Story 1: Believe in Your Dreams

Believe in Your Dreams

Hold fast to dreams for if dreams die,
Life is a broken-winged bird that cannot fly.
Hold fast to dreams for when dreams go,
Life is a barren field frozen with snow.

By Langston Hughes

Dreams are wishes, aspirations, hopes and purposes. Dreams are what provide our lives direction. They give us something to do with our days.

When we no longer dream we shrivel up and die. Therefore, dreams are a necessity of life. If we are to live we must dream. Our dreams give us reason to live. They are our fuel.

But many of us let our dreams get buried by the pains of living. They are buried under failures, divorce, bankruptcy, loss jobs, missed opportunities and a host of things that didn’t go as we planned.

When things don’t go as we planned or dreamed we become discouraged, defeated and we give up. One thing I learned growing up was to never ever give up. Winners never quit and quitters never win. You never know how things may change. You may outlast your opponent. Things may just go your way. But you’ll never know if you give up.

Everything that I was ever really good at started with me not being so good. It’s happened so often that now I expect things to evolve and get better. I don’t expect to be great at anything straight out of the box. It will come if I put in the time.

When I was in high school I went out for the wrestling team. I was very small. I weighed less than the lowest weight class. So even small guys were bigger than me.

My first year I lost every match I had. It was terrible. I had matches that didn’t even last a full minute. They would throw me around like a rag doll. I spent most of my time during the matches on my back looking up at the lights. I would strain with all my might as the pretty cheerleaders pleaded with me to get up.

I consistently put my team in the hole having us always start off with a loss. And I would cry like a baby because it hurt so bad to lose. It was so bad that my family quit coming to see my matches.

But the second year I worked harder in practice. I listened to my coaches. And I won half and loss half of my matches. That was a big improvement for me.

So my senior year I worked even harder and I made it to the State championship. I ended up with a wrestling scholarship for college and much more self-confidence. My family even came back to watch my matches.

But the important lesson was that of perseverance. I learned to keep at it. To work harder. To not give up on my dreams.

I had the same experience with public speaking.

I dreamed of being a motivational speaker. So I went to a Les Brown speaking seminar to learn to speak. We had small contests at our tables that led to a winner for the entire group and a gift from Les. I was without question the worst in my group of eight. The others were teachers and preachers, people who spoke regularly. They were better prepared and more relaxed than I could hope to be.

I was so distraught that again I went off to my room and cried like a baby. This time I was fortunate and someone who could see in me what I couldn’t, consoled me and advised me.

I went back home and joined Toastmasters. I joined two different clubs so I could get extra practice. I entered the contests, I did the work and I developed into an award winning speaker. It again came with perseverance. Not giving up on my dream.

The important thing is to have a dream and to pursue it.

Kids love athletes because they have dreams that they pursue. Sports is an area where you can see folks get knocked down, get up and pursue their dreams. We can all resonate with that spirit. It’s the human spirit and it can be hard to kill the human spirit.

That spirit shows up in our belief in ourselves. It’s an attitude. When we believe in ourselves we keep going, we don’t quit. We reach our dreams.

Setbacks can talk you out of your dreams. Just know that setbacks are a part of the process. We all grow into our dreams by persevering. Never give up in the pursuit of your dream. Dreams are a part of living.

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