As a kid, I remember being encouraged by my role models, who taught me to “reach for the stars”. They said things like: don’t be afraid to think big, work hard, put your best foot forward, and so on.
And I learned that in American society, it is a fundamental tenet that if you work hard, you can achieve your dreams. This is “the American dream.”
Sometimes as adults we feel that our dreams don’t matter. We work hard, but our hard work doesn’t guarantee success. We see that many factors determine success, including: talent, whether technical or leadership; a willingness to take risks; personal connections and networking, and sometimes even “just plain dumb luck.”
Nevertheless, our ability to envision success ultimately does affect our achievements. As Sheila Murray Bethel puts it in the national bestseller, Making A Difference: “Big thinking always precedes big achievement.”
It all goes back to: Think big, try hard, put yourself out there, and you can achieve great things.
Wired Magazine (December 2009), in an article titled, “Hiding In Plain Sight,” states that “Today’s tech giants all have one thing in common: They tried to change the world.” For example, look at the mission of the following organizations:
· Google—“to organize the world’s information.”
· Microsoft—“a computer on every desk and in every home.”
· Facebook—“the social graph of the planet.”
· eBay—“to create an entirely new global marketplace.”
Of course, while we know that there are real life constraints and that not every child who wants to President can be and not every company that wants to be Microsoft will be, it is still thought—imagination, big thinking and vision—that creates the foundation for greatness.
We should not only teach our children to dream big, but allow ourselves to do so as well.