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07 July 2015

Dare to dream.....

The other day I was at my son's school to attend a function organized to felicitate the best performing students from the school in the just concluded class X and XII examinations.

(Read my related post here)

Pretty inspirational, the entire event. Children were the heroes, of course. Lanky, gawky, self-conscious teenagers, getting on to the stage to receive awards for some spectacular achievements.

There were many rank holders, who scored high marks in the entrance examinations for the graduate programs in Engineering and Medicine. There were many children who were very focused and appeared only for one of the entrance examinations (either Engg. or Medicine) and did exceedingly well and there were others who attempted both and came out with flying colours in both.

As you can see, the atmosphere was electric. There were thunderous applause as the name of each student was announced along with their achievements. There were happy parents, grandparents, siblings galore. One could not help feel the happiness felt by the audience.

I was happy, of course. The enthusiasm rubs off on you.

However, I couldn't help think that for many of these students, this might be the last 'HUGE' goal in their lives. In India, for many students, the two years, starting with the Class X exam, culminating in the Entrance exams two years later is the toughest phase in their academic career. The pressure is enormous. There is pressure from parents, of course. In addition there is pressure from the teachers, peers, coaching institutes that preps the kids for this examinations....

Every child has a clear goal, and there is an ecosystem that supports her to keep the focus on the goal and also, continuously guides them on the path towards goal achievement.

Yesterday's function was the culmination of this two year rigorous process. These kids had clear goals that gave them focus, and a supportive ecosystem that helped them to work towards achieving their goals.

As I mentioned earlier, for many of these kids, this may be the only 'Huge' goal that they will ever have in their lives. Even after fifty years, they will tell their grand children the story of how they 'got the top rank in their entrance examinations'.

Isn't this is the story of many of us? Each of us have some achievements from the past that we are still proud of.

This is not how it is supposed to happen. As the saying goes, if you are still talking about what you did yesterday, you have not done much today. You are supposed to continually add accomplishments to your life.

However, for many of us life is a routine of getting up in the morning, going to office, slogging, coming home, eating dinner and going to sleep. All for a promotion, a bit of a recognition and some income. In this rat race that we are in, we do not even get time to reflect on ourselves. We do not get time for ourselves.

How do we overcome it? How do we get to have a goal?

First step is to have a dream. Goals are derived from dreams. Without dreams, there can be no worthwhile goals. Many of us adults have forgotten the art of dreaming. We are scared of dreaming, let alone dream big. We find it difficult to fill in the statement 'I want to......' with an action verb. At the most we will fill it with 'I want XXX dollars'. Our dreams, if at all any, are in monetary terms.

Which means what?

One, most of us do not have any dreams....

Two, in case of those who have dreams, the dreams are very small and limited in scale. We conflate dreams and achievement. When we dream about something, there is a small voice in the back of our mind constantly reminding us of our limitations and constraints. Hence we limit the size of our dreams.

And three, as mentioned above, some of us dream in monetary terms. Money should not be the dream. It should be the outcome.

We either conflate dreams with our 'current' limitations - our dreams are limited by our perceived limitations to achieving the same, or we conflate dreams with monetary outcomes.

This is not how children dream. When the child says 'I want to become an airline pilot' there is no voice in her head that tells her that she can't achieve it. There is no limitations in her mind. That is her dream. Period.

Children do not limit their dreams. They do not dream in money terms. They dream big. They dream of achievement. They dream of accomplishment.

Remember, this moment, as we are reading this line, is the first moment of the rest of our lives. It is like, at every passing moment, we are being born again.

What we dream is what we do. Since you are being born in this moment, there is no need to conflate your dreams (that live in your future) with limitations (a thing of the past).

A marathon runner, runs nine tenths of his race at a lower speed and picks up speed for the last tenth. When it comes to the last one tenth (future), he does not constrain himself with what happened in the previous nine tenths (past).

Same is the case of a blind man, whose blindness is cured by new medical science after twenty years of being blind. Post surgery, after regaining consciousness, he does not limit his behavior to his blind days. He does not walk around with a stick and a guide dog as if he is still blind. He goes about, experiencing new stuff and soaking in all that the universe has to offer.

In both cases, it is like being born again.

Let me reiterate this. This moment is the first moment of the rest of our life. What we do from now on will determine our future. Do not constrain it by the negative messages from the past, limiting messages from others, and negative messages from oneself.

Look to the future. Imagine you are the marathon runner and pick up speed. Do not let the road bumps in the past affect your speed in the future. Imagine you are the blind man who has regained his vision after years of blindness. Throw away your crutches, leave your limiting thoughts behind, look at the future, soak it in. Dream big, think big, act big.

Whatever be your age, whatever be your position, wherever you may be, Dare to dream, it is where it all begins. It is where the future is.


Anjali Sengar said...

Very nice & motivating post :)

Ram's Blogs... said...

Thank you Anjali for your comment. Glad you enjoyed it.

Anonymous said...

Dear Ramaswamy,

Reading this after you seeing the update on LinkedIN. This articles is bang on. Thanks for the pointers and especially the analogy of a blindman's behaviour after he regains the sight. Eyeopener! . Thanks for this.


Srivatsan S said...

Very inspiring, thanks for sharing your thoughts!

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