A few days ago I was playing cars with my oldest son Joshua (at almost two years old he is also my youngest son – so far). He was attempting to drive a car down the ramp of his toy parking garage, which OBVIOUSLY wasn’t going to work…the car was simply too big for the garage. I realized that Joshua hadn’t understood that yet, and so – to save him the effort – I said: “That won’t work, Joshua. The car is too big to go down the ramp!”
About three minutes (and a lot of effort) later, the car DID go down the ramp. Back end first and diagonally on it’s side…but it went down! I instantly started thinking of excuses: “I must have been right – after all, cars are not meant to go down ramps backwards and on their side…That’s just not “the way it’s done””. But I quickly realized my excuse wouldn’t impress my 2-year-old. I had said: “That won’t work”, but it had worked. I stood corrected.
You may relate to this story in any of three ways:
1. Not at all
To be frank: you just don’t care. That’s not a problem. I learned something from it and thought I would share it. If you don’t relate to that and it seems boring to you, you can just stop reading. Right now. No questions asked. No one will ever know!
2. You relate to my son
You immediately felt for my son in the story, because you have been there yourself (or are there right now). You know people who constantly try to tell you: “It won’t work”, “You can’t do it”, “Don’t even bother”. You have dreams, ideas, a passion…but the people around you, maybe even those you care most about, constantly seem to be pulling you from your dreams, rather than encouraging you and cheering you on!
They may be trying to help you, but in reality they are just getting in your way and making life difficult.
3. You relate to me
Although most of you probably related more to my son’s perspective, one or two of you might actually see the story from my side. Like me, you often catch yourself telling others: “It won’t work, you can’t do it. Don’t even bother trying”. Some of you might not even catch yourself doing it, but now that you are reading this you realize it is true…
I know it’s true for me. I just shared a story of how I did it to my own son! I love him and want to help him succeed in life. And yet I catch myself discouraging him and telling him things won’t work…simply because my mind is so fixed on “how things should be done”, “what others will think” and “the time, money and effort it will take”.
Not too long ago, I heard this short story: A man has great dreams and shares them with his friends. But his friends constantly pour jugs of cold water on the dreams, by telling him they won’t work, until one dream after the other dies. Finally, one day, the man dies…
Just think about how much creativity is crushed. Think about how much good is NOT done and how many great ideas are NEVER realized. Think about how many passionate people, full of energy and dreams are restricted and discouraged…because of people like me and comments like the one I used: “That can’t be done!”.
YES IT CAN! Maybe not the way people want it to be done, or the way we are used to it being done… but it can be done.
I don’t want to let people pour jugs of cold water on my dreams.
And I don’t want to be someone who pours jugs of cold water on other people’s dreams!
Live your dreams and encourage others to live theirs!