The Road To Making Your Dreams Come True
“If you can dream it; you can do it.” – Walt Disney
A dream is a wish your heart makes…And Walt Disney had plenty of them! Disney World… the place where all your dreams come true, created by a man who believed in dreams and made his visions a reality.
I remember the occasions when I took my daughters to Disney World. Seeing this magical world through the lens of my children – through their excitement; their wonderment – is something I will not soon forget. Tears forming, I watched as my 4-year old reached out to touch the white-gloved hand of Cinderella during the Lights Parade. With both awe and a bit of relief, there was that moment of validation — Cinderella is real! With enthusiasm, I listened intently to my 6-year old daughter tell me about her trip to Mars at EPCOT, describing in magnificent detail everything she saw and felt along the way. She had traveled to our neighboring planet and back in a matter of minutes; but just the same, it was very, very real.
Childlike wonderment – experienced in our youth — where everything is miraculous – and where trust and faith are abundant. Even the smallest things are full of mystery – fireflies…snowflakes…a crab walking on the beach. And all you have to do is believe…
Yet as we grow on to become adults, those small little wonders that used to bring us joy and hope somehow dissipate. Somewhere along the line, we are taught that these things are too little – too insignificant – or only “just pretend”. We learn these lessons – the “real” lessons of life – and the magic begins to fade.
So how do you retain that childlike quality of being able to wonder and make those dreams of yours come true? With just a wave of her wand, the Fairy Godmother made Cinderella’s dreams come true. With the rub of his lamp, a genie appeared to grant Aladdin 3 wishes. Short of locating a fairy-like wand or an enchanted lamp, what is the magic formula to making all of your dreams come true?
For me, the “magic formula” can be summed up in one word: Courage. And in that courage, be true to one’s self.
Aristotle asserted that “Courage is the first of human virtues because it makes all others possible.” Courage appears as the first of ten characteristics of the Dharma. The Tao Te Ching states that “courage is derived from love.”
In more modern times, Ernest Hemingway famously defined courage as “grace under pressure”. Winston Churchill said that courage “is rightly esteemed the first of human qualities because it is the quality that guarantees all others.” Maya Angelou also believed courage to be the most important of the human virtues; “without courage, you can’t practice any other virtue consistently.”
It takes courage to believe. It takes courage to regain that childhood state of wonder – to accept that perhaps you don’t have all of the answers – to live into the mystery of life and the uncertainty that comes with it. It takes courage to act upon your dreams and what you feel to be your Life Purpose. It takes courage to take initiative – to step up to the plate – to be seen. It takes courage to trust others, letting go of any need to control people and outcomes. It takes courage to give “tough feedback” and share unpopular views. We all have the capacity to be courageous. At the same time, courage can bring both benefit and harm. So we need to be mindful about from where our courage comes.
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As mentioned above, the Tao Te Ching states that “courage is derived from love” and explains:
“One of courage, with audacity, will die. One of courage, but gentle, spares death. From these two kinds of courage arise harm and benefit.”
We all have dreams…intentions…visions…and convictions that drive us. Fear can be an invitation to courage if we choose to accept it. This requires the resolve to look inward – to discern what parts of us are beneficial and what parts of us are harmful. Ultimately, those whose courage is driven by power and control are reckless, causing harm to themselves and others. But those whose courage is driven by love generate value within themselves and others; because when you take risks born of love, that love tempers the recklessness and brings about change for the better.
“All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them.” Walt Disney believed this to his core – so much so that he created a magical park where everything was possible — and in that possibility — children and parents could have fun together.
Yet as with all things, it is not about the “what” or even the “how”. It is about the “from where”, a perspective that is fundamentally important to understand. Are you coming from a place of love or from a place of power? This inner state from where you are driven to manifest your ideas, goals, visions and dreams will ultimately determine your success. Getting yourself to the place where you can honestly discern the difference…well, that takes courage!