Follow Your Dreams

- July 10, 2016 -

"Dreams don’t come true without a lot of hard work and failure.”  That was one of the opening statements in the movie we saw on Wednesday, Walt Before Mickey.  This movie was based on a book about Walt Disney and highlighted the struggles he went through to become a successful animator.  As a young boy, Walt would draw characters on his father’s barn, which got him in a lot of trouble.  But the real struggles didn’t start until he was out on his own trying to earn a living.

It became clear very quickly that Walt Disney was one of the best animators in the business.  But getting jobs wasn’t so easy and he ended up not having enough money to pay his rent or to pay the people who worked with and for him.  He lost employees.  He lost his business and he ended up broke and without a home before he achieving success.

I watched this movie and wondered about the relationship between hitting bottom and rising to success. There are a lot of people who have done it, Disney, Oprah, Neale Donald Walsch, and J.K. Rowling, just to name a few.  As Abe Lincoln said, “That some achieve great success is proof to all that others can achieve it as well.”  So, why do some of us fall on hard times and never get up again and others rise to amazing success?

It seems to me that it has to do with one’s view of the world, and one’s view of success and failure.  Successful people like Michael Jordon have a view of life that helps them get up after a fall.  Michael said, “Failure always made me try harder next time.”  Something helped him to see the challenges of life as opportunities or stepping stones to getting to his goals. 

We talked a little bit about each of the 5 principles last week.  In particular I want to remind you that “We create shape and attract our experiences through the activity of our  consciousness.”   The thoughts, beliefs and feelings we hold are the lenses through which we see life and for the life experiences we go through.  So, if we see challenges as something we can’t overcome, we will never overcome our challenges.  But if we understand that everything in life is here to bring out the best in us, that is what will happen.  That is the attitude that we will carry with us into every situation.

I think that there are generations of people who have not been given this chance to overcome challenges and build the resilience to rise above them.  They become like birds with a broken wing.  When Jovan was little, there seemed to be a rise in what a friend of mine calls helicopter parenting.  These parents hover around their children and protect them from any danger, perceived danger or challenge that comes their way and the child never has a chance to test his or her wings.  The child never gains the inner strength to soar.

I read an article some time ago that said a winning elementary sports team was stripped of its win because each child wasn’t given equal playing time.  Equal playing time was a requirement in their rule book.  So, the other team complained that they had lost because the winning team gave their best players more playing time.  This doesn’t sound like it inspires a motivation to success, which to me is one of the benefits to playing sports.  They don’t learn to work towards getting what they want.   

A study based on The Psychological Resilience Questionnaire shows that families that talk about issues and concerns are more likely to raise children with the ability to work through and solve problems than families that don’t talk.  And the children who learn to talk about issues have a greater sense of hope.  So, seeing a positive outcome and developing resilience can be learned and it’s never too late to learn. We can all develop the attitude and consciousness that leads to rising from whatever condition we’re in to a life of greater success.

One of the attitudes for us to develop in our pursuit of excellence is that of discontent being divinely inspired. In the yearlong study guide “_____,” it says “Discontent is the soul’s first desire to know itself.  It is evidence that a greater good is knocking at life’s door.”  Some people will stay in jobs or relationships or other situations that they aren’t content with because it’s what they know.  They would rather be bored and unhappy than to take the steps to change.  But what if they saw their boredom as divine discontent, as inspiration from the soul to seek something greater?  Just as every desire is inspiration from Spirit, being discontent is as well.  It’s a desire for more.  It says, “You are destined for greater things.”  Ignoring discontent gives us permission to be mediocre rather than to strive to be the best we can be.

When we strive for excellence with the understanding that discontent is divine inspiration, we pull ourselves up out of the ashes of life and move towards a greater vision.  We look beyond the current circumstances and concerns to the possibilities.  From this attitude towards life we begin to create neuropathways in the brain that lead us to even greater success.  The more we use these pathways, the easier they are to use.  So, as I’ve always said, “Practice today and you’ll be better tomorrow” and that’s because tomorrow you will have paved the mental road to success when before it was just a dirt trail.

This is what Walt Disney learned through the years of destitution.  Oprah, Neale Donald Walsch, J.K. Rowling all learned to see life beyond the present conditions to the possibilities.  They were able to push past the doubts and fears and contrary opinions and hold onto their vision of what could be. 

Dreams don’t come true without a lot of hard work and failure.  But when we see failure as evidence that something greater knocking at our door, we are more likely to get up and answer. Failure and divine discontent can lead us to change and to success when we see them for their true purpose.