I’ve made the conscious decision to surround myself with dreamers and encouragers.
In the 80s, my wife and I used to listen to the radio broadcast “Casey Kasum’s Top 40.” Casey had one of the most classic radio voices in history—and he also voiced Shaggy from “Scooby Doo” for many years—and every week he would count down the top 40 hits in America.
He would end the broadcast by saying, “Keep your feet on the ground and keep reaching for the stars.”
I love that.
In my tiny circle of dreamers and encouragers is my wife. She’s always been my greatest source of love and inspiration. Many years ago she told me she felt like she had no specific gifts to speak of, but it soon became obvious that her beautiful, contagious smile and encouraging spirit were her gifts. She’s never let me down.
Then there are my kids. My daughter fought her way back from addiction and an abusive relationship to find happiness and graduate at the top of her nursing class. For a while she settled in to her new role as a Hospice Nurse, but is now talking about going back to school again.
Dreamers are rarely content for long.
“All men dream: but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake up in the day to find it was vanity, but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dreams with open eyes, to make it possible.” ― T.E. Lawrence
We have to keep dreaming, keep fighting, keep sweating, keep bleeding, keep pushing, keep crying, keep laughing and keep living.
My son is one of the most amazing drummers I’ve ever known, and he started with me showing him how to keep beat. That’s it. “Listen to the song and pick out the beat, son.” Starting with this task, he’s pushed himself to where he’s simply mind-blowing, honestly. He’s also a writer, having started with simple poems when he was as young as 9-years-old.
While my dad is not the creative type, he’s relentless in his pursuits. He managed to become the president a bank he co-owned by the time he was in his mid-30s, and recently retired from banking after 50 years, all with no college degree.
My mom has also been one of my greatest encouragers. I’ve never felt one hint of doubt or skepticism from her. She’s always told me I could do anything to which I set my mind.
Even through all my “failures,” such as my disastrous attempt at creating a comic book and my flopped stab at starting a heavy metal band, she’s always inspired me to never quit. She tells me I’m smart and creative and talented, and can do anything I want to.
Would that all of you had a mom like this.
“Most of the important things in the world have been accomplished by people who have kept on trying when there seemed to be no hope at all.” ― Dale Carnegie
Those in my inner circle don’t scoff at my dreams; they embolden them!
We steal joy and motivation where we can. As an example, I offer this picture of my son and I, taken a few nights ago.
We picked up some Chinese food―my personal favorite―on the way home from a long day at work, and my son asked if we could jam (i.e. turn on some killer tunes). This is like asking an alcoholic if he’d like a complementary sip, and I said, “Yeah, man, go for it.”
He inserted a Led Zeppelin CD and skipped forward to “Stairway to Heaven,” one of the greatest rock songs of all time.
We cranked the windows down, and something about the combination of the smell of Chinese food on my lap, the night air and the music at full volume gave me a shot of adrenaline unlike any I’ve had in many a moon.
Pure bliss, just me and my boy.
If you can feel your spirit slowly dying, I implore you to make a change.
A change of scenery, a change of friends, a change of music, whatever. Whether it’s online or in your community, seek out uplifting, like-minded individuals who lift you up and not tear you down.
Whatever it takes for you to keep chasing your dream, do it.
Steal joy where you can.
Never give in, never give up, never surrender.
“We all know that when there’s a race, all the runners bolt for the finish line, but only one will take the prize. When you run, run for the prize! (1 Corinthians 9:24)”