Today’s entry is a Guest Post from my most admired blogger friend, Ed Helvey, “The Professional Nomad.”
Ed’s Blog is called: “Living and Working Free.” You can find a link to his blog at the end of his article. Enjoy:
What is the dream? More importantly, what is YOUR dream?
The Merriam-Webster Dictionary provides these definitions:
1: a series of thoughts, images, or emotions occurring during sleep
2: an experience of waking life having the characteristics of a dream: as
a : a visionary creation of the imagination : daydream
b : a state of mind marked by abstraction or release from reality : reverie
3: something notable for its beauty, excellence, or enjoyable quality
4 a : a strongly desired goal or purpose
b : something that fully satisfies a wish : ideal
My question refers mostly to the definitions in 2a, 3 and 4a.
Ralph Waldo Emerson said of dreams, “Dare to live the life you have dreamed for yourself. Go forward and make your dreams come true.”
And, on a more contemporary note, a young English woman of common heritage, a basic college education, living on state welfare in Edinburgh, Scotland followed her dream and became, perhaps, the best known, best selling author and one of the wealthiest women in the world with an imaginary character by the name of Harry Potter. J.K. Rowling, said this of dreams, “It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live.”
The dream of freedom is very often something we begin experiencing at a very early age. In our dreams we see ourselves free to be whoever we want to be, go places and do all kinds of things. But, as we grew up a steady stream of external influences molded, shaped and often limited or restricted our thinking and our dreams. At an earlier time in history most young women’s dreams were even more limited. Little girls were given baby dolls, doll houses, toy kitchens and ovens, toy ironing boards and other “women’s work” influences. This was, of course, to guide girls to, so-called, women’s occupations, the chief being a wife, mother and homemaker. Meanwhile, boys dreamed of being cowboys, policemen, firemen, soldiers, airplane pilots and astronauts to mention just a few. These childhood influences were the beginning of a path of conditioning, directing and controlled indoctrination that all but destroyed those dreams and creativity.
In his landmark book, What A Great Idea, author, Chic Thompson, graphically illustrates the “creativity curve,” which surprisingly matches closely with the “laughter curve” and the “question curve.” The curve indicates that by age five a child’s creativity is at its peak with about 98 instances of creativity a day. Laughter peaks at about 113 instances per day. Children begin asking “why” to a peak of about 65 questions a day by age 5. That’s about the time most children begin formal education. By age 8 the dreams, creativity and laughter have been diminishing and the questions change from “why” to “why not.” Instances of creativity drop to 32, laughter to 83 and questions to 41. This downward trend continues until age 44 when we are typically in the peak of our careers. Creativity has drops to 2, laughter to 11 and questions to 6. And questions change at age 12 from “Why Not” to “Because.”
At that point, everything levels out for about the next 20 years or so until the time of “Retirement” when all of a sudden, all three areas – creativity, creativity, laughter and questions -make dramatic increases. This is when many of those early dreams that were discouraged and pushed out of the way as impractical, unreasonable, unrealistic or impossible reemerge. This is a period when those who actually make it to retirement and can make a life change to give up their 40 to 50 year work and family obligations and responsibilities (the family is long grown and on their own). Now, it becomes “my/our time” to do what we want. This is the time when, all of a sudden, many people decide they don’t care what the “Committee of They” (as I sarcastically call it) think. We begin to realize many of the childlike qualities and dreams again. Our creativity is re-ignited. “Why not” questions replace “Because,” again.
So, this is how the research over years and thousands of people indicate we live our lives. But, does it have to be this way? In a word, NO! It’s only this way because we accept it. However, there is a small percentage of the population who refuse to accept it.
You have to have a college degree to be successful – Bill Gates, Steve Jobs and Michael Dell are among a long list of successful non-college graduates who disagree. Bill Gates became the wealthiest man in the world. You need to be in a big city and financial center to build a huge retail business. Sam Walton didn’t agree. He built the largest retailbusiness in the world, became the wealthiest man in the world and left his family the wealthiest family on the planet from the small town of Bentonville, Arkansas where Wal-Mart is still headquartered. Jeff Besos was told not to give up his day job on Wall Street, but he did, only to found the largest and most successful e-commerce business on the Internet, Amazon.com. J.K. Rowling started writing her stories as a child. She was rejected by Oxford University. She was on welfare and was rejected by at least a dozen publishers before she became one of the most successful authors and wealthiest women in the world. Sir Edmund Hillary was the first man to conquer Mt. Everest and subsequently became the first man to reach the south pole, the north pole and top Mt. Everest. He also led a jet boat expedition from the mouth to the source of the Ganges River. The list of his accomplishments is long.
The “Dream” is the basis for all personal freedom. It’s the place that scientists, artists, musicians, other performers, writers, athletes, explorers, adventurers, inventors, innovators, successful businessmen, pilots and astronauts all begin. You’re free to add whatever you want to this list. Everything started with a dream. And each of the people who realized great achievement rejected the “Committee of They” and all the mis-education, indoctrination and societal conditioning. Were they non-conformists? Yes! Were they rebellious? Yes! Did many of them present problems to the teachers and administrators in the schools they attended? Yes! Were they overly concerned with security? No! Did they experience failure? Yes! Did any of them lose everything they had and have to start from the bottom all over? Yes! Why did they accomplish what they did? What was the overriding force that was behind every accomplishment? It was always the “Dream” and the freedom they clung to, against all external efforts to get them to conform.
So, what is your dream? It doesn’t have to be to accomplish any great breakthrough or invent something world changing. My dream is actually covered by my mission statement, which is, “To leave this world just a little better than it was when I arrived.” I borrowed that from what I was taught during my very short tenure as a Boy Scout and made it fit my needs. We don’t have to be concerned about fame or wealth. Dreams and living free go hand in hand. I challenge you to rediscover those dreams you buried long ago. Reach out for your freedom and break the bonds that are holding you back from realizing those dreams. Eliminate any obstacle whether it’s physical, a person or people, financial, whatever it is and be free to dream and soar and “Dare to live the life you have dreamed for yourself. Go forward and make your dreams come true.”
Keyser, West “by God” Virginia
I’ve lived in Syracuse, NY for 2 years, Washington, DC for 4 years, the Annapolis, MD area for 10 years and the northern Shenandoah Valley of VA for 27 years. My current base of operations (since October 2010) is the Box Elder, SD, but home is wherever I am at any moment