"If you build it, he will come." That line, made legendary by the 1989 film "Field of Dreams," still resonates with a lot of people. I think that's because it says everything about what we instinctively know to be true about pursuing our own dreams. So what stops us?
In the film, Kevin Costner's character, Iowa farmer Ray Kinsella, plows under a perfectly good corn crop in order to build a baseball field for a team of ghostly players. It seems like a pipe dream. It's an endeavor that could easily lead to humiliation. It's also an endeavor not easily understood by others. That is exactly what pursuing most dreams feels like at some point.
The pursuit of our dreams is, at heart, an act of faith. This faith must be fueled by discipline, will, and good personal habits.
When a dream starts to pay off, the unexpected happens. The world shifts around you, unseen passages open, and in many ways, the rules of reality – at least the rules that have defined your reality – change.
The interesting thing is, that payoff starts long before your dream is realized. In fact, the journey toward the dream is often every bit as gratifying as the dream itself. The JOURNEY ITSELF is where our passion and courage get kindled. It's where our vision becomes very clear (even if no one else can see what we see).
It's where we come to discover what we are really made of, the essence of what makes us tick. It is where any self doubt will quickly get exposed. It is also where our integrity, and discipline get a gut check. Too many people start things, quit, and then lay blame to outside factors, or conditions. When you have a dream, never quit, and do not let any negativity drain your effort. Do not allow self-doubt or past life experience play out your future.
When you start to succeed, and really move forward on a dream...guess what? People who doubted you, or gave you a hard time will start to drop in on that dream. Once the hard part is done, they might even decide to participate. Let them. Not everyone can be visionary, and then actually be disciplined enough to go out and do something new, exciting, or challenging. When the work is done, they will magically appear. Teach them. Love them. Help them to grow.
I would argue that having a dream, and the courage to pursue it, is one of the most important foundations for living a good meaningful life. Dreams don't have to be as dramatic as that cornfield in Dyersville, Iowa. What they do need to be is an expression of who you are. Your habits, integrity, and moral authority define the foundation for what you are to become.
Ultimately, dreams must represent the contribution you want to make while you are here, and the impression you want to leave behind when you go. Your dream must be something whose value remains obvious and unassailable for you, even through the experiences of trial and error, even through the various victories and defeats that define every dream's topography. Expect to fail. Expect to climb one mountain after another. Expect to learn. Never quit on a dream.
Dreams ask us to build what doesn't exist. Not just out there in the world, but in here – in our own hearts and minds, in our own perceptions and beliefs of what ought to be. While "If you build it, they will come" has become a popular catch phrase about the faith-filled pursuit of dreams, in many ways,
I think the more interesting fact is this: If you build your dream, what's really guaranteed to show up is you.
Yours in Success,
Peter D. Bouloukos
Originally written on 9-15-09