If you can dream it, you can do it. — Walt Disney
Whatever struggles you’re facing in your life today, don’t be afraid to dream big. No matter what calamity or strife has stricken you, what obstacles have been thrown in your way, or how many people have doubted you can ever achieve what you set out to accomplish, dare to dream big. Across the world and through the annals of history, people have dreamt big dreams; they’ve had audacious hearts and unrelenting spirits. They’ve gone out there and pushed and pushed until that dream became a reality, and so can you.
I know what you’re thinking now – you’re asking yourself questions that start with “How,” “When,” and “Where.” You’re saying things like, “How am I ever supposed to achieve my dreams when I’m so far in debt?” or “When will I ever get the opportunity to truly succeed?” and, “Where will I ever find the money, time, or connections to accomplish what I want in life?” We all ask ourselves these types of questions; we have a tendency to doubt our capabilities.
But, Dare to Dream BIG isn’t just a mantra that you should mindlessly chant to yourself; it’s a way of life. When you can dream something and envision it with all of your mind to see, and you pursue that dream with a wild spirit that doesn’t die or waver, you can accomplish anything. There are so many people out there that have dared to dream big and have brought their dreams into reality, but I wanted to shed some light on some of the most notable that have done so.
Notable Dreamers Who Failed at First
There are loads of examples of notable people who’ve dared to dream big but failed at first. These “dreamers” are oftentimes household names – we know them because they’ve reached the pinnacle of success. But it wasn’t always that way for all of these folks. Why is this important? It provides perspective on the struggle that people have to face when they’re chasing their dreams; it’s not always going to be Easy Street for you as well.
So, don’t be afraid to dream big. Don’t be afraid when someone tells you that something can’t be done; it can be done. Don’t cower down due to some underlying fear that’s buried deep within you. Dare to dream big. Chase your dreams. Run your dreams down until they don’t elude you any longer. And, even though no one said that life was going to be easy, through perseverance, over time, it does get easier. But before you reach there, you’ll have to cross the dreaded oceans of struggle in stormy waters.
#1 – Oprah Winfrey
One of the best examples of a person who dared to dream big is Oprah Winfrey. Oprah was fired from one of her first TV jobs because the producer said that she was “unfit for television.” Oprah Winfrey has gone on to become one of the richest women in the world, and it was all because she dared to dream big.
#2 – J.K. Rowling
While working a secretarial job, Rowling, now famous for the Harry Potter series of books, was fired because she was spending more time working on the book at work than she was with her secretarial duties. Rowling spent 7 years toiling away at the book, suffered through the death of her mother, a divorce, and living on government assistance. But she dared to dream big and is now the wealthiest author in the world.
#3 – Walt Disney
Disney was a dreamer from an early age. But, his reality didn’t catch up with his dreams that quickly. Walt Disney was fired from his job as a newspaper editor because “he lacked imagination and had no good ideas.” After leaving that job, Disney formed an animation company in 1921, which ultimately went bankrupt, leaving him unable to pay his rent and reportedly forcing him to survive only on dog food.
#4 – Jerry Seinfeld
One of the most successful comedians of all time learned to dream big. But success didn’t come easy for him. In fact, the first time Seinfeld stepped on stage to do his act he was booed off. But that didn’t deter him. Seinfeld was a dreamer and he kept at it. Even though he failed and was embarrassed and humiliated, he kept at his dreams; he kept them alive in his mind’s eye.
#5 – Colonel Sanders
The founder of KFC, Colonel Sanders, dared to dream big. But it wasn’t until late in his life that he was able to achieve those dreams. The story goes that Sanders, then 65, took to the road after his chicken restaurant was shut down due to a highway impasse project, with a $105 Social Security check and a single chicken recipe to his name. He suffered through 1,009 rejections from restaurants who refused the franchising-model he proposed with his chicken recipe. But it only took one “yes” to eventually make those dreams come true.
#6 – Henry Ford
We all know the name Henry Ford, the founder of the illustrative automotive group, Ford Motor Company. But, we don’t all know the story of this remarkable individual who dared to dream big. You see, Ford’s first company, founded in 1899, went bankrupt. It was later reorganized under a different name, but he ended up walking away due to a dispute with his financial backers. But he didn’t give up. In 1903, his third time was a charm, and it’s now one of the largest and most profitable privately-held companies in the world.
#7 – Elvis Presley
We all know the name of the King of Rock & Roll, but did you know that Elvis Presley was fired after his first gig? He was told that he should go back to driving trucks and that his career as a singer was heading nowhere. Estimated to have sold more than one billion records worldwide, could you imagine what would have happened if he hadn’t dared to dream big?
#8 – Stephen King
One of the most popular authors of all time most certainly dared to dream big. But, his beginnings were no walk in the park. Stephen King’s first novel, Carrie, was rejected 30 separate times by publishers. He worked a part-time job as an English teacher just to make ends meet before he tossed the manuscript in the garbage. But, due to his wife begging and pleading him, King resubmitted the manuscript to Double Day, who later offered him his first book deal.
#9 – Katy Perry
A successful singer who dared to dream big, Perry had a rocky start. She was first signed to the Christian music label, Red Hill Records, and released her debut album in 2001, which only sold an estimated 200 copies. That label later went out of business. Her second attempt, with Island Def Jam, was also a failure, as she was dropped by that label; and, her third attempt with Columbia Records went bust as well. It wasn’t until she went on board with Virgin Records in 2008 did she finally succeed commercially speaking.
#10 – Oliver Stone
One of the most celebrated directors of our time, Oliver Stone, dropped out of Yale to pursue a career in writing. His novel, published in 1998, wasn’t well-received. He subsequently moved to Vietnam to teach English, and later enrolled in the military, winning two Purple Hearts. Stone went on to to write and direct some of the most iconic films of all time, including Platoon and Natural Born Killers.
