Personal Growth - Make your dreams work
by Anthony Goel
Many of us confuse dreams with a succession of images or thoughts that pass through the mind as we sleep. However, dreams also denote aspirations or goals that we have. Victor Hugo, the French poet and playwright, said, “There is nothing like a dream to create the future.” It can be argued as to whether dreams represent the building blocks of achievements. However, there can be no doubt that many famous personalities attribute the origin of their achievements to the dreams of their childhood.
The eighteenth century in India symbolised a period of chaos and anarchy. The Mughal Empire had shrunk to a few kilometres around Delhi; local warlords and various European powers of the time struggled for supremacy. In 1765, a 15-year-old dancing girl married a French adventurer – Walter Reinhardt, and looked after her husband’s jagir till 1778 when he died. Until her death in 1838, she administered the jagir and ruled as Begum Sumru of Sardhana (a place near Meerut). The Begum ruled over Sardhana – about 63 miles away from Delhi , and performed her duties well. Fearless in battle, she fought at the head of her troops and also crushed a rebellion that made the Mughal Emperor Shah Alam indebted to her. Almost inconceivably, the dancing girl became not just the wife of a commander, but a queen as well!
Her Cinderella-like rise from obscurity to ruling a principality inspires awe. In addition to her capability and her confidence, her humble background helped her in understanding the needs of her subjects. She preserved peace throughout her dominion and encouraged trade and agriculture. Her jagir yielded an annual revenue of ten lakh rupees at that time!
The Begum’s story provides us with an example of what can be achieved if we set our mind towards the goal. As a girl, she too would have yearned for a lifetime of security and peace. The difference is she did not stop at dreaming but also followed whatever opportunities life presented her with, and became the queen of a principality.
You may have heard of the story of the farmer’s son and the eaglet in your childhood. In the story, the boy finds an eagle’s egg and brings it home and places it under a hen. When the egg hatches, the eaglet and the chicks live along together. One day, the eaglet sees an eagle soaring in the sky and watches its smooth soaring flight with envy. It flaps its wings and flies just a few paces, before landing heavily on the earth. Eventually, it gives up flying until the farmer’s son visits it again.
The farmer’s son assures the eaglet that it can fly, and taking it to the top of a cliff, he throws the eaglet down. As the eaglet descends frightened, it flaps its wings hard in order to break the fall. Slowly, the eaglet realises that the more it flaps its wings, the higher it can fly until the farm and the hen coop represent mere dots on the earth. This story signifies the importance of self-belief and confidence.
We too, behave like the eaglet on most occasions. Since it is easier to follow norms and conventions, we refuse to highlight our individuality and allow ourselves to become followers rather than the leaders that we can be. The same stands true for our offspring. We would know of many children or teenagers (including our own) who have been blessed in abundance with a unique set of talents. Yet how many of us provide them with the assurance that the farmer’s son gave to the eaglet? Why do we suppress the creative instinct of these children by asking them to follow the oft-walked route of so many doctors, engineers and the like?
Talent needs to be nurtured and cherished. In the long run, the child whose dreams and talents have been suppressed will grow into a frustrated person who longs to soar in the sky like the eagle, but whose wings have been clipped. When we care so deeply for our children, why should we restrain them from following their dreams? Their dreams do not just belong to them; they belong to us also. Then why can we not understand our children and allow them to blossom?
In today's highly competitive environment, talents and special aptitudes acquire significance. While most would rush towards conventional jobs, individuals having a special aptitude provide a cutting edge and an advantage over the other candidates. For example, in a job for a fashion designer, there would be many candidates having the requisite qualifications and experience, but if your child has a knack for painting and understands how colours blend together, this skill could improve the chances of selection. To add to this, think of your pride and happiness as parents when you see your child enjoying work as compared to many others who struggle to find their true calling while having a job.
As parents, you need to understand the needs and special skills your child possesses. Once you know this, you can harness this potential at an early age by finding the right teachers and guides while the child receives primary education. Over time, you could even use this skill as an incentive for getting your child to complete his homework or a project at school. Over time, your child could even kickstart a career that utilises the inherent talent within the child. After that, you can see your child flourish while contemporaries remain entrapped within the hen coop. It takes courage to dream and to be different from others. Not too long back, we could afford to have fairly conventional choices as career options and balance our hobbies with our working lives.
In today’s world, specialisation has an underlined value. But all this can only come about if you have the confidence to be different from the rest and to follow your dreams. In the words of the famous American humanitarian Harriet Tubman: “Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.” A place of incredible beauty, serenity and splendour, Sardhana reminds us of the brave queen who provided stability and peace to her people during times of anarchy. It reminds us that we too can embark on our journeys of self-realisation, if only we listen to our hearts and dare to dream of what can be. Winners do not always possess the characteristics of being the fastest or the strongest; they usually succeed by virtue of their confidence and their determination.
Contact: Anthony Goel at +91-9818578920 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Subject: Nice - 9 April 2010
Hi Ive read your article and have found it very inspiring. Thanks for such a nice read. Prachi
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