Do you have a dream that seems so impossible that you are ready to give up on it? Well don’t. I heard a story about a tourist in a small town where a number of famous people had been born. He said to an old timer, “I heard there have been some big people born here.” The old timer responded, “Nope, all babies.”
We all start small don’t we? It’s the same with big visions. They usually start small and grow. You may be surprised to know that the first suspension bridge across Niagara Falls started in 1847 with a kite and some string. It was eight hundred feet across the river and experts at the time thought it was impossible to span that distance. At first they didn’t think of something as simple as a kite and string. Here’s what happened.
The kite was flown across the gorge and the kite string was attached to a tree and the river was spanned. That simple. Then a light cord was attached to the string and pulled across. Then a heavier cord was attached and pulled across followed by a rope and finally a wire cable. Work on the suspension bridge began. It wasn’t sophisticated and that’s probably the reason the idea hadn’t been tried before. But the amazing thing is that such a simple solution was able to solve such a complex problem. I’m sure there were scoffers but it was the best idea available at the time and most importantly, it worked. The result was a bridge that furthered positive international relationships between the United States and Canada. A big dream with humble beginnings.
So often dreams lie dormant because the dreamer can’t find a place to start.
When my daughter Vanessa was nine she showed an interest in horses and I had always had a dream to own a horse. Shirley reminded me, accurately, that we couldn’t even afford to buy a horse, much less pay the boarding fees and the other related expenses. I understood the financial realities, but I also understood that a dream is only possible if you pursue it. I found a place for Vanessa to take lessons, and I begin reading magazines, visiting stables, meeting horse people and asking questions, learning everything I could about horses and the horse market. In general I was “putting myself in the way of a dream.”
It was about a year later that I found a nice horse we could afford and the owner threw in the saddle and bridle as part of the deal. We still couldn’t afford a boarding fee, so I went to the owner of a small farm with a horse barn, and worked out a deal for a much-reduced boarding rate. However, in order to secure that rate, Vanessa and I had to paint all the horse stalls and do general cleanup.
What looked like an impossible dream wasn’t impossible at all. It just needed perseverance, creative thinking and hard work. The dream grew and it brought my daughter and I closer and I’ve had horses ever since. The point was that the “perceived reality” that we “can’t” happened to be a false reality. Impossibilities are usually not impossible at all, just varying degrees of difficulty. And most of the time there are creative and sometimes incredibly simple solutions to those problems, like a kite and string or painting a barn.
Here are three essential things you need to know about achieving a dream.
1. Don’t let go of the dream
2. Take time to think about it every day
3. Find a place to start regardless of how simple it may seem
4. Work as hard as necessary to achieve it.
Thanks for joining me and whatever you do… keep showing up.