When I was younger, my mind knew no bounds. My imagination was filled with images from books, movies, cartoons, and video games. This led me to create robust scenarios as I played with my friends. We reenacted battles between cowboys and Indians, pretended to be Michael Jordan in the fourth quarter of the NBA Finals, or hold the last stand against an alien invasion on Earth using snowballs as our only weapons.
You can’t tell me you didn’t do similar things. But sometime between age seven and now, my ability to have big dreams and plans was restrained. The logical part of my brain took over and started sending pessimistic vibes to the grandiose ideas in my head. I submitted to the norms of society, kept getting good grades, started a comfortable corporate career, and quit having dreams for my future. I lived my life from ages 14 to 24 as if it was planned out for me already.
"Make no little plans. They have no magic to stir men's blood and probably themselves will not be realized. Make big plans; aim high in hope and work, remembering that a noble, logical diagram once recorded will never die, but long after we are gone will be a living thing, asserting itself with ever-growing insistency. Remember that our sons and grandsons are going to do things that would stagger us. Let your watchword be order and your beacon beauty. Think big." ~ Daniel Burnham, Chicago architect. (1846-1912)
As you’ve grown older, have you started limiting your dreams and imagination?
When you were a kid, did you dream of becoming something great, only to give up on that dream along the way? When you were in college, did you change your major because of the potential future paychecks and not because you were passionate about it? Even now, do you create a bubble around your job, home, and family that you assume your life must be contained in, never looking to expand it?
Stop Worrying So Much
Sometimes you just need to quit worrying so much about what you should be doing and do what you want to do.
I have friends that just moved all the way across the country with twin babies under a year old because they knew that is what they wanted to do. Would it have been easier to stay where they were? Probably. Would they have been doing themselves a disservice by not following their dreams? Absolutely. Would they have regretted not going their whole life? You’re damn right they would have.
Everyone needs to have big plans for their life and they need to work everyday towards reaching them.
After much deliberation, my fiancé turned down a graduate school program that was willing to pay for a substantial amount of the program because she felt like she was only doing it because “it was the smart thing to do.” She has instead decided to follow her passion and do what brings a smile to her face every time she does it: photography. It is one of the most competitive small business industries there is, but she has the drive to be successful in it.
Just Do It
If you aren’t dreaming big, what’s the point?
My big plans in the next six months are to leave “Corporate America”, work on my own terms, and travel the world to places I have always wanted to go (New Zealand and Indonesia are up first).
It won’t be easy, but I can do it.
And you can too.
What is your big dream?