In February 1492, a poor grey-haired man, walked into the pearly gateways of the great Alhambra, King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella’s palace. Haunted from his boyhood with a dream and idea that the earth is round and that there were other unknown lands in the west that he could reach. He believed that could reach the east by sailing west. Therefore, he needed financial backing for an expedition into the new lands but was turned down and even considered crazy for having such an audacious and out of this world idea. As if that was not enough, the king’s ‘wise men’ who had been brought up to ‘analyze’ his idea ridiculed it and even mocked him. “But how can men walk with their heads hanging down, and their feet up like flies on a ceiling?” one of them asked.
Christopher Columbus is now credited with opening up the Americas to European colonization, Africa and Latin America. His expeditions have arguably been considered one of the seeds of early globalization as they paved way for the wide transfer of people, animals, and cultures; affecting nearly every society on the planet. He might as well have single-handedly kick started globalization as we now know it. This is the story of how one man, dared to pursue his life-long dream despite the ridicule and the ‘hemmed-in’ thinking of his age. The challenges were enormous, and with almost zero support, he still dared. In fact, it is said that even after receiving financial support for his first voyage from the king and queen, no one was willing to accompany him. People had to be arm-twisted into joining his crew!
Would you dare to pursue your dreams? Could your convictions be so strong as to compel you to action? Would you risk it all to get a shot at your impassionate dreams, ideas, and goals? These questions always linger and hang over us, unanswered, as we secretly look the other way. We have perfected the art of ignoring and even silencing the voices inside of us that keep on asking, and asking, and asking. Consider Tickel’s fine poem;
“I hear a voice you cannot hear, which says I must not stay
I see a hand you cannot see, which beckons me away.”
Emerson once said that,
“There are voices which we hear in solitude,
but they grow faint and inaudible as we enter into the world.”
We won’t shear off from the pack, wander off towards the cooing voice of inside our souls. But why? Why? Why? Why could we never dare to take aim at our dreams, even fire a single shot? A warning shot? Why won’t we even do the very least of actions; picking up our weapons, our special abilities?
The reasons abound; putting limitations on ourselves, clarity of our dreams, need for acceptance, fear of being ostracized, and the strange preference to become an accepted failure rather than an eccentric success. We would rather follow the paths prescribed for us by others. They seem safer and in any case, if you were to fail, the society will cover up for you. Wasn’t it their project anyway? You didn’t ask to take it up.
The human beings that we are, we secretly wish that someone would come out with a whip, threaten punishment, and drive us into pursuing our dreams. Well, it will be a cold day in hell before any such person will come out, even with the faintest of reprimands. In fact, there is usually a seeming sense of pseudo-calm, almost like a reward for not going after your dreams. Beware.
However, aside from the lifelong loss of fulfilment, something else is going to happen to you if you never pursue your dreams; someday soon, you are going to have to sit back and watch another person achieve the very thing you had in your heart, your lifelong dream. It will be such a disparaging moment as you will have to watch them do it with slightly less finesse and nowhere near the standards that you were capable of achieving. It will be like a disheartening taunt, like someone raising a fist in front of your face, or one of the fingers (and not the thumb or the pinkie).
Strangely, we are quick to glance towards the direction of the gathering spectators, the taunting strangers, who only sit back wait to be dazzled while seeming to threaten backlash and rejection with every unsuccessful attempt that you make. We look to people around us, consider them too much, listen to them, and eventually hand them an inordinate amount of control over our most cherished aims and dreams.
Rarely do we look in the other direction, where there is a larger group of people, with outstretching arms and silent shouts, those who have a great need for you to get on and accomplish your dreams because their own goals depend on it. They almost beg and plead that you would heed to the voice that beckons and draws you towards your dreams, as if they themselves have heard it whisper to you.
In a nutshell, there is no need to overthink this; it is as simple as deliberately shaping your daily actions according to your highest aims, your cherished dreams.
Would you dare?