We have all been told at one time or another to ‘dream big’, ‘The sky is the limit’… The latter quote itself, originated from 19th century American poker. The quote portends that a man’s success is dependent on the size of his ambition.
Meaning that, those who fail, tend not to dream; Or when they do dream, they do not put in the work required to make such dreams become reality, for a variety of reasons (fear, laziness e.t.c.).
But is our success truly dependent on the size of our dreams?
Perhaps, in an ideal society…
An ideal society is one that is flawless. There is something inherently socialist about the concept of an ideal society; in the sense that, equal opportunities are available to all, and discrimination is unimaginable.
Our society is in no way ideal.
In a country (Nigeria) of over an hundred and fifty million people, rightly possessing the title of the largest economy in Africa, Over thirty percent of Nigerians live in abject poverty. Nigeria’s capitalist economy, a very inadequate government and a rotten educational sector all in full play.
‘Let’s go back to the concept of dreams.’
Take for instance, a lower class Nigerian child with a dream of becoming a medical doctor and the reverse with the other being from a wealthy home… Can we really simplify both dreams as truly being limitless? Taking into account the ever increasing price of education, the scarcity and difficulty in accessing scholarships, the elitism now associated with getting a medical degree…
‘Yes, the former dreams are greatly limited.’
Our human nature craves for success stories; the poor child that got a scholarship and became successful, the blind man that miraculously got his eyesight back… We shun/forget the other poor children that could not get scholarships, the other blind men that did not get miraculous healing… My point here is that people fail… real bad, and certain times, by no fault of theirs.
A simple belief that failure is a construct that can be conquered, does not guarantee that one will not fail. And even dreams themselves, can innately be privileged. E.g. It’s extremely difficult for me, as a Nigerian to imagine myself an astronaut, when my nation’s space program is boringly disappointing.
‘Am I now now suggesting that people should limit their dreams?’
‘Of course not!’
The crux of my criticism here is actually self ignorance. Certain times, when people dream, they blind themselves to their existence, mirroring their dreams on the lives of others that they admire. And I’m not just talking about the material aspect of dreams alone. e.g, a person whose strengths lie in the arts, but has romanticised the medical profession.
Dreams should be grounded in reality. A dream should be ‘you’, in the sense that it originates from you and not from the influence of external factors.
Before dreaming outwards, look inwards. Understand the nuances that define your existence. Ask yourself certain questions : ‘Where do your strengths lie? What do you love? Why do you love it? Where are you going? Why are you going there? What are your limitations? Can you truly beat them?’ Questions that strip away all elements of pretension from your ambitions.
Conclusively, what I am saying is quite simple : Know thy self. And in all things (dreams inclusive) stay true.
Most people fear that coming to terms with their limitations might limit them; make them discouraged; make them depressed… The truth is bitter. But after bitterness comes relief. The truth holds no prisoner. The truth sets you free. Only then, can your dreams truly be limitless.