"There are dreamers and there are realists in this world. You would think the dreamers would find the dreamers and the realists would find the realists but... more often than not, the opposite is true. You see the dreamers need the realists to keep them from soaring too close to the sun. And the realists... well, without the dreamers, they might not ever get off the ground." -- Modern Family
Before you had the chance to read the second sentence of the quote, you probably determined which one you are: the dreamer or the realist. I'm sure there are also a handful of you who will declare a combination of both. You know, the best of both worlds.
It's interesting; it seems the older you become the less you rub shoulders with the dreamers. Over time they become the minority.
Early on in life the opposite holds true. Throughout childhood we are all encouraged to dream. Advised that there are no limits to what we can achieve. Reassured that if we shoot for the moon, we'll land among the stars. Think back to the most common question you were asked as an adolescent, "What do you want to be when you grow up?" The responses were so pure, so genuine.
As you aged, the answer to that same question began to reshape. Not because you no longer wanted to attain those same career aspirations, simply because somewhere down the line you were told they were unrealistic. Thus, you entered a world where decisions are made with your brain rather than your heart, a world in which results are measured in immediate physical evidence rather than the limitless potential of opportunity.
Photo Credit: atlantacriminallawyersblog.com
It's not always easy being the dreamer. You will constantly feel vulnerable to failure and embarrassment. There will always be spectators anticipating the moment you call it quits. Our society has evolved into a community that would rather see one crumble than succeed. The losses may be more public and painful, but the wins are far more rewarding.
The realists, their expectations are far less than the dreamers. They are quick to deny ideas and choose to live between the lines, never exploring what's beyond the horizon. Never pressing the envelope. Always playing it safe. For them success comes regularly but in small doses.
When you are a dreamer, you must establish some form of tunnel vision. There will be doubters along with individuals who take jabs at the wonderful things you are attempting to accomplish. These are the people who have the power to ultimately keep you from fulfilling those dreams. Not because those dreams are unattainable, but because it's easy to allow them to convince you of so. The moment you entertain their negativity is the moment you begin to question yourself.
Are realists the doubters? Not necessarily. They honestly are the reason ideas become tangible. They're capable of focusing on the project at hand while cautiously mapping out the plan to execute. Think of them as the stage crew. They work behind the scenes to make sure everyone is where they are supposed to be. They have thought of every situation and will make sure everyone is fully prepared. Without them, the show could potentially turn into a disaster.
But what most realists don't understand or appreciate is the fact that without the dreamers, there would be no show. The dreamers want to change the world because they truly believe they can. Without the dreamer's attitude that anything is possible, imagine where our world would be. For every innovative idea, there were those who initially laughed them off... until they became reality.
It's difficult not to wonder if the realists wish they could actually be dreamers. Whether they are too afraid of failure or they simply don't have the confidence to stick their neck out. Either way, it's ironic the dreamers are those who wake up excited to make their dreams become reality while the realists wish they could stay in bed and fantasize about their dreams.
There has never been a doubt in my mind which one describes myself. I have a lifelong list of ideas and personal goals with only what seems like a Post-it note full of achievements.
Where I grew up there aren't many dreamers. In rural Southeastern Ohio people don't become professional athletes, pop singers, best-selling authors, or even corporate executives. Parents aren't always the most encouraging, opportunity doesn't often knock on doors, and expectations are minimal. People talk and routinely find your pursuit humorous and hopeless.
But I'm here to tell you firsthand, if you truly believe in what you are pursuing and you're willing to put in the work anything is possible. Obstacles arise to remind you how badly you want to reach your destination.
The dreamers are simply those who never gave up... don't ever give up.