Every achievement of today is but yesterday’s dream come true.
Yet, often—far too often—we abandon our dreams and accept a lesser, more easily obtainable image of ourselves.
An image stripped of its potential, reduced to its lowest common denominator.
We all begin with dreams and these dreams are the true goals to which our souls aspire.
We know this when we are children. We have supreme confidence that one day we shall become an actor, a surgeon, painter, philosopher, scientist, explorer, doctor, lawyer, —whatever role or deed our dream vision impels us toward.
But then the voices of caution, the sounds of conformity begin their campaign.
“Be practical!” we are told. “Be prudent!” “Be realistic!”
They pound upon our senses and, breaking through the barrier of our physical selves, commence a deadly dream-destroying assault upon our inner motivations and impulses.
Using the twin weapons of ridicule and reason, they advance upon the parapets of our dreams and crush them into dust, leaving us with uninspired, mediocre, acceptable goals.
And when enough years have gone by, we ourselves forget the intensity and reality of those youthful dreams and think of them, if we remember them at all, as childish fantasy.
But have we actually been wise and prudent?
Are we really being practical when we sweep the ashes of our dreams under the carpet of conformity?
Or would it be more realistic to examine our yearnings and desires, and to use our energies for a strenuous quest in the direction of these inner-directed goals?
We can reach beyond the ordinary, the commonplace, the sterile fruits of compromise, and strike out toward that dream.
Even if we fail to achieve the final heights, would we not, after years of intelligently applied effort, be ahead on the road to personal fulfilment?
What is there to lose that is not expendable?
The woman who yearns to be a second Rembrandt may never reach that level of fame or success, but pursuing her dream is more honest to her own yearnings than ignoring her talent and plodding along in some other career.
The aspiring novelist may never reach beyond the pages of the hometown newspaper, but at least he is doing his own thing and achieving the inner serenity that can be felt only when one is working toward a goal that is truly meaningful and relevant for him.
The voices which urge us toward caution and conformity are all too often the voices of defeat and destruction.
They persuade us to turn away from stimulating goals, to dam up the wellsprings of creativity, to see ourselves as less than we really are or could be.
We become prudent instead of wise, calculating instead of enterprising, and smug but not satisfied.
If we have ignored our dreams, then we have listened to the wrong advisers and forgotten that every accomplishment which has lifted humanity to a higher level of understanding and achievement has been the result of someone or a group of people pursuing an “impractical” dream.
It is never too soon nor too late to listen to our own voice, the urgings of our own inner rhythm.
Some of us are early starters and others are late bloomers.
There was John Keats and there was Grandma Moses; one started in youth, the other in old age, but both found immortality by following a dream.
And, in lesser ways, we can all achieve some measure of success as human beings by listening to our own special sounds—our individual yearnings.
These are signposts pointing in the direction we must travel to fully develop our powers and potentials. To find them, we must learn how to listen to the special beat of our own particular drum.
Examine your dream.
Take it out and dust it off. If you have forgotten what it is, search in the recesses of your memory where it must still dwell.
If you have lost it, you can find it again. If you have buried it, then it can be resurrected.
Without it, you are like a body that lacks a vital organ. With it, you begin to be complete.
Imagine your life the way you want to live it.
Hold your dream and look at it—for in the mirror of your dream you shall see the reflection of the Self you can be.