Have You A Dream Deferred?

Published in INSIGHT - Spring 2018
By Dr. Charles Waldo

What are your dreams? Do you have some? There is a big difference between “dreams” that are really just wishes or hopes versus “dreams” that have some possibilities undergirding them and into which the dreamer can put some effort. What is on your “bucket list”?  Are there items that have some possibility of happening or are they just “wishing in the wind”?  Have you deferred some?  Should/can you defer them any longer? Can you afford to wait?

Here are key points gleaned from a talk by Robert K. Greenleaf in a publication offered by the Greenleaf Center for Servant Leadership that might also help you achieve your dreams:

1. Try to live your life with distinction (doing something very well) and greatness (leaving society at least a little better off for your having been here). Helping others who are less fortunate.   That is quite different than helping the rich get richer.
2. Cultivate your creativity. Everyone has the gift of creativity in one field or another. Find it and make it productive. Let dreams soar.
3. Find a moral compass that will support you in good times and bad. Two examples: “What does the Golden Rule require in this situation? and “Always tell the truth.”
4. Develop wisdom, common sense, and good judgment – usually by looking at efforts that did not turn out right, figuring out what went wrong, making changes, and trying again; having a mentor for guidance is a plus.
5. Be a good trustee of whatever assets you are entrusted. That might be your children, your church’s physical plant, business finances, a social service agency on whose board you sit, and so on. Live above expectations and above board.
6. Be “positively realistic.”  It is good to dream, even to dream REAL BIG. But temper that dream with realism. There is a saying put out by some that “You can be anything you want to be if you dream big enough and work hard enough.” True for some. Not true for others. Example: A 5’ tall, 100 pound person is NOT going to play on an NBA team,but he or she might get into a front office position, be a trainer, be a marketing or PR person,  be the travel secretary, or so on.  Be around the game but not on the floor. Some things just cannot be willed.
7. If you want to feel good about yourself, do good for others less fortunate than yourself.

Having “good luck”
Dream big or dream small—but dream.  Then have a plan for achievement and work like hell while waiting for success to arrive.  “Good luck” is the intersection of being prepared and working hard.  Do not give up too easily. Inventor supreme Thomas A. Edison (General Electric’s founder) said he found 999 ways NOT to invent a light bulb before he finally found a way to make it. Worthy goals and dreams usually demand (and deserve) much “cultivating and fertilizing.” Get your rake and hoe, spread some fertilizer, water now and then, keep the weeds down, and best wishes for a bumper crop of achieved dreams.  Do not defer any longer.

The late Charles Waldo, Ph.D., was Professor of Marketing (ret.) at Anderson University’s Falls School of Business.