My mom used to ask me this all the time. “What do you want to be when you grow up?“
Of course at a young age, you always wanted to be something cool right? A Police Officer, a Ninja, a Transformer… I can remember drawing pictures for school assignments that asked us what we wanted to be when we grew up.
And there were no boundaries… no limitations… if you wanted to be a Transformer when you grew up, you sure as shit could put it on the assignment and be good to go. In fact, teachers and parents encouraged children to dream big.
It’s interesting how while we are young and naïve and were asked this question we didn’t put any limitations on what we could be. We would dream up and imagine the greatest thing our young minds could think of. There was no limit.
And then we grow up and we realize we can’t be a Transformer… More than that though, we grow up and we stop dreaming. We recognize the foolishness of the idea of trying to be something that isn’t real but we take it a step farther and we start doing this in all parts of our lives.
We start believing that dreams are just that. Dreams… fiction… unobtainable. And so we stop dreaming. And what this does is it puts a cap on everything else that we do in life. Instead of shooting for the highest achievement we can, we start shooting for just good enough. We aim for comfortable and easily obtainable. We try to do things that are “realistic” in our lives.
We fill our time with movies and games, shopping and home remodels, chores and yard work. We start to settle into life, we get comfortable, and we stop dreaming.
But no one whoever did anything great, did it without a dream. Martin Luther King Jr. literally spoke of how valuable having a dream was. For him, the dream was the driving force of where things could one day be. And at the time, thousands of people believed that his dream was just that, a dream. But these were those same people who had forgotten how to dream big.
But if not for his dream, what would he have accomplished?
So don’t get caught up in the day-to-day of life. Don’t get so comfortable with taking things easy, that you forget to dream. So many people have so much unfulfilled potential in the world. So much more that they could give back. So much more that they could accomplish. So much more that they could do.
So dream big, dream bigger than you ever did as a child. Aim so fucking high that when you talk about your dreams to other people, they think it’s unrealistic. And then ask yourself, “What do I have to do to achieve this dream? What work do I have to put in today, to make this dream a reality?”
Then go out there and do it!
And if you’re a parent, you should continue this tradition and ask your kids the very same question. “What do you want to be when you grow up?“