During the first part of my commute this morning (ie. the bus) I opened emails to find my daily snippet from Seven Sentences waiting to inspire me. Today’s headline – to not dream is to not live – seemed a little clichéd at first but as I read on, my interest grew:
“…it’s no fun to hide…it’s important to realize no one is actually looking for you.”
This was quite a grounding statement to be hit with at 6.45am. And then there was this:
Nothing happens when you hide…the world is simply getting older.”
Being on the cusp of birthday number 44, that rang very true. But what rang even truer was this:
“Waiting to be discovered is essentially a form of hiding. Just be you, celebrate who you are and take authentic risks every day.”
This didn’t resonate just because my big day’s tomorrow (and regular Gidday-ers know how I love to celebrate).
You see, I have been offered an exciting promotion and it was all announced at work on Monday. The congratulations have been a mix of ‘well done’, ‘I’m happy for you’, ‘you’ll be great at it’ and ‘you deserve it’, a wonderful acknowledgement of my last two and a half years in my role. I feel proud and moved, thrilled and humbled by it all.
Then I received an email that reminded me of something else. The journey.
I sat at my desk in the quiet of the early morning office and as I read each of the words, I remembered the ‘dream’ of working overseas, a dream that I had forgotten I had ever declared. But this someone reminded me that so long ago I had shared it and through all of life’s ups and downs, the highs and lows, joys and sorrows, here I was living the ‘dream’. That with hard work and a bit of risk-taking, I had somehow charted my course and ended up where I’d dreamt I would.
And as my eyes filled, I remembered something else.
That there’s no hiding from the people who love and know you best. And that is a remarkable thing.
Because when you hide, love doesn’t happen either.
I recently read a snippet from Seven Sentences called Why Age Is Just A Number In Your Head and it gave me pause.
The premise of this short article is not simply that age is no barrier but that overcoming perceived obstacles like ‘age’ inspires others. And that opting out denies the world your dream.
Here’s why I paused. Should the world really be waiting for me, to live vicariously through my dream? Or should they be working on their own? And how should they divine where to draw the line between bravery and the just plain ill-advised?
I’ve been surprised by the extraordinary emerging courageously from what I thought to be ordinary. By the same token, I’ve also been gobsmacked by belief in attributes actually in absentia – making me sometimes wonder whether my own truths are really so self-evident – and also in this glib sense that one should be able to have whatever one wants.
In our world of instant gratification and easy celebrity, there have been many moments when I have listened to someone declare their passion, that ‘this’ is all that they have ever wanted, and been torn between cynical disbelief and tearful admiration (although mostly I sit somewhere – unmoved – in the middle).
But where does hard work and doing what it takes come in? What part does luck play? And where is the balance between heart-felt self-belief and pragmatic acceptance?
After all, we can’t all be good at everything. Life is full of knocks so how do you determine which of your passions to keep getting up for?
Thomas Edison claimed that genius was 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration, Ralph Waldo Emerson liked to start with laughing often and loving much and Robert Frost was a firm advocate of the road less travelled. Even Albert Einstein seemed to subscribe to the view of a ‘lucky few’:
Small is the number of them that see with their own eyes, and feel with their own hearts.
But why this sense of scarcity? Is it really so difficult to dream?
Or is it owning it – taking responsibility and accepting all of the consequences – that scares us into silence?