To achieve bigger things in life, you have to think bigger.
The most powerful thing a person can have, is his dream, no one can take that away from you. Look at human history; I think as yet we have done a pretty terrible job at setting our limits. How many ships couldn’t sail just because for centuries people believed that earth was flat. How much progress was impeded just because we believed its not possible to fly or breathe underwater. For centuries, these beliefs stopped human progress until;
- In 1942, two persons named Jacques-Yves Cousteau and Émile Gagnan, designed the first under water breathing apparatus that we know today a scuba. Thanks to them humans are now able to explore parts of the ocean that were never considered possible to see.
- In 1903, Wilbur and Orville Wright made flight with the first aircraft. The Wright brothers invented the first powered airplane enabling humans to fly distances.
Because of the bigger dreams and higher ambitions of these people, the humanity progressed with a quantum leap.
Why it is important to have a Big Dream
Shoot for the stars; if you fall short you will end up on moon.
I couldn’t find the real author of this quote therefore I am not attributing it to anyone. Plus it has been also interpreted as:
“Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.”
Now whatever may be the case, there are two things to learn from these quotes:
If you don’t shoot it’s a 100% miss, so always shoot. What does this mean? Well, always have a dream or a vision. This dream should be your beacon, your direction, your purpose of existence. If you are not anchored by that purpose, chances are you would fall victim to the winds that can blow you away in any direction they want. This world is continuously evolving with endless possibilities, so many things to do and so little time at hand. If you don’t focus your energies on one specific VISION in life, you are at risk of wasting your precious gift that we call LIFE. What could be bigger of a loss than that?
ALWAYS SHOOT BIG
Now since you are going to shoot anyway, shoot as high as possible. What does this mean? Well, why have small dreams, if you are ever going to dream for the things that are considered impossible. Before Martin Luther king no one thought of having equal rights for African American people in USA, It was his dream that paved the way for revolution. Before Allama Iqbal, no one thought it would be possible to have a separate state for Muslims of India; it was his dream that led to the creation of a new country. Before Roger Bannister, no one thought it was possible to run 4 miles under one minute mark.
There are countless other examples of people who turned impossible into possible. There are thousands of dreamers who shaped the course of history and set this world on new course only through their ability to have power visions, they pictured the future as they wanted to see it not how the society dictated to them.
Tiny thinking is fatal
One of my great teacher (may Allah preserve him), once narrated a story to us. He said once a man came to him and said “I have two kids, a daughter and a son.” I used to take them to United States every year during their summer vacations. There lived one of their aunts, so we stayed her house which meant that our lodging was free. This allowed us to travel to many tourist destinations across US. As a result of this touring and visiting many big attractions, my daughter, began to admire USA. She showed her interest in getting admitted in one of the Ivy League universities. Off course she convinced me easily as I knew very well what it meant to get graduated from Ivy League university. It did not only promised a bright future, almost a guaranteed job in US even before completing the degree. But it also meant having high academic and social prestige.
The man continued and said, we came back to Pakistan and my daughter set for herself the goal to acquire US visa so that she could fulfill her dream of studying at the Ivy League school. She studied really hard and got straight A’s in her O Levels and all A’s in A Levels. Then she applied for the admission in US and miraculously she got admission confirmation from multiple Ivy League schools, she also scored well in her TOEFL exam so she was also able to secure some sort of a scholarship program. All in all she was all set to pursue her life-long ambition in the US. We confidently went to the US embassy and applied for the visa. I was personally very confident that she would get the visa comfortably so I had it all planned out in terms of finances and other responsibilities. But there was a surprise in store for us and her visa application was rejected despite of all the efforts and perfect academic score.
After this incident my daughter was dejected but somehow she managed to reapply after six months and again her visa was rejected. Now that was a mental shock for her and she got so depressed that we had to take her to a psychiatrist. She was put on a heavy medication which made her case even worst and she got very hyper so eventually we had to admit her in a psychiatric hospital. The man almost cried when he said, my daughter’s life is destroyed.
Now the big question out of this story is, what went wrong and why did this happen?
My teacher explained very well, he said, the mistake this family made, was to set a limited goal of getting admitted in an Ivy League university. That’s why it is very important to have a very strong vision that is not dependent on time and it’s not derived from current realities and events. Because if adversity will strike, your dream would shatter and then you will lose direction. Only a big and powerful dream can give you motivation and dedication to move forward even if all hope is lost. Instead if this girl would have set for herself a bigger ambition than getting admitted in Ivy League, for example if her goal was to address psychological issues of women in underdeveloped countries like Pakistan. Then even if she failed to get admitted in Ivy League, she could have completed her Master’s and Doctorate degrees from any reputable university in UK, Canada, Australia or Malaysia. It wouldn’t have mattered until she could actually pursue her dream of helping the women in need. Your vision is your anchor in life. If you anchor on weak dreams then you are at severe risk.
Allama Iqbal – Preacher of ‘Out of the box & big Thinking’
In one of his famous poems, the great philosopher of east Dr. Allama Iqbal writes in URDU:
ممکن ہے کہ تو جس کو سمجھتا ہے بہاراں
اوروں کی نگاہوں ميں وہ موسم ہو خزاں کا
ہے سلسلہ احوال کا ہر لحظہ دگرگوں
اے سالک رہ! فکر نہ کر سود و زياں کا
شايد کہ زميں ہے يہ کسی اور جہاں کی
تو جس کو سمجھتا ہے فلک اپنے جہاں کا
The Earth & Sky
1st Verse: It is possible that what you assume to be the spring season? In other’s view point, it is actually an autumn season.
2nd Verse: The current scenario is continuously changing with every passing second. But you are a traveler; don’t worry about loss and gain.
3rd Verse: May be what you consider to be your sky, is actually the floor of another world.
Allama Iqbal was a preacher of greatness and throughout his poetry he aspired youth to always think out of the box and attain highest potential in life. He urged to seek for bigger dreams and unearth hidden possibilities. There are always more grounds to break, more skies ahead. He wanted the young guns of the nation to become masters of the masters, and be the trailblazers who could see beyond the apparent and obvious. Only then you could unearth new dimensions and possibilities, only then you could conquer the grounds where no one has tread before.
So the crux of the matter is to dream big, no matter how stupid it may sound to people around you. One of my teachers used to tell us, your visions and your ambitions should be such that when you try to explain them to your family and friends, they would laugh at you and say, Are You Crazy?
This reminds me of one famous Steve Jobs quote:
“the people who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world, are the ones who do.”
PS: This article is also available on the audio podcast. Listen to Episode 10 of The Falcons Podcast (in Urdu / Hindi) here