As a new year dawns upon us, it is often quite natural and appropriate to look back on the year that was and to think a little bit philosophically. As I look back and reminisce over the past year whilst planning for what is appropriately titled 20-self or the capitalists version being 20-wealth, I am astounded at what I have achieved in a mere twelve months. I am truly grateful for the opportunities to have engaged with bright young minds on various projects, travelled internationally, networked with highly influential and powerful people whilst focusing on my studies and more importantly, working towards my ultimate dream of running the world!
However, I sit and wonder if these dreams or goals have been big enough, or were they sometimes too realistic and easily achievable? I sometimes wonder if we have a predisposition to limit ourselves, our mindsets, our thoughts and even our dreams to that which we can achieve and make a reality. Are we so inclined to dream with limitation that we fail to dream the dream that scares us the most; the dream that causes you to have sleepless nights? The dream that makes you so uncomfortable and the thought of realizing it causes so many mixed emotions internally with fear, doubt, uncertainty, anxiety and apprehension pulling in one direction, and excitement, enthusiasm, joy, passion and exhilaration pulling in the other? Furthermore, are we a generation with low expectations of ourselves and what we can possibly achieve? Have we become so acclimatised to the notion of dreaming only that which is possible and attainable, rather than what is beyond our wildest imagination?
Lowell Lundstrum famously said that, “If your dreams don’t scare you, they aren’t big enough.” As I ponder on this statement, I realize that only if a dream is large enough will it make us get out of our comfort zones and fuel the fire and burning desire within us to achieve it, as a large dream involves more risk and requires more effort and persistence than a dream which is easily attainable. This sentiment can be examined through an analysis of the greatest inventors of time such as Thomas Edison, the Wright Brothers, Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg and Steve Jobs, whom through the extraordinary dreams revolutionized the world. Locally, we can look at the likes of Mark Shuttleworth, Patrice Motsepe, Wendy Luhabe and Khanyi Dhlomo for inspiration.
Our former President Nelson Mandela is probably the best example of an individual whose dream was so large that once it was realized it unified a nation, and today we can all be proud to be South Africans and celebrate our freedom, heritage and democracy with pride – all thanks to one man who had a great dream for our beautiful country. In that regard, I challenge you to dream the dream that scares you the most and take the responsibility in making your dreams a reality. As Sarah Ban Breathnach states, “The world needs dreamers and the world needs doers. But above all, the world needs dreamers who do.”