I woke up this morning overwhelmed. Work, grad school, the puppy, everything seemed to be grabbing a piece of my daily 24 hours and it was looking bleak as to whether I’d even get a minute to be free from life’s responsibilities. I tried to concentrate on just completing one task at a time, to take it in small bites, but every time I thought of one “to-do” I would think of the thirty, forty, fifty more that I had to do. And that was all before noon. Mentally and physically I was worn from a week, a month, even a year of fully scheduled days with minutes perfectly rationed across numerous tasks as that was the only way I could complete everything I had or wanted to do. It felt like a steady, strong current of action items and tasks slowly pushing me, controlling me through my day.
That’s when I decided I had to take a walk. Had to break away just for a minute, enjoy the rare nice February day in DC (relatively speaking as it was still upper 50s). I brought my iPod so I could have music help tune out the task list and when I turned it on and switch it to shuffle, the first song I heard was “What I’ve Done” by Linkin Park. What’s so special about that song? Well, it’s only the theme song for the first Transformers remake that came out in 2007. And that makes it more special why? Because back in the summer of 2007 when my younger brother and I decided to go watch that Transformers movie (we were diehard fans as kids), we left the movie theater that night dreaming big. Not dreaming of giant alien robots, but dreaming of possibilities. Possibilities for what we could make of our lives. This movie that brought to life our childhood cartoon somehow inspired us to dream again like we used to as boys. That we, as brothers, could accomplish something great together. Maybe first it could be writing and producing a movie as grand and intricate as Transformers. After that maybe owning and running the Yankees. Anything was in reach.
What’s the moral or point of this whole story? Well, I believe it hits upon something that is often lost amidst our daily struggle through life’s to-do list and our constant pursuit of some arbitrarily calculated career “path.” We forget to dream. As kids, we couldn’t stop dreaming big. We’d draw pictures of wild outdoor adventures, we’d write stories about incredible athletic accomplishments and we’d sit in cardboard boxes envisioning elaborate space missions. Our parents probably got tired of our dreaming. And then, somewhere along the line, as we grew older, matured, got a degree and job, we lost this ability. We got so eager to get to the next stage of life, to “figure out” exactly what we wanted to do that we started to replace those moments of dreaming with more “practical” and “valuable” things like completing deliverables, managing finances or even studying for exams (although these things are important in their own right).
We made sure that we got every next step exactly right and exactly where we planned it should go, but we had no idea where we were walking. We forget to spend a little bit of time delving into the unlikely or impractical or near impossible and hoping, believing that we can beat the odds. In fact, we don’t just forget to dream new dreams; we even forget what our old dreams were or felt like. We would get to a day just like what I had today.
And those days are exactly when we need to remember the moments when we did dream of the crazy possibilities for our lives. We need those memories to inspire us to begin dreaming again about the future and the potential for us to accomplish our greatest of goals. To focus us on the bigger picture and remind us that any time can be the right time to go after the improbable or unlikely. To give us the energy, The Drive, to be the person we always dreamed (and knew) we could be.
All this came back to me as I listened to the song. All of it came back and gave me motivation. It inspired me to dream again about the possibilities that lie ahead without getting tangled up in the task list of the current. What I had to complete today, tomorrow or even in a few week could only be a small part or even a just a side part of a larger story that I could write for the future. I could still steer the ship through the now, but I had to make sure to keep focus on the horizon and dare to dream about what might await beyond it. With that, I once again felt The Drive to continue both my execution today as well as my pursuit of dream for tomorrow (general manager for a sports organization here I come).
Here’s to hoping you find some time today to remember to dream again about the possibilities (not the probabilities) for your life. For me, I’ll just put the music back on…
Want more motivation? Here’s yesterday’s Daily Driver.
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