push forward because we have not accomplished all we have done for nothing.
“Energy and persistence conquer all things.” – Benjamin Franklin
3. Put in the time and the rewards will be plentiful
When I tell people I will be a physician, they tend to reply “Wow, you’re going to be old by the time you’re done.” This use to bother me but now I think how many people in life chose a different path because the one they wanted would require more sacrifice and more time.
Perhaps they wanted to make money right away and not wait ten years to follow their dream and make money. Personally, I can either be forty and a physician or be forty and do something else that will bring me monetary rewards faster results in short-term satisfaction.
I want be able to look at myself when I am older and say proudly that I worked diligently through many years to be the best husband, friend, brother, and doctor.
When I see adults try and get their kids to walk, they encourage them regardless of how many times it takes. The adults do not give up on them, but instead continuously find ways to get their children to learn the fundamentals of walking. Why do we not apply this type of mindset when people tell us their aspirations regardless of how many times they may fail before they succeed.
If we encourage everyone we meet from an early age that they can become a business person, astronaut, firefighter, artist, or writer, then imagine what that would do to people’s mindset. It is a powerful thing what believing in someone can do to that person’s desire to win. We can all play a part in not only our own success but also others by simply using the power of belief in knowing we are worth it and can dream big!