As I sat on my deck, I noticed a gentle mist had started, but I didn’t get up. Instead, I sat there admiring the trees and grass. When I was young, there were no trees, no grass to look at. It was just block after block of concrete. That time seems so long ago now, I guess I thought to myself, as the mist turned into a drizzle, I made it. Everyone thought I was living in a dream world, that if I didn’t give up these crazy dreams, I would never amount to anything, and they were all too quick to point out each time I failed, and I failed a lot. But there was one person who believed in me, kept pushing me, and encouraging me never to stop chasing my dreams. That person was me.
For as long as I could remember, I believed that I was born to be unique, to stand out from the crowd. While the masses would march to the drummer’s beat, I would salsa to Tito Puente’s rhythm. Now ironically, the same people who told me I would never make it ask me what my secret of success is. I laugh to myself and tell them I always knew that greatness was in me I just had to work hard, push myself, never give up, reject the fear of failure and not let anyone take away my dreams. Right then, my 6-year-old son called out to me, “Daddy, it’s raining. Come inside.” I looked at him and smiled as I said, “it’s ok, your Daddy never gets caught in the rain because he learned how to soar above the clouds.”
Anyone who has read my blog knows that I love The Matrix, and one of my favorite characters Morpheus, has uttered many quotes that we can use in our everyday lives. Two that I especially relate to are “There is a difference between knowing the path and walking the path.” and “You have to let it all go, Fear, doubt, and disbelief free your mind.” In many ways, we know what we must do if we want to make our dreams a reality, but we fail to act. We fear failing, doubt ourselves, and disbelieve in the possibility of success. In many ways, our minds have been conditioned by society to be practical, to color within the lines. Conditioned to believe that if we simply blend in, we protect ourselves. But imagine what we could accomplish if, as Morpheus says, we let it all go and free our mind If we dared to color outside the lines. Suppose we stopped being afraid of failure and embraced the possibility of success. We may just find that we will never again get caught in the rain because we would have learned to soar above the clouds.
Captain James T. Kirk famously said I don’t believe in the no-win scenario. Kirk liked to think there always are…possibilities.
How many times in our life have we given up on or not even tried to accomplish something because our minds have been conditioned to believe it was not possible no matter what we do? That it was a no-win scenario. How different would our lives be if we allowed ourselves to accept the simple concept that there are always possibilities?
Many in society don’t want us to believe that. Be it because they have achieved a level of success they don’t want us to reach, or they are afraid of reaching for the stars. But we deserve success as much as anyone else, and we should not fear reaching for the stars because we may not capture them. We should fear letting the opportunity for greatness elude us because we settled for mediocrity. After all, we’ll never get to captain the Starship Enterprise if we believe in no-win scenarios.
The destination seemed so far and the road so dark, but I stayed the course.
The people around me said I’d never get there, but I stayed the course.
The pain was at times overwhelming, but I stayed the course.
Life is not easy; it has knocked me down, looked me in the eye, and dared me to get back up, but get back up I did, I stayed the course.
Now I have reached the end of the road, and the future is as bright as can be. The people around me ask how I did it. The pain is but a fleeting memory.
I stayed the course.
Criticism is defined as a critical observation or remark.
While criticism can often be an indispensable source in helping us grow, it can never take the place of having the courage to stand in the arena. Many are quick to tell us where we have gone wrong but stand on the sidelines, afraid to get their hands dirty. It is the doer of deeds who counts in the battle for life, not the man who looks on and says how the fight ought to be fought, without himself be willing to share in the stress and the danger.”