Dreaming Big

As a teacher, one of the things I try and instill in my students is dreaming big and setting goals. I read a quote once that said, “If your dream doesn’t scare you, it isn’t big enough.” Now, I think this is one of the most powerful things I have ever heard. When I set out to get published, it was somewhat scary. The thought that there would be failures along the way, that people would reject my work, or that I might not reach my audience all terrified me. But I am still pursuing my goal even though there are aspects of it that scare me. 

So one of the skills I teach my students is goal setting. I think setting goals is absolutely key, and a lot of my students have no idea how to set a goal. I tell my students a goal is a dream with a end point. So you dream up what it is you want to accomplish, and you set a time you want to accomplish it. With my class, we have a obvious deadline, and we call it summer break. So one activity I love doing in my classes is setting goals. Sometimes we do this at the beginning of the year, and we set end of the school year goals. Like I want to get an A in math by the end of the year. Or I want to make the basketball team this year. However, for adults we don’t always run that way. So I would say set a goal and give yourself a “deadline” on it. (I’m not saying set New Year’s Resolutions, those are never kept.) But I would encourage you to set a goal and a window of time to do it.

And write it down. In my class we make a list of goals we want to accomplish. I think writing them down makes them so much more real.I believe you make that dream more tangible by writing it down. I think you breathe life into it by actually putting it on paper and saying there it is. So I would encourage all of you to make a goal and write it down.

Now is dreaming big easy? No, it isn’t. And one of the aspects that I have to constantly keep in mind is realism. However, with my students that isn’t the case. They aren’t hindered by what is considered realistic. I have students that believe they are going to be presidents, astronauts, or actors. So why are we so ensnared by realism. I think we need to stop thinking that things aren’t realistic. 

For adults though, you need to remain grounded. It would be irresponsible for me to up an tell my wife I want to go off and become a professional soccer player. Then quit my job, move to a town with a soccer team, and try and make the team. So, make sure they are dreams that don’t hurt anyone. So, if you have a dream, I would say share it. Now, don’t share it with everyone. That will just leave you putting yourself out there in a position to get hurt. But I think it is important to have a small circle of friends, family, and mentors that you really trust. They will be the ones you share your dreams with. They will help encourage, edify, and love you in your dreams. However, they will also help you measure what is possible without getting yourself into the dangerous delusional territory. 

So that kind of sounds counter to what I said previously. Don’t be hindered by realism, but stay grounded. Now I do think it is important to stay grounded, but not to say to yourself, I can’t do this amazing thing because it isn’t realistic. I am one of those people that is super down the middle of the road. I don’t sway to far one way or the other on many subjects. I think balance is key. So, all that to say is dream big, but be careful that your aren’t being dangerous or delusional. Keep your head in the clouds, but your feet on the ground. Right?

The last thing I want to address is failure. We often want to give up on a dream the second we meet with resistance. But so many of the greatest inventors, thinkers, and leaders were met with so much failure. Edison, J.K. Rowling, Einstein. All of them met with failures on their way to achieve amazing things in the lives. I always tell my students,  you only fail when you give up on your dream or goal. In my school, we have something of a “no-fail” policy. So if the students received a  bad mark, they can work at it to receive a better grade. Now, it makes so much more work, especially for me, the teacher, but when that student received a good grade after they put in extra time, it makes the whole endeavor worth it.

Well, I hope that was encouraging to you. I know dream are what keep us going in a lot of respects. I know my dreams are what give me the desire to get out of bed and accomplish great things. Please comment below and share some of your dreams. I would love to hear from you.

Thank you,

L.Danny Valencia