Dreams allow us to travel, to grow, to change. Dreams are stories in themselves, and they often foretell the birth of new stories, too.
Dreams are beautiful. But in order to reach its full potential, dreaming goes hand in hand with doing.
As we celebrate the 52nd anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s I Have A Dream speech, here are six thoughts on how to grow a dream.
Be prepared for hard work. A dream will often be for something that has yet to happen or is yet to be. Dreamers flesh out the path to the dream becoming reality, and then set out to work. Hard work – with our hands, our minds, our hearts. The daily grind is where the magic of dreams really takes place. Your everyday actions and choices are sacred.
Master the art of a thick skin with a soft heart. As your dream grows, so will your belief in it. Your dream will meets its critics, and you will need to weather those with confidence and grace – and also without becoming cold or cynical. Chances are your dream has been able to grow so far because of the fertile soil of your soft heart, and it will take deliberate effort to keep it that way. It’s worth it.
Be OK with being alone. Not everyone will ‘get’ your dream right away. That’s fine. Keep going anyway. Fellow dreamers and workers will come. And when they do, be wise. Someone helpfully explained it to me like this: a dream is a glass of perfectly made Robinson’s diluted orange juice. You’ve worked hard to get just the right consistency. Someone else may come along and pour too much water, or too much syrup into it; so choose those who carry your dream with you wisely. That said…
Find your tribe. Fellow dreamers, workers, people who analyse, people who do, people who think outside of the box, people who listen. Those people will come. Embrace them. Journey as a community. Share your dream and grow it with other dreamers. Dreaming together is so much fun.
Water your dream. Go back to its roots, often. Remind yourself of why your dream matters. Why does racism bother you so much? Why is it important for your community to flourish? Why do you want to study physics? Write the answers down on your hands if you have to. And then find ways to build those answers. Find out more about the impact of racism. Talk to others who share your dream. Read, listen, be inspired all over again.
Allow your dream to change your life and become the thread that runs through everything else in your life. Dreaming changes us. It changed me. When my dream was born, I went from being an arts graduate with a passion for shoes and photography to managing a charity that aims to stop human trafficking – I’m still passionate about shoes and photography, though! My belief that every human being has innate, infinite and ineffaceable worth is the thread that runs through all that I do, and the one that underpins my dream of freedom and justice. It affects how I write, how I shop, how I relate. My dream has changed my life and although it has been painful at times, I’m glad it has.
My dream is that, as we celebrate MLK’s dreams as well as our own this weekend, we find the tools we need to make those dreams a reality. Dreams take work and water – may yours become even more beautiful as they grow.