Oh boy, if that isn't a prescription for disillusionment and feelings of personal failure I don't know what is. We hear it all the time. It's the Disney theme song. Schools picked up on it and tell kids everyone can go to Yale and Harvard, anyone can be a doctor or a lawyer. All you have to do is dream it and you can be it.
No wonder so many people are on depression medication. When the world doesn't work that way, we think there is something wrong with us personally. We feel cheated and as if we failed at something that should have been as easy as trying harder. Now, don't get me wrong. I'm not saying you can't have dreams. I'm not saying you can't follow your dreams. I'm also not saying you are stuck in the class or world you are born in-What I'm saying that it is harmful to teach our kids that they can be a multimillionaire "star" if they only wish it.
Look at American Idol. Last week two boys who were sweet, nice looking and fun came in for an audition. They couldn't carry a tune in a bucket and were told so politely by the judges. Go out and find your true talent, they were told. But no. The boys answer was. "We'll work harder. We know we can achieve our dream if only we persist." Wow- I find this sad. I think that the world will miss out on their true talent because these boys will be off in a corner working on their Disney Dream.
If you read my blog regularly, you know that I encourage persistence. I encourage everyone to tell their stories. To improve their craft. To keep going.
At the same time I realize there are a lot of people out there who are living in misery because they work hard and can't achieve their dream. The misery boils over into their entire lives. No matter what they achieve they can't help but feel they failed because they aren't published. I say stop the madness. Life is too short to be that miserable. We're not all going to be CEO's. We can't all be rock stars or neurosurgeons. Yes, it is disheartening and a bit of a shock when you realize that perhaps singing isn't for you. Perhaps nuclear physics or gaming aren't for you. Perhaps publishing isn't the business for you. So what! That's what I say. So what if one dream isn't for you. There are so many dreams out there. We each have our own unique talents. Go find a new dream.
What would the world have missed if Einstein had thought he could be an opera singer and threw all his energy into that? Never letting go of his "dream." What about your doctor or your kid's teacher who helped them "get" math for the first time. What would your life have been like if they had spent their time wallowing in self pity because they didn't make it on stage and screen?
Dreams are wonderful tools for finding your place in the world. But they aren't easy. You can't just wish it and be it. Life doesn't work that way and we are doing a disservice to others when we encourage them to keep putting effort in places where they don't shine. Find your shine people. There's no shame if you excel at taking care of dogs. If you excel at tutoring children. If you excel at keeping lawns green or raising children or making your friends laugh. Life's too short to be wasted making yourself miserable because you can't achieve Disney Princess status. Let's stop the madness and teach our children and ourselves to shine with the talents we have. Food for thought anyway. Please discuss in comments below. I'd love to hear what you think. Cheers~