Dreaming Big?

Currently I’m reading “The One Thing” by Gary Keller. At the moment I’m on chapter 10 and I have to say that so far Kellar makes a lot of good valid points that truly resonate with me. I won’t go into them because that isn’t what I want to focus on in this post, just know that the fact that I’ve actually gotten past chapter three in book on business inspiration is a good sign that there’s some useful information in between the front and back covers. What I do want to talk about is something that I keep coming across when I read inspirational, motivational self help books as well as when listening to speakers on self improvement, entrepreneurship and business. And that’s the idea of dreaming big. 

In this information age I’m sure you’ve heard the maxim “Dream Big”. You may have seen quotes warning not to share your big dreams with small minded people or if your dreams don’t scare you they’re not big enough. I understand the point that people are trying to get at when they make such statements which is don’t be afraid to go out and do great things. Don’t limit yourself because there’s no telling what you can achieve. And I also understand that all of this is suppose to help stem the tide of the onslaught of naysayers you may encounter along the way if you set out to do something great. I’m all for that kind of encouragement but I’m also noticing a side effect to it all and that’s the underlying shame that may occur if you’re made to feel that your dream isn’t big enough.

When it comes to all this inspirational and motivational encouragement oftentimes the examples used are gleaned from the lives of those considered big dreamers such as Oprah, Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Warren Buffett, J.K. Rowling or that dude who built Wal-Mart whose name seems to escape me at the moment. These are examples of people who have reached a level of fame and financial success in many cases from very humble beginnings that are noteworthy for inspiration. But I often worry that there are many out there who look at such individuals, see what they have accomplished and feel that if they aren’t trying to conquer the world, build schools in Africa, create a platform to bring holographic entertainment to every living room in America or simply striving to be a millionaire/billionaire are being left to feel that their dreams aren’t worthy goals. Where are the books and articles extolling examples of what I like to call “Main Street Dreams”; the dreams of people who want to open up a local barber shop, a dance studio or organics store? Or the dream of someone who just wants to run her own nail business out of her home or the independent artist who wants to make a good living for his art. Where are the examples of people who aren’t necessarily striving to be millionaires but who dream of just being financially stable and independent on their own terms doing something they love? It may not bring in millions or even change the world but it allows them to live comfortably and gives them pride in being self sufficient?  

I admit, maybe I’m reading the wrong books. Maybe there are people out there talking about and encouraging exactly what I’m saying and I just haven’t come across them yet. For now though, I just bristle when I hear or read the words “Dream Big” and then look at the media and see how success is often shaped by the idea of having expensive cars, big houses, jets, yachts, a millionaire or billionaire status and smoozing with those who exemplify that lifestyle. This isn’t to say that anything is wrong with dreaming big or wanting “big” things, it’s just that this one sided idea of success often gives the impression that anything less than this isn’t good enough. As a side note, one of the underlying reasons for why I do small art isn’t just because I enjoy it, it’s also because I don’t believe that everything has to “big” to be worthwhile, beautiful and/or valuable. A part of my mission as an artist is to help bring to light that there can be beauty in small things such as small works of art. With that said all of this brings to mind a video I watched on YouTube where Steve Harvey made some bristling comments about people who aspire to have tiny homes: 

“You need to get a bigger damn dream, that’s what you need to do…This is for people who have given up. This is for people who ain’t got no faith and who ain’t got no dreams…”  

What are some of your thoughts on the idea of “Dreaming Big”? 

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10 thoughts on “Dreaming Big?

  1. When I started reading this post, I thought it was going to be one extolling the virtues of “dressing big” and making it hyper successful in the world. Thankfully, I stuck around to read until the end.
    Recently, someone I know, who is struggling to make it big in life asked me what I have achieved so far, and what I hope to achieve in future. I usually skittle such questions because these are extremely private and what works for one need not work for another. But in a moment’s weakness I said that “tolerance” is the thing I am aiming to achieve, and I am slowly getting there. He called it “self-improvement humbug” and went on to lecture me for some time about how achievement is never a personal thing, and is connected to the external world and that there would be no progress if we didn’t dream big etc. I shut up because it is very difficult to communicate that to each person, his own ideas of achievement.

    I am convinced that my achievement, my “thinking big”, so to speak, is internal. The escape from mental clutter, the development of patience and tolerance, and to see reason in other people’s actions and life. Getting money is necessary for life, but that is, in my book, not an achievement – it is a basic instinct – food, shelter and reproduction are basic instincts of living beings, and money is just a modern representation of all three.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think sometimes people get defensive when others don’t think as they do and then feel compelled to try and convince them otherwise. Looking at the diversity of flowers in Nature reminds me that everybody isn’t meant to be the same or do the same things. I think your friend failed to see how your goal to cultivate tolerance does have an external effect and help to bring about progress in the world. Your way of being can potentially have an effect on others that in turn can have an effect on those around them. We under estimate the importance of what we consider to be “little things” and often don’t realize the effect of them until it’s too late. Colony Death among bees is one example. You’re dream to be more tolerant is a worthy goal. 😊

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  2. I agree with you. We make our own dreams and shouldn’t be judged for them. We all have different backgrounds and aspirations, so not even siblings can compare their goals to one another.

    Some people seem to have no dreams and that’s when it becomes disheartening for me. But when someone wants anything more out of life than their current situation, even if it’s to learn to paint or take a road trip, I find it quite inspiring.

    Great post

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for your comment. I’m the same. I’m intrigued and inspired by people’s dreams, especially those that don’t fit what I can “status quo dreams” such as being rich or becoming famous. Not that there’s anything wrong with that but people are diversity, why shouldn’t our dreams reflect that?

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  3. I think the people who advocate dreaming big are mostly extroverts who aren’t entirely connected to other people, I think they lack empathy. I’m an introvert and I’ve never felt the need to dream big or dream any differently than I do or have done.. My dreams and creativity have always been what have got me through life. There have been plenty of people who’ve thought I haven’t aimed high enough, but as I tell them, it’s my life, not theirs.

    So, yeah, I agree with you.

    As for the comedy show (and I’d not heard of the guy before), I wouldn’t want to live ‘tiny’ as I need space, but I wouldn’t try to deny anyone their own choice however different it is from mine.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. As I like to say “To each their own.” I don’t think that people should be made to feel guilty, ashamed or inadequate if their dreams or goals in life are different from others. My issue with Steve Harvey in regards to tiny homes, is that he didn’t just simply state that he prefers a bigger home for himself, he went so far as to say that people who want tiny homes lack faith, have no dreams and are stupid. When people like this who have obviously done very well for themselves turn around and are blatantly condescending towards others who have goals and dreams that don’t live up to their standards, it creates an atmosphere of shame that is completely unwarranted. It’s a complete lack of sensitivity on Harvey’s part but he’s entitled to his opinion just as I am here stating mine in response. Btw, I too am a fellow introvert. 😊

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Sorry, Q. I just see it as comedy, not a serious statement of intolerance. But then I’m a Brit and we have a different sense of humour from Americans. Our humour is mostly based on cynicism and irony which I know to other eyes often seems just plain insulting. I’ve had a similar conversation recently with a dear friend who interpreted something very differently from me. Sorry for the misunderstanding. I do agree with you, though that, the comedy aspect aside, condemning people in that way is appalling.

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