As a young child, your day dreams knew no limits. You could imagine doing or being virtually anything. Your mind created endless scenarios. The concept of “unrealistic” had no meaning. The dreams you had were big dreams.
With each passing year, you were taught all of the things you couldn’t do. You learned all of the rules and regulations enumerating all of the impermissible behaviors. More and more often, you were told that your dreams were unrealistic. There was invariably always some reason why you couldn’t or shouldn’t do what you wanted.
As a result, you began dismissing your dreams as unrealistic on your own. Your imagination became more limited. All of the big dreams started to shrink. After all, why waste time thinking about things that are obviously impossible?
You also began learning the concept of failure. Not everything you attempted worked as planned. Your failures may have been criticized. Perhaps you were ridiculed. Consequently, you developed a more cautious attitude and became more adverse to risk.
So now your propensity to dream big has been left behind with your childhood. At best, it’s a distant memory if you can even recall it at all. The result is all your dreams are now constrained by so called reality.
But who is it that determines what is realistic? Typically, it’s other people with small dreams. They comprise the cadre of naysayers who always stand ready to throw cold water on your aspirations. Taking a look at history serves as a reminder as to just how misguided these perpetually negative people are.
Let’s begin when primitive people were living in caves. What would have been the reaction if one of the cavemen was so inspired by watching the birds that he dreamed of one day being able to fly? Of course all of the other cave people would have dismissed his fantasy as being unrealistic.
History demonstrates that every invention, discovery, and innovation was the result of someone with big dreams that were resoundingly criticized as unrealistic. Had the dreamers listened to the conventional wisdom and abandoned their pursuits, we would all still be living primitively in caves.
Before Olympic runner Roger Bannister broke the 4 minute mile in 1954, it was a feat widely considered physically impossible. Obviously, if it were achievable, someone, at some time in human history would have already done it.
But Roger had big dreams. It didn’t matter to him that no one had ever been able to run a mile in under 4 minutes. He believed he could. From the dawn of humans until 1954, not one person had been able to run a mile in less than 4 minutes.
Bannister's time was 3 min 59.4 seconds. Was Bannister an exception? Did he possess superhuman abilities? Well, just 46 days after Bannister accomplished the impossible, John Landy broke Bannister’s record with a new record time of 3 minutes and 58 seconds. The current world record time is now 3 minutes and 43.13 seconds which was set in 1999. Today, well over a thousand people have run the mile in less than 4 minutes, an “impossible” feat until 1954.
Obviously, just because something hasn’t been done before has no bearing on whether or not it’s possible. However, the chances are that whatever your big dream is, it has already been accomplished. That proves your dream is realistic.
You want to revert to your big dreams. Don’t worry about anyone else’s opinion. Dreams always precede accomplishments. There are no limitations. Whatever you can conceive, and believe, you can achieve.
NOW AVAILABLE: "Dare to Live Without Limits," the book. Visit www.BryanGolden.com or your bookstore. Bryan is a management consultant, motivational speaker, author, and adjunct professor. E-mail Bryan at
or write him c/o this paper. 2013 Bryan Golden