“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
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.