It’s amazing how serendipity happens sometimes. I’ve been thinking of things to write for today, and couldn’t come up with anything that sounded good to me. A lot has been happening, my understanding of things have cleared in a lot of ways, but not enough in some areas for me to write about it. Let me tell you, as a writer, I hate when that happens!
I decided to do my morning ritual (when I can, sometimes I’m too busy, then morning ritual becomes evening ritual, or next day ritual) of reading blogs and twitter and email. One of the things I found in a twitter update started me thinking. The Power of Dreams is an eight minute video from Honda, and of course it’s about Honda products, but it’s also about working through failure. It’s about letting your dream drive you to greater things (pun not intended).
All the demands from Soichiro Honda were to take risks and fail. The idea is you can fail 100 times as long as you succeed once. “Trial and Error” sums up Soichiro Honda’s ideas. We can only make fantastic advances in technology through many failures. I think that’s what he wanted to say.
Takeo Fukui, President and CEO, Honda Motor Co., LTD. (Global Honda)
They end the video with a quote attributed to Thomas Edison, talking about inventing the electric light bulb: “I never failed. It just didn’t work 10,000 times.”
Then I went and read Pie in the Sky, and Dave Hingsburger was also writing about dreams in Moment By Moment.
Roll play: woman says to staff ‘this is my dream’ staff says ‘I don’t believe in you, you can’t do it.’ 50 people with disabilities surround the two with the low chant ‘Believe in yourself, believe in yourself, believe in yourself’. It seems almost a magical and mystical moment. I hear such gentleness in their tone, I feel the meaning they put into the words, I know the faith they have in the gesture. More, I see the one in the roll play close her eyes and let the words of reassurance and faith rain down on her, she is not now in a roll play, she is now getting what she needs.
I’ve been spending a lot of time thinking about my dreams lately. I found that, a long time ago, I put my dreams into a locked glass cabinet, in a locked room. I was told so often that I wouldn’t ever become anything, or make anything of myself, I believed it. Why try to succeed, indeed, why have any dreams at all, if you are only going to fail at everything you ever attempt, if you are a failure just for being alive? Right?
So I locked my dreams away safely; from myself and from anybody who might ever try and stop me from reaching my dreams. Every so often I’d go and look at my dreams. I’d turn on the light in the cabinet, and the dreams would glitter and sparkle, like fine leaded swarvoski crystal. The sparkle would reflect in the tears I wouldn’t allow myself to shed, and I’d turn the light back off, and close myself off from them, from their allure, from their promise of eventual success (after a bunch of failure).
I kept my dreams so safe, I kept them safe from me as well. I wouldn’t risk touching them, after all, I was a failure, so anything I touched was doomed to failure, including my dreams. Even my dreams.
The past few months, a lot has been changing in my emotions, in the way I’m looking at everything. All of a sudden, the groundwork I’ve been laying for the past two years in therapy has finally kicked in. I’m having revelation after revelation after revelation. I knew if I kept pounding at it long enough, the breakthrough would happen, and it has. It is still happening.
One of the ways this breakthrough is manifesting is that I’ve gone into my dream room, and I’ve turned on the light in the cabinet. I’ve seen that my dreams, while they still sparkle, are covered with dust, and so I’ve unlocked the cabinet, and taken them out of their safe place. I’ve dusted them off. I’ve looked at them, to see which ones have already been accomplished (yes, even though I wasn’t trying, and never acknowledged I’d done it, I managed to acheive some of my dreams already), and which ones no longer serve me.
After retiring, with honors, the previous dreams, I still have a lot of dreams. Some of my dreams are pretty risky. I’m going to have to learn new skills. I’m going to have to learn to network, to speak up, to stop putting myself down all the time. I’m going to have to learn how to accurately evaluate my own stuff, and if I can’t learn that, I’m going to have to learn to trust other people when they tell me my stuff is good. I’m going to have to develop relationships with people I respect to give me an honest answer when I ask what they think of my stuff. And most of all, I’m going to have to learn to trust myself, and my ability to do my stuff.
That last is the hardest and riskiest of all the new skills I need to learn.
In the movie Meet the Robinsons, Lewis (the hero who’s traveled to the future) learns that his arch-nemesis — Bowler Hat Guy — is his roommate from the present. Lewis single minded focus on making his inventions would keep Goob up during the night, every night. During the big baseball game, Goob could have caught an easy fly ball out, but didn’t because he was asleep standing up. Instead of the fame and fortune he would have had for catching the ball, he got beat up by his team mates and let that failure eat at him for his entire life.
Lewis: Look, I’m sorry your life turned out so bad. But don’t blame me you messed it up yourself. You just focused on the bad stuff when all you had to do was… let go of the past and keep moving forward…
Bowler Hat Guy: Hmm, let’s see… take responsibility for my own life or blame you? Dingdingdingdingding! Blame you wins hands down!
It’s not as easy to get over a traumatic past as that (I’ve been actively working on it for 19 years now!), but that little snippet does have some value.
I’m not a failure just because I was born. And yes, I can focus on all the bad stuff in my past, and keep believing the message that I’m not good enough, that I’m a failure, and leave those dreams locked safely in their lighted cabinet. Or, I can work on seeing myself as I really am, keep moving forward through all the failures and setbacks, and take those dreams out, dust them off, and see what they — and I –are made of.
To be here today, looking at and starting to pursue my dreams, is actually something 2 years ago I would have said was impossible. Since I’ve successfully completed one impossible dream, I’m sure I can make some of the other impossible dreams come true for myself as well.