“Never tell a young person that anything cannot be done. God may have been waiting centuries for someone ignorant enough of the impossible to do that very thing.” – G. M. Trevelyan

What If?

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to do what you have always thought you would like to do? Have you had these thoughts and then backed down because you didn’t think you have what it takes? Have you looked around at your reality and said: “that kind of dream is only for some people, but not for me”? Have you written yourself off from this dream?

It happens to many of us. We put up fences and set glass ceilings for ourselves and our lives. Maybe we don’t actually believe that we have what it takes to “go for it”, so we content ourselves with our routine.

But why do we have imaginations in the first place? What is the purpose? Surely, we were meant to use it for greater pursuits. Surely, we were meant to do more than survive financially, try to be good people and entertain ourselves from time to time and get through life relatively unscathed. Certainly, we were meant to do more and be more.

Our minds and our imagination are unlimited. What we imagine, we can bring into reality. What if we took a break from ourselves and allowed our imagination to take over for a bit. What could we do? Where could we go?

Imagination can be defined as the ability to see what has not been seen and give it substance.

Imagination is more important than knowledge – Albert Einstein

This last statement by Albert Einstein is profound; it is a reflection on how we do things today. We spend a lot of time acquiring knowledge to get a job or start a career (“study hard and you’ll get a good job”, we hear our parents say), but how much time do we spend cultivating our imagination which, as Einstein said, is more important? Why are we focusing on the less important element and not the one that can take us far? Without the imagination of dreamers and inventors, our lives would be vastly different today. If they had not had the courage and drive to persevere, where would we be today?

Why Not You? Why Not Me?

Are we any less able? Are we any less intelligent? What does it take?

Most people who have achieved great things will tell you that there is no secret; it takes a dream and action. It takes vision and guts. It takes a lot of failures and some victories. It takes a lot of belief and tough skin to ignore the peanut gallery of naysayers. The “achievers”  are not more special than you or me. These “achievers” have just believed longer, worked harder, failed more and learned not to be discouraged.

Remember The Pursuit of Happiness

In the movie The Pursuit of Happiness, Chris Gardner (the Main Character) struggles under a number of crushing obstacles trying to make a better life for him and his young son. He is evicted from his apartment and the two of them find themselves homeless.

Chris sells portable medical devices for a living, but the circumstances are difficult and they are not easy to sell. Every day is a challenge as Chris must try to sell these devices, get his son to school and make it to the homeless shelter on time to get a bed to sleep in.

Chris has a chance meeting with a man who works in a brokerage firm and ends up vying for an internship with other equally eager candidates. And, of course, the internship does not pay. So now Chris has to study to get into the internship, work at the brokerage firm, continue to sell medical devices, get his son off to school and get them both to the shelter on time to have a place to sleep.

The Story of Chris Gardner is a story of a dream, of perseverance. of courage, of failure and most of all a story of how maintaining a positive attitude despite failures and adverse circumstances is key to success. In real life, Chris overcame all these obstacles and became a master in the investing world. If he had not believed, if he had not imagined a better day for him and his son, the story would be quite different.

Use Your Imagination

With our imagination we can dream up plans, we can build businesses, invent new things and start movements. These are positive uses of our imagination; they bring results if we act on them.

With our imagination, we can also dream up problems and obstacles and create worst-case scenarios. We can create entire realities of things we don’t want to happen, but will eventually pan out. It really is up to us how we use our imagination. It is there, ready to be used and we will either use it for fruitful purposes or to fan the flames of worry and fear.

Dream and Do

Achieving our dreams results from first having dreams and then acting on them. If we imagine things we would like to do or see ourselves doing one day, but never take the first step towards making them a reality, they will remain a fantasy in our mind and never see the day. If we have no dreams and do not imagine better and different things in our lives, then we are just existing for each day, with no purpose other than to get through each day and go to sleep.

You’ve Got to Dream

Some people work very, very hard each day, hoping that one day all the hard work will pay off and that there will be a reward at the end of the line. Unfortunately, working without a goal, without a driving purpose will just result in what we can call “grinding”, doing the same thing day after day, but without a passion, without something to work toward. After all, it is the purpose, the dream that makes all the hard work and failures bearable and even, enjoyable. The joy is in the process.

Some do not dream at all. Perhaps life has been so hard that they have given up on the idea of even pursuing a dream. Perhaps they have been told many times that it is unrealistic to dream and that dreams don”t pay the bills. Perhaps they have resigned themselves to their day to day routine. Perhaps they feel that their dreams are not for them. So, the result is that the potential and the possibilities remain dormant.

Anything Is Possible

We were born for so much more than we give ourselves credit for, or that we believe we are able to do. Our minds are infinite reservoirs of possibility. We have dreams written in our hearts. What limits us, is what we tell ourselves. What limits us, are the stories we tell ourselves and the excuses we allow to control us. We allow others to set our limits, to label us, to put us in a box. We allow our past to determine our future and we allow our present circumstances to eliminate future possibilities.

Your Past Does Not Define You

Our past does not define us. Our present reality does not predict future reality. Anything can change and we can change anything if we are willing to change ourselves and how we think. Our finances can improve, our relationships can improve, our health can improve if we choose to take a new path and if we refuse to give up. I know you have heard this all before, but at the risk of it being a cliché, it is actually true. Faith can and does move mountains. And, without faith and hope, what is there?

“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen”.

You Gotta Have Fath

If faith is substance and evidence of what we can not see yet, that certainly means the potential is there. It means that faith will carry us through the difficulties and help us navigate through the obstacles. Faith will tell us not to listen to the voices that discourage us (even our own) and to leave the past in the past. Faith will tell us that the future lies ahead and we can step into it with confidence. Faith tells us that things can change for the better.

You Have a Purpose

You are here for a reason and that reason is unique to you. Only you can provide the potential you have. That potential is written on your heart and it lies in your gut. It is a dormant volcano of wonderful waiting to erupt onto the stage of life. Your potential, if realized, will impact lives and you may never know how many lives will be touched by your gift and your work.

But like a gift which is never opened, if you never permit yourself to dream of what could be and if you choose not to step out of the comfort zone and take a chance, you may never know what potential lies inside of you.

I hope that this post has been an inspiration to you. Please leave a comment below. Thank you.

Check out this blog post on How Belief Will Open Doors