First a quote; “Throw your dream into space like a kite, and you do not know what it will bring back, a new life, a new friend, a new love, or a new country.” – Anais Nin
Good morning and happy Monday. I hope this morning missive finds you and yours both safe and healthy.
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Dreams and leaders often have much in common. Often, they are born under similar sets of circumstances. Metaphorically, both are frequently born in the darkest of places and environments. Reflecting on many great leaders in history, almost all overcame significant challenges, both personal and political. They rose above their histories and led people through, and out of, very difficult times and circumstances. Think Churchill, Mandela, Marie Curie, Martin Luther King, Jr., Margaret Thatcher, and Helen Keller, just to name a few. Individuals, in many ways, ordinary people with humble beginnings doing extraordinary things.
Dreams of a better future are often born in dark places as well. Children raised in poverty, abusive or dysfunctional families, substance abuse, disease and even prison cells, the list of trials and tribulations is long. Somewhere I heard the expression, “Only in the darkness, can you see the stars.”
This week, I invite you to reflect on your dreams. Where did those dreams take root? Or perhaps, what is preventing those dreams from taking root now? Were your dreams born on the dark side of life, or perhaps of your own aspirations to become the person you desire to be in the future. The person yet to be, the yet dormant leader inside just waiting for the time to rise and shine?
Most of us know about the generation of people born between 1905 and 1925; what has been called the “Greatest Generation.” An entire generation of people who grew up during the Great Depression, victoriously survived WW II and went on to build one of the greatest economies in the free world. That generation lived through, survived, and thrived in circumstances at least as difficult as we face today, many would describe as worse.
In this country, we have been “at war” with this pandemic for less than three months, five months if you take a global perspective. For comparison purposes, historians believe 16 million Americans fought in WW II which raged on for six years across the globe. More than 400,000 Americans are believed to have given their lives to fight for the freedom many of us take for granted today.
This generation, those of us living today, has an opportunity to leverage the difficult times we face, not only as a country, but as an entire planet. For your consideration now, during this COVID-19 pandemic, I suggest we are not dreaming big enough as a society. From my perspective, we seem to be “rolling around in the muck” while pointing fingers, playing politics, feeding fear, driving divisiveness, and fanning the flames of animosity.
For the first time in modern history, our planet is facing a global enemy. As human beings, and as global citizens, we have something in common. In addition to a common enemy, we also have dreams for our children and our children’s children (our grandchildren and great grandchildren). We have a wonderful opportunity, right now, to change how we perceive and interact with the world, to connect, to save and share resources, to innovate, collaborate and create new solutions that might serve generations to come.
Right now, as you read these words, we have millions of reasons to think beyond borders and geopolitical philosophies. As the world population continues to expand and resources continue to be consumed at an alarming rate, we need to begin a serious dialogue about the planet we are leaving future generations. I have always loved John Lennon’s lyrics, “Imagine there’s no countries, it isn’t hard to do… nothing to kill or die for. You many say I’m a dreamer but I’m not the only one. I hope someday you’ll join us, and the world will be as one.”
Albert Einstein said, “We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.” We can choose to think differently about the problems we face as a world population. This pandemic could and should be the impetus for new dialogues, new thinking, and new paradigms by lots of people in lots of places.
I can only imagine how proud my grandparents’ generation might have been to know their offspring held their generation in such high regard and esteem. This causes me to ponder what adjectives future generations might use to describe our generation when history is written. I’m dreaming about adjectives like enlightened, transformational, wise, peace-seeking… maybe even “big dreamers.”
Let’s dream bigger! If not now, when?
Everyone can make a difference, and everyone should try. Be your best self this week.
Have a great week. Stay safe. Be well. Wash your hands. Keep your distance. Keep pedaling!
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- “A man must dream a long time in order to act with grandeur, and dreaming is nursed in darkness.” – William Makepeace Thackeray
- I say to you today, my friends, so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream. I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.
- “I learned this, at least, by my experiment; that if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.” – Henry David Thoreau
- “It isn’t a calamity to die with dreams unfulfilled, but it is a calamity not to dream.” – Benjamin E Mays
- “You can start changing our world for the better daily, no matter how small the action.” – Nelson Mandela
- “When it rains look for rainbows, when it’s dark look for stars.” – Unknown