Sunday, 13 May 2012

"A dream doesn't become reality through magic; it takes sweat, determination and hard work." Colin Powell

I have this friend, who is an astoundingly driven person. She runs religiously every day after school, she is an awesome public speaker and she pours so much effort into everything she does. My friend is an inspiration.

So I was surprised a few months ago when I realised that over the few preceding weeks I had been subconsciously distancing myself from her. I had been mentally finding fault with little things she did, acting cooler towards her, and finding excuses not to be around her. I hadn't actively bitched about her or been mean or anything, and in fact I had hardly noticed the few little things I did. But the fact remained that I had suddenly tired of my wonderful friend, who has never shown me anything other than care and kindness.

I couldn't understand why. She hadn't done anything wrong, she had been her usual amazing self all along. It puzzled me for ages, trying to solve the mystery of why I didn't like her as much as I used to. However, when I read this article, everything clicked into place: 

My friend had disproved "The Dream".

You all know what "The Dream" is, right? All those advertisements and articles that claim they can instantly transform you into a better, more beautiful person, with no work on your part. The banners that come up along websites saying "Lose 50 lbs in 5 weeks!" or something equally misleading. The scary fact is that, unknowingly, most of us contribute to the dream.

Picture from
Don't believe me? Think about it. Have you ever told a classmate that you hadn't studied for a test, when in fact you had spent the whole weekend doing nothing but? Have you ever spent ages counting calories and working out, only to tell an admiring friend that the weight had just "dropped off"? For some reason, we refuse to shatter the myth that everything we achieve is effortless, easy. Perfection is simple, we tell each other. The dream gives us hope, but it also holds us back. Too often, we buy into it, and don't work towards our goals. Sadly, my friends, that attitude delivers a big fat nothing.

My friend never makes a secret of the effort she puts into her tasks. She doesn't boast about how hard she works, but all the same, we constantly see her doggedly going about achieving the goals she sets for herself. "Good things come to those who wait, but better things come to those who work for it", that's her mantra. And that's what made me resent her.

Why do we feel we need the dream? Why did I grudge the one person who gently pointed out the truth?  To make things happen, you need to Make Things Happen. You need to do some good, solid, hard work. I patched things up with my friend, and now it's time for us all to wake up. Forget instant gratification. Forget miracle cures.

Forget the dream.

(Here's an inspiring example of the wonders achieved by hard work. Watch it, then begin yourself!)

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