“Never let your dreams steal the joy from reality.”

-Sherry Phillips Carlstrom

            A friend of mine was thinking one day and decided to post this thought of hers on Facebook.  This quote jumped out at me as soon as I read it.  It seems relatively straightforward.  There are no hidden meanings or paradoxes, but to me at least, this short sentence contains very profound truth.

I am not sure if anyone has noticed this, but a large percentage of my posts on this blog are motivational or encouraging in nature.  This is not because I am a naturally encouraging person.  It is because when I am writing posts, I am usually writing exactly what is going through my mind.  I would not say that I dream big per say, but my mind is always coming up with things that I would like to do and make.  In that sense, I dream a lot and often.  The main problem with this is that I am relatively quick to be discouraged.  (Not a good combination.)  Consequently, I am always looking for things that remind me that failure is not the end and that I just have to try again.

Then I read this quote.  I think that too often I have let my dreams steal the joy from reality.  I view what I have created through the lens of how it is not what I had in mind, instead of viewing it as something that has been created in and of itself.  I had never thought about this before.  I have no idea about anyone else, but I have a hunch that often the discouragement that people feel is caused by some vision that they have.  I may dream of one day becoming a famous artist, (purely for example, because I don’t) but the fact is that I am not skilled enough to be that world famous artist.  I am quite certain that I don’t have it in me.  Now I have two options.  I can let that reality traumatize me, or I can accept it and enjoy the reality that I can draw my unrealistic little ship pencil sketches, which is more than I might have been able to do.

Of course there is danger in this mind set as well, if you take it to the extreme.  If you’re always happy with the status quo then you never grow.  The goal is to be somewhere in the middle.  You may notice in the quote, it doesn’t say, “Stop dreaming, because they will steal the joy from reality.”  Dream away!  Dreams make you grow.  Dreams can drive you to new heights and great discoveries if you let them.  You simply must not let them steal the joy from reality.  You can’t be driven along by your dreams if you are constantly discouraged by the fact that you haven’t attained them yet, even if you don’t think that you will ever be able to attain them.  The goal is to be in the place of being satisfied with what you can do, but always trying to do more.  I am having a little difficulty putting into words exactly what I mean, but I just thought of a poem that I think puts it rather nicely, so here it is.

Be The Best Of Whatever You Are

-Douglas Malloch

If you can’t be a pine at the top of the hill

Be a scrub in the valley – But be

The best little scrub by the side of the hill;

Be a bush if you can’t be a tree.

If you can’t be a bush be a bit of the grass,

And some highway happier make;

If you can’t be a Muskie than just be a bass-

But the liveliest bass in the lake!

We can’t all be captains; we’ve got to be crew,

There’s something for all of us here.

There’s big work to do and there’s lesser to do,

And the task we must do is the near.

If you can’t be a highway, then just be a trail,

If you can’t be a sun, be a star;

It isn’t by size that you win or you fail-

Be the best of whatever you are!

It is a fun poem but it makes the point well.  You may not be the best ever, but be the best of whatever you are.  Be your best.  Dream, and let those dreams help make you your best.

Wyatt Fairlead


It Couldn’t Be Done

I have been feeling a little overwhelmed with school recently, which is sad because my load is pathetically light compared to some of my friends.  I have been trying to tell myself that for a while, but it would appear that discouragement is not necessarily overcome by rationality.  At any rate, I remembered this poem earlier today, and I thought I would share it with you.


It Couldn’t Be Done

By Edgar A. guest.

Somebody said that it couldn’t be done,

But he with a chuckle replied

That “maybe it couldn’t,” but he would be one

Who wouldn’t say so ‘till he’d tried.

So he buckled right in with a trace of a grin

On his face.  If he worried he hid it.

He started to sing as he tackled the thing

That couldn’t be done and he did it.

Somebody Scoffed: “Oh, you’ll never do that;

At least no one ever has done it;”

But he took off his coat and he took off his hat,

And the first thing we knew he’d begun it.

With a lift of his chin and a bit of a grin,

Without any doubting or quiddit.

He started to sing as he tackled the thing

That couldn’t be done, and he did it.

There are thousands to tell you it cannot be done,

There are thousands to prophesy failure;

There are thousands to point out to you one by one

The dangers that wait to assail you.

But just buckle in with a bit of a grin,

Just take off your coat and go at it;

Just start to sing as you tackle the thing

That “cannot be done” and you’ll do it.

 Wyatt Fairlead

How Did You Die?

Today has actually been a very nice day for me.  My studying went well and I can’t complain about anything else, but you know as well as I that nice days are not every day.  (And for me, nice days are greatly outnumbered by days that have been frustrating and tiring in some way or another.)  I get discouraged and my problems in life are so insignificant that it’s pathetic!  This is a poem that I have always found encouraging.  It is stuff that we have all probably heard before, but it’s still nice to hear again.  Hope you enjoy it as well.

How Did You Die

Edmund Vance Cooke

Did you tackle that trouble that came your way

With a resolute heart and cheerful?

Or hide your face from the light of day

With a craven soul and fearful?

Oh, a troubles a ton, or trouble’s an ounce,

Or trouble is what you make it,

And it isn’t the fact that you’re hurt that counts,

But only how did you take it?

You are beaten to Earth?  Well, well, what’s that!

Come up with a smiling face.

It’s nothing against you to fall down flat,

But to lie there – that’s disgrace.

The harder you’re thrown, why the higher you bounce’

Be proud of your blackened eye!

It isn’t the fact that you’re licked that counts,

It’s how did you fight – and why?

And though you be done to the death, what then?

If you battled the best you could,

If you played your part in the world of men,

Why, the Critic will call it good.

Death comes with a crawl, or it comes with a pounce,

And whether he’s slow or spry,

It isn’t the fact that you’re dead that counts,

But only how did you die?

Wyatt Fairlead