Dare to Dream
Posted by Orrin Woodward on March 31, 2012
“All men dream: but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act out their dream with open eyes, to make it possible.” – T.E. Lawrence
All dream; few achieve. Since everyone wants a better life, why do so few accomplish it? The answer: one must solve the problem of pain. It’s painful to dream of a better future and get shot down again and again. Success, although predictable over time, takes a massive amount of persistence to stay the course when results are not forthcoming quickly enough. In fact, I have watched many talented men and women surrender their dreams through the lack of one key attribute – Adversity Quotient (AQ). These people had all the talent; some even applied themselves for a period of time, but when the chips were down, they quit.
My fourth grade teacher’s favorite maxim, which he repeated daily was: “When the going gets tough, the tough get going.” I am not sure of its effect on the rest of the class, but as for me, it transformed how I responded to challenges. Any time I ran into difficulties, I reflected back on my teacher’s words. I was fortunate to have parents who taught a similar philosophy to that of my teacher. For instance, most people surrender with little or no fight when they run up against a wall, but not my parents. Interestingly, my mom and dad used entirely different, although both highly effective, strategies in overcoming walls in life. Let me explain. If my parents were taken to a twenty-foot-high brick wall and told they had to bust through it, I am convinced they would both accomplish the task. However, the means to the end would be entirely different.
My mom is a worker. No, that doesn’t quite explain it. My mom is a fanatical worker. In truth, to this day, I have never seen anyone work as relentlessly as my mother on any task undertaken. She would announce a project, dole out various assignments to the five children, and off we went. If my mom needed to get over a brick wall, she would metaphorically lower her head and crash into the brick wall until it gave way. I am not exaggerating here; she would literally will herself through that wall. The amount of obstacles that I saw my mother overcome humbles me to this day. My mom, in other words, would do and then think about how she did it.
In contrast, my dad was a thinker. No, it’s probably more accurate to say he was a philosopher of life. In fact, to this day, I cannot recall an evening where he wasn’t discussing some concept or principle he was wrestling with in his head. I had no idea at the time, but my dad used the Socratic method to draw out how we thought on a multitude of subjects, forcing us to reason properly or be shot down around the kitchen table. Indeed, if my dad needed to surmount a proverbial brick wall, he would state the problem, count the bricks, and form a working hypothesis on how to overcome. Counting, analyzing, and theorizing would be logical steps in the achievement of his goal. My dad, in other words, would think and then act upon what he thought.
Somehow, during the fourth grade, I began adopting my mom’s work ethic along with my dad’s philosophical methodology and combined them together with my teacher’s get tough principle. What an empowering gift these mentors bequeathed to me! My dad taught me to begin with the end in mind. My mom taught me that a job well begun is half done, and my teacher taught me the importance of AQ in any worthy endeavor. I had no idea how revolutionary these concepts were to become in my life.
What does all this have to do with dreaming? Nearly everything! Dreaming is beginning with the end in mind, doing is moving towards one’s goals and dreams, and lastly, persistence is staying tough even when everything inside of a person is screaming to surrender. I have lost count of how many times, when I was on the verge of surrendering, that the winner’s voice inside of me said one more time, “When the going gets tough, the tough get going.”
Do you have dreams? Of course, you do because everyone does. Are you still pursuing them, or have you surrendered to the pain? I say get back up! If you are willing to run for what you truly want, if you are willing to get up every time you are knocked down, if you are willing to persist through every painful experience, then, and only then, will you win in the game of life.
Everyone is born into the race of life. Unfortunately, most have quit because they cannot handle the pain and choose passivity over activity. I, however, encourage you to reenter the race and press on to the end to receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us. God gave us the gift of life; do not hand it back to Him unused.