Have you ever wondered if schools, which are seemingly instituted for the very purpose of helping us grow, kills some of the natural talents that we possessed as children?
In our schools, logic and knowledge is worshipped and important qualities such as imagination and creativity are suppressed instead of being nurtured. Imagination is unfortunately not seen as something which is of any value.
As children our imagination knows no limitation, but throughout our school years we are drilled with logic and linear thinking, and our ability to conceive what is possible starts to become increasingly limited.
Moreover since we are never encouraged to dream or use our imagination, the older we get most of us use this faculty of the mind less and this ability starts to fade.
But logic and knowledge do have their limitations. As Albert Einstein once said "Imagination is more important than knowledge. Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere.
Therefore it isn’t surprising that as we grew older, most of us naturally exchange our dreams for what’s considered realistic, logical and possible in the “real world”. We become resigned to accept that life is about settling and making compromises, especially when it comes to dreams.
I’d like to share with you the story of Monty Roberts which is a perfect example of how schools prevent students from dreaming big and thinking outside the box.
Monty Roberts, was the son of a vagabond horse trainer. Growing up Monty went with his father from stable to stable, farm to farm, and ranch to ranch training horses.
One day in school he was asked by his teacher to write a paper on what career he wanted to pursue. He wrote a seven page paper describing his goal of, someday owning a horse ranch.
He wrote about his dream in great detail – even drew a diagram of a 200 acre ranch showing the location of all the buildings, the stables and the track. He then drew a detailed floor-plan for a 4000 square foot house that would sit on the 200 acre dream ranch.
The next day he turned his paper in. Two days later he received it back. On the front page was a large red "F" with a note that read, "See me after class." When he saw the teacher, he asked why he was given an "F".
"The teacher said, 'This is an unrealistic dream for a young boy like you. You have no money. You come from an itinerant family. You have no resources. Owning a horse ranch requires a lot of money. You have to buy the land. You have to pay for the original breeding stock and later you'll have to pay large stud fees. There's no way you could ever do it.' Then the teacher added, 'If you will rewrite this paper with a more realistic goal, I will reconsider your grade.'" After thinking about it for a week, he turned the paper back in exactly as he had first written it saying to the teacher, "You can keep the F and I'll keep my dream."
Today, "Monty Roberts is the owner of a 4,000-square-foot house in the middle of a 200-acre horse ranch in San Ysidro, California.
And funnily enough, the very same school teacher, who gave Monty an F, brought 30 kids to camp on his ranch for a week. When the teacher was leaving he said, ‘look Monty, I can tell you this now, when I was your teacher I stole a lot of kids dreams. Fortunately you had enough gumption not to give up on yours.
Monty, fortunately, was an exception, imagine the millions of other children in school who get their dreams crushed because it isn't considered "realistic."
But schools aren’t the only culprit. We live in a society where thinking small and realistic is promoted. If you go around telling people about your big dreams, you are more likely to be met with scepticism than encouragement.
But it is always important to note that what’s considered not realistic isn’t synonymous with impossible.
A dream I had after taking my very first solo trip to Rishikesh was to spend a month travelling around Himachal.
I remember sharing my desire with a couple of my closest friends, who were quite sceptical about it. And thinking of it logically, they had every right to be sceptical. I was in the final year of my course in college at the time, and to be honest, even I had no clue about how I would find the time and the money for it.
All I knew was that this was something I wanted to do badly, and I was determined to make it possible.
And sure enough, after a year and a half of working I’d earned and set aside enough money for making the trip. Not only did I end up spending a month travelling around Himachal as I wanted, but I also spend the next two months travelling around different parts of India.
The trip was nothing short of life-changing, but of course, it wouldn’t have been possible if I didn’t imagine and believe that it could be done.
SEE ALSO : 10 Lessons I Learned From Solo Travelling Around India for 3 Months
The forces that stop dreams from coming true
Our early conditioning from schools and from those around is but one reason we stop dreaming.
However, the biggest dream killer of them all is none other than fear.
The fear of failure or not getting what we want. Some of us may never give ourselves the freedom to entertain our biggest dreams, even in our imagination because of the fear of disappointment. Or perhaps the pain of a few unfulfilled dreams may start to weigh us down and make us lose faith in it.
Fear can work in many ways. It can consume us and give us plenty of reasons to justify and convince ourselves why we can’t do what we really want to do. The magnitude of our dreams can scare us, and we may subconsciously end up focusing on why we can’t do it, instead of why we can.
When it comes to going after their dreams, another area which can trip up a lot of people is wrapping their heads around “how” something can be done or achieved. We try to think logically and of the nitty-gritty details which are involved in achieving our dream, and it may seem too intimidating or unrealistic.
But the truth is you don’t need to know how you’re dream is going to come true. If you look at almost anybody who has accomplished great things you would find that they didn’t know how they were going to do it either. All they knew was that they wanted it badly enough and were willing to do what it takes.
The following story sums this up perfectly and is a testament to the incredible power of imagination.
There was once a young boy who grew up in a poor household in a small town in Austria and dreamed of becoming one of the biggest stars in Hollywood.
By age 15 he started weightlifting and developed a passion for the sport. His idol Reg Park was one of the greatest bodybuilders of his era, and he read about how he had leveraged his career to get into Hollywood. He was determined to follow in the footsteps of his idol.
His parents and friends ridiculed him and thought he was crazy, but that didn’t deter him from staying focused and believing in his dream.
He soon began reaping the rewards for his intense dedication and focus, and in 1965, at the age of 18, he won the Junior Mr. Europe contest. A couple of years later he became the youngest ever Mr. Universe at the age of 20. By the age of 21, with little knowledge of the English language he moved to the United States, still harbouring a dream of becoming a star in Hollywood.
While his bodybuilding career was thriving, getting into the movies was proving to be incredibly difficult.
He was told by agents and casting people that his body was 'too weird', that he had a funny German accent, and that his name was too long and that he had to change it. Basically, everywhere he turned, he was told that he had no chance.
After years of persistence his efforts finally paid off, and he landed a role in Conan The Barbarian which became a big box office success. And his big break came a couple of years later in the 1984 Sci-Fi Classic, The Terminator in which he played the starring role.
The movie turned him into an international star, and despite all odds, he became one of the biggest and highest-paid actor in Hollywood in the 90s.
The actor is of course none other than Arnold Schwarzenegger.
His funny German Accent and “weird body” which were considered as liabilities turned out to be a great asset in his career.
Now there was absolutely no way he could have logically known how he would have been able to achieve his seemingly impossible dream, yet he decided to go for it.
Dreaming or imagining alone of course as you know is not enough. The vital ingredient required to magically bring forth our dreams from the unseen into reality is belief. And if it’s a very big dream that you have, being a little crazy also wouldn’t hurt, because you will need to believe in it even if nobody else will.
It is always important to keep in mind that when people say something can’t be done, they are merely stating their opinions, nothing else.
They probably wouldn’t know about how the universe operates and the workings of the Law of Attraction. If so, they would think twice before saying something can’t be done.
In life, there are no prizes to be won for being realistic and playing it small, so might as well chase our dreams before we are out of here. Have the courage to dream outrageous dreams and of course, believe in them and go for it.
Because where’s the excitement and magic in life if we are too busy focusing on living logically and realistically?
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The story of Monty Roberts was narrated by Jack Canfield in Chicken Soup For The Soul.