Each of us has a dream. Sometimes this begins at a young age. Maybe, it's to be an actor or an astrophysicist. Maybe, it's to be an Olympic athlete. Maybe, you saw a space shuttle take off, and envisioned yourself gliding among the stars. Whatever the end trajectory, there are many who stop short of their path long before it can actually be realized. This is mainly because of the difficulty of the journey or the environmental and conditional factors an individual might face while on such a pursuit. Just imagine. It is very difficult to become a doctor if one comes from an impoverished family, and lives in a remote village in a third world country. The odds at such an event coming to fruition are very low. Yet, as great as the odds, we have countless stories of individuals who make it through just such an obstacle to reach their destination.
How is this possible? What makes one individual succeed while another does not? Is there a certain factor we can point to that everyone needs to include in their lives to realize their true potential? Is there such a thing?
There have been many people who I have met, that have realized their dreams. These have ranged from world class writers, doctors, producers, actors, crafters, and even painters. The key ingredient each of these individuals shared was a lack of second guessing themselves, coupled with an uncertainty of exactly how it would come about. Most would probably say they had a loose idea of what they hoped to accomplish and a continual drive to move forward.
My father is just such an example. He was raised in a small village in Iran without the comforts of financial stability, a loving environment, or even a role model for whom he could map his trajectory. Yet he was able to traverse prejudice, poverty, and lack of faith, to attain his lofty dreams of moving to America and becoming a doctor. Just how this came to fruition is a question many might ask. How was it possible? How can I do the same?
According to my father, there is a key ingredient to any task, and that is to focus like a laser. In anything that he has done, he has shown a 100% dedication to the task. All other things have fallen away to his goal of playing a round of tennis, solving a mathematical dilemma, or running the Chicago Marathon.
"Pirooz," my father said in excited pauses. "You should have seen it. People were falling left and right. The heat was so much. I was on mile 23. It was six hours. I thought to myself, I am going to have a heart attack. Then I said, I have to do it. I am going to do this for my three sons. I kept going. I finished. Then they cancelled the marathon. The heat was too much. Too many people were dying or falling from exhaustion."
This story, like my father's rise to meet his other aspirations, carries with it the same desire and commitment to see his words become reality that I have seen throughout every exchange I have had with him. In fact, I have not seen anyone in my life who has had such a determination to see the impossible become a reality as my father. He has been able to complete marathons, get doctorates, and see many of his family members through the journey of immigration and success in America. It is quite a remarkable feat. But how was it possible? What were the common threads that others could possibly glean for their own lives? In other words, how does one focus like a laser?
For my father, there is a lack of any possibility of failuire. In his mind, the outcome is already realized. He must simply put into action what he feels are the steps to help him reach his desired outcome. In the case of the marathon, there was probably a more direct line to its success than becoming a doctor. He could pay attention to his diet, steadily build his stamina, and then make the appropriate reservations to fly to Chicago to meet his dream. It doesn't seem that difficult. But we are not taking into consideration what will often stop an individual from accomplishing the same task, and that is the possibility of quitting because something is difficult, or simply quitting because someone has listed the adversities one might face.
This last factor is what I believe keeps many of us from moving forward on our life paths. Some of us might have had town criers in the form of parents, friends, or strangers, who have told us that our dream is not a possibility. Maybe they have cited all the detractors. Maybe they have shown us examples of where others have failed. Maybe it is even our own lack of faith in hearing such news, or the experience of a past event where what we had hoped for did not become a reality, that keeps us from making our journey presently. Whatever the scenario, our dreams will not be realized by accepting the futures that others prophesies for us.
There have probably been thousands of possible Beethovens, who never touched a piano, because someone said there can only be one Beethoven. This type of adversity is the fundamental block that we all face in life. It is also the saddest and most idiotic step one can make as a human being. Regardless of the facts or statistics a naysayer may provide, there is an unknown that is part of any person's life. One person cannot know what will happen tomorrow, just as much as the next person. If we are to believe naysayers, or even a parent, who may have our best interests in mind, then we will be arguing with reality and suffer dearly for it. No one can know the future. This is a fact. Even if someone is a shaman or an incredible psychic intuitive, the future will move based on the smallest infraction just as easily as I can say a butterfly is flapping its wings in Kuala Lumpur.
In order to move beyond naysayers, we must first move beyond the thoughts in our minds. This is as simple as accepting reality as it is. If one accepts that one's dreams are not yet realized, then they can actually make goals to see them through. The astronaut can enroll in Space Camp, the actor can move to Hollywood, and the writer can work at his or her craft. It is this simple. The path forward is not important. We will each find your own way regardless of what advice may be given to us. The truth may even arise several times or only once in front of us, before we have the clarity of mind to see the open door. Then our ability to drop the futures others have prophesied - or the very thoughts in our own minds that cripple us from moving forward - will be as simple as taking one step forward and a giant leap for mankind. This is the path of dreams. It is what we are all on, whether we realize it or not.