We all have obstacles in our lives. We all have stumbling blocks that tend to sidetrack us, get us down, deter us, help us to procrastinate and avoid our dreams, and overwhelm us. Most people allow those obstacles to get in the way of their goals; they’re overpowered and their hopes are snuffed out. But you can overcome your obstacles; anyone can overcome their obstacles.
Oftentimes, failure is hard. It’s hard to fail, especially in the face of others. When others see us fail we take it as the biggest blow to our egos. We don’t want to fail; no one wants to. But failure is a part of life; it’s a springboard for achieving anything you want in your life. There will always be negativity. People will try to dismiss you, insult you, and dissuade you from achieving your dreams, but you can’t let it stop you.
In the past, if you allowed obstacles to stop you and you gave up on your goals, just realize that you can start anew any day you want. No matter how many failures or setbacks you had to dredge through, you can still achieve your hopes and your dreams, it just depends on how badly you want it. If you set some goals that you’re looking to accomplish in life, then as long as those goals are meaningful enough to you, then you can do anything. But they have to have a strong enough meaning.
A person who dreams big is an ordinary person. What makes them extraordinary is that they find the courage, heart, and discipline to make that dream come true.
The problem is that we forget that we can do the same. Within each of us is a core of goodness, wisdom, and heart that has been there from the start. Yet as the years go by disappointment and criticism turn into fears, doubts, and anxieties that obscure this essence. Then of course we can't go out in public with our inadequacies hanging out, so we hide them behind our I'm happy, just fine face.
Soon our spirit becomes hidden, and we can forget that it even exists. How to we break out? Well, the good news is that it doesn't take years of therapy or digesting self-help books.
You don't have to understand your pain or your past to break out.
Just dare to dream big and then commit to making it happen and having it matter. Your commitment doesn't care about your self-doubt or that you're too busy -- it hasn't got time for that stuff. It's fully engaged in making your dream come true.
Why dare to dream big?
Because the world needs you to put your gifts to work -- we're in a mess and we need your help. Everything and everybody counts. Plus dreaming big is the fastest track to personal transformation and learning to make the next big dream come true.
Besides we've been wasting a lot of time playing the victim and pointing the finger, myself included. Talking back to the television may give us some satisfaction, but it's not making a darn bit of difference.
On the other hand, there's nothing better than the feeling you get when you achieve something you really didn't think was possible, is there? I'll never forget crossing the finish line of the first London Marathon in 1981; it was as if I'd never really known myself before that moment. If I can do that, I can do anything!
How do you make big dreams come true?
To answer that question I introduce you to four extraordinary women who have just started to row across the Pacific Ocean from San Francisco to Australia. Their big dream is to challenge themselves in order to bring attention to two worthy charities that are changing the lives of women wounded in war or battling breast cancer.
So these rowers are giving themselves a difference kind of physical challenge because they want to help these women in crisis make their big dreams come true.
I met them through U.K. Best Year Yet Coach and Partner Andrew Duncan, who has been guiding the team in making a plan for achieving this dream. On Saturday, April 18 they rowed away from San Francisco to begin their 8,000-mile journey to Australia.
Here are the personal thoughts they shared with me, just three days before they left. Watch for the lessons they are learning about making big dreams come true.
Laura Penhaul, Team leader
I can now see I was naive as to what it would take. I had no idea, of course -- which just might have been a good thing. My approach has been I'll find a way, just take it a step at a time.
If I'd listened to what other people said about how we'd never make it, I would have given up. But I have a stubborn streak, and if someone tells me I can't do something, it motivates me even more. If I really believe in something, I won't let anything get in my way.
When this opportunity came along, I was looking for something bigger than I'd ever done before. At the time I was working full time, but it had become so frustrating because I didn't have enough time to do the things that make me happy. I'm so glad I made the leap to join the team, and although it's taken a huge amount of time, it's the right kind of time.
When I first joined the project the idea that we'd be helping other women was an abstract idea to me. But gradually the size of the project and the difference it's making to these women is sinking in -- as well as the positive impact it's going to have on us.
A few years ago I received my Ph.D. in neuroscience. Then about three years ago I heard about this project. I was nervous, but I felt that if I don't say yes to this, I'll always regret it. It's a lifetime opportunity, and I've always loved that feeling you get when you achieve something you really didn't think was possible.
The team is really supportive of one another; it's become a family. Plus there are so many people behind us. That's what keeps us going.
We all have the power to write our own stories. All along I've made unconventional lifestyle choices, living in many countries, always outside my comfort zone because that's where we grow and learn the most important lessons of our lives.
Why am I doing this? Because I've always been fascinated by the indomitable strength of the human spirit, and I wanted to discover the strength of my own -- which I'll never know until I'm out there on the ocean.
What's your big dream?
What have you already achieved that at first you thought was impossible? Can you see that it's only your negative imaginations keep you frozen in your frustrations?
If an ordinary person like me can dare to dream big and run five marathons in aid of ending world hunger, find the love of my life and maintain the magic for 35 years, write a global bestseller, help start a business that has now touched over a million people, discover the perfect person to lead Best Year Yet into the future, and learn to be a loving and fun mother, grandmother, and friend -- I'm sure you can.
So if you dare to dream big, what would the dream be? I bet you know the answer. I encourage you to stretch as far as you can imagine -- not only will you survive, you will thrive because when you take a stand the world around you lines up with you, just as it has for me.
As you think about your next dream, here's some inspiration to help you along the way.
I'd love to hear about your big dream. Leave a comment below, or write directly to me email@example.com.
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