Every year, we commemorate Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s legacy of leadership and his hard won battle for the recognition of the civil rights and liberties of African-Americans. I’m always inspired by hearing his famous speech in which he paints a vision of the future he imagined could and should be taking place in our society by starting each line with, “I have a dream.” But would Dr. Martin Luther King’s dream have been made a reality by a guy without his eloquence of speech? His command of language? His ability to persuade others to his cause? His connections in the community? His skills as a leader of a team who was able to organize the effort? The answer would have to be “no.”
Today, it seems as though many of us have forgotten how to really dream. Maybe we gave up on our dreams because of some pain or disappointment in our past. Maybe we lost touch with our capacity to dream of a better future than the one we’re living because we stopped exercising our imagination a long time ago. Maybe we went after our dream once and got burned, vowing never to set ourselves up for the pain of that failure again. Or maybe our dreams are being distracted by a fantasy.
Have you ever met someone who was pursuing the wrong dream? Since the new season of American Idol just began, we can call it “The American Idol Syndrome.” Out of 300,000 or more “Idol” contestants only a handful (literally) are actually talented enough to entertain the masses. So why are so many people flooding the gates of America’s entertainment machine to “make it big?” When you’re so sure of your talent but even your friends don’t like to hear you sing it might be time to ask yourself, Is this a dream or just a fantasy?
Dreaming is so very important to living a fulfilled life. But we should only be pursuing dreams that are aligned with our talents and core competencies, not wasting our time and effort trying to pursue fame and fortune. A real dream serves others. It’s a vision of what could be done in our world with the passion and conviction that it should be done. It’s something that we can see ourselves pursuing and compels us to bring it into reality. It will require the best of us and demand nothing less than everything we have.
“No one really knows why they are alive until they know
what they’d die for.” -Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Are you ready to pursue your dream? The right one? The one that gets you out of bed every morning and has you too excited to sleep at night? The one that you tell to others and they say, “Oh, that sounds like you! How can I help you do it?” You know, that one!
I dare you to dream big dreams, find the courage to live them out, and pursue them with passion. After all, changing the world is going to take a lot more big dreamers pursuing ways to make the world a better place and lot less people fantasizing about “making it big.” Don’t you think?
Are you ready to commit to living your dream?
If so, please share it with us and inspire others in the comments section below.