A couple of weeks ago I was reading a newspaper article about a career expo for students held in a nearby town. About 400 middle school students attended and were able to talk with representatives from a variety of occupations, ask questions and get a sense of what it was like to work in a lot of different fields. It sounded like a great event. And then I read this sentence:
“One major topic of conversation throughout the day was the need for developing realistic expectations.”
Realistic expectations for middle schoolers? “Listen, I know you’re only twelve, but those dreams you’ve got – throw them out. It’s not gonna happen kid. You’re going to get old just like the rest of us and find that dreaming big is a huge waste of time. Better temper that enthusiasm with realistic expectations.”
It seems to me that the only time our society encourages dreaming big is when we are kids, and now they want to take that away too? What if Michael Phelps had been told at that age that he was good, but better not work too hard, don’t dream about the Olympics, most people don’t make it into the big leagues. It probably won’t be you. What about Miley Cyrus or Barack Obama- or any other person who has created great success through hard work and dedication for that matter?
Nothing like a little career expo to tell you that you’re just like everyone else anyway. Might as well accept your fate and start planning how you are going to decorate your cubicle walls for the next 35 years. People talk about “realistic expectations” when what they really mean is, “there is no way your dreams will come true.” What a sad way to approach life.
I don’t care if you’re 13 or 93. Dream big – dream huge – dream gigantic. Expand your thoughts as wide as they will go. Expect you’ll succeed. Believe that your passion and hard work will take you farther than you can possibly imagine. Take teeny, tiny steps if you have to and every day, move a little bit closer to that gigantic dream. Align your expectations of reality to match your dreams and goals. Embrace the idea that you are the exception, the chosen one, the golden child – because you are; we all are. The only way dreams come true is by believing in them in the first place.