“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 their dream with open eyes, to make it possible.”
I’ve always loved that quote from the beginning of T.E. Lawrence’s Seven Pillars of Wisdom. Somehow it clearly distinguished for me those who were asleep and those who were awake. Conscious dreamers change their world and create new possibilities.
But conscious dreamers often face the rhetoric of realists and pragmatists who see “what is” and the inherent limitations of our culture, political system or power structure..more commonly referred to as “the man.” Where great potential abounds great cynicism abounds as well. There’s enough cynicism in the world that if we could put it into oil barrels and convert it to clean energy we’d have an abundant supply of power for generations to come.
But let’s face it; it’s so much easier to be a critic. Critics don’t have to struggle for funding or convince anyone of their ideas. They don’t have to create something out of thin air and build value into it. They confidently point out the flaws in someone else’s plan, stealing the wind from the sails of many entrepreneurial spirits and taking great joy in their prowess. There’s nothing dangerous about hating on another person’s vision. But they secretly are envious of the Conscious Dreamer.
The Conscious Dreamer takes raw materials, ideas, scraps of paper, or perhaps a paintbrush and blank canvas and changes their space. The spaces of a Conscious Dreamer become arenas of innovation and the birthplace of breakthroughs. Envision Da Vinci’s studio full of contraptions and rough sketches of things far ahead of their time. Imagine Edison’s laboratory, where he often slept during feverish testing of the incandescent light bulb and hundreds of ideas that never made it to the marketplace. Consider George Washington Carver’s mastery of the ground and exhaustive inventiveness with the simple peanut. History tells us they had considerable criticism, made great sacrifices and loss of reputation for the sake of their ideas.
Now….what are those critics’ names?
“The horse is here to stay but the automobile is only a novelty, a fad”
President of Michigan Savings Bank, 1901 (notice there’s no name attributed)
“The secret of change is to focus all your energy, not on fighting for the old, but on building the new.” – Socrates
All change is a cycle. Loss. Doubt. Discomfort. Discovery. Understanding. Integration. We experience it in every area of our lives whether we like it or not. It will happen without our consent or input. Life only asks us to be awake when it happens; to be aware of the shifts and conscious of the implications and inherent opportunities. Where there seems to be chaos, there are always new possibilities, and there will always be critics.
Today no one cares about who criticized Edison for trying to create the light bulb. No one gives a rip about who discouraged the Wright brothers from trying to fly. There’s no monument to the critic who said humans weren’t meant to move faster than 25 mph and that our necks would break in such a vehicle. No one applauds the folks who said Marconi was insane to think we could communicate by invisible waves in the air. We simply clap, flip a switch or enter a room and light turns on. We book a flight online and go across the country in a few hours. We drive 80 in the 55mph zone on heated ergonomic seats while listening to our iPod that connects to our car audio system via Bluetooth and get our directions from the built-in GPS all while talking to our relatives in Texas on our Blackberry. The critics were right. Impossible.
So here’s to you….a Conscious Dreamer. You who dare to dream wide awake and enter into a new year with an action plan, a strategy, and enthusiasm. Do not be discouraged by the critics. Use criticism to feed your creation and strengthen it. Never let anyone steal your dream. If your idea will bless the world, the world will bless you right back. Make it possible.
“If one advances confidently in the direction of one’s dreams, and endeavors to live the life which one has imagined, one will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.” – Henry David Thoreau
In 100 years, your children’s children may remember you for what you do today. What will that be? What will you dare to accomplish? Who will you be one year from today? All the answers are within you. Dig deep. Live full on.
Here’s to being dangerous in 2010,
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