“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


A Motivational Poem

The Things That Haven’t Been Done Before

-by Edgar Guest

The things that haven’t been done before,

Those are the things to try;

Columbus dreamed of an unknown shore

At the rim of a far-flung sky,

And his heart was bold and his faith was strong

As he ventured in dangers new,

And he paid no heed to the jeering throng

 Or the fears of the doubting crew.

The many will follow the beaten track

With guideposts on the way.

They live and have lived for ages back

With a chart for every day.

Someone has told them it’s safe to go

On the road he has traveled o’er,

And all they ever strive to know

Are the things that were known before.

A few strike out without map or chart,

Where never a man has been,

From the beaten paths they draw apart

To see what no man has seen.

There are deeds they hunger alone to do;

Though battered and bruised and sore,

They blaze the path for the many, who

Do nothing not done before.

The things that haven’t been done before

Are the tasks worthwhile today;

Are you one of the flock that follows, or

Are one that shall lead the way?

Are you one of the timid souls that quail

At the jeers of the doubting crew,

Or dare you, whether you win or fail,

Strike out for a goal that’s new?

            I have always liked this poem since I memorized it in fourth grade.  It is a very motivational poem, at least to me, and while I have never gone off the “beaten track” so to speak, it encourages me not to be easily discouraged when I try to do things that are new to me.  (And I am very easily discouraged, as I almost always have unrealistic expectations of myself.)  Hope this poem will give you a little boost towards whatever project you are working at in the coming week.

Wyatt Fairlead