I was filling up propane for BBQ season, yes some of you Americans will call it grilling, and the lady whom I paid laughed at my shirt. At first I thought it was because it’s got more than a few visible holes in it, but that wasn’t it. She made a mistake as she read it, and it made her snort in derisive laughter.

My shirt was an older one from WP101 and it says “Never Stop Learning”. The cashier thought it said “Never Stop Dreaming” and her response was:

When you get to my age, you gave up dreaming long ago.

In Didn’t See it Coming, Carey Nieuwhof, says that cynicism and hope are totally opposed.

Cynicism is so cruel. When I was at my most cynical, the thing that died within me was hope—hope that the future would be better than the past, hope that the next time could be different, hope that my heart would feel again.

My heart breaks when I hear comments like I got at the gas station. I mumbled something about hoping that I never gave up dreaming, to which I got more laughter, and then went home to deliver hot dogs and hamburgers to ravenous children.

Learning and Dreaming

One of the other key points that Nieuwhof makes is that curiosity and dreaming go hand in hand. So in a way my shirt from WP101 does say never stop dreaming because if you never stop being curious and learning, you’re inoculating yourself against the death of your dreams.

What I wish I had asked her that day:

  • How many books have you read recently?
  • How many of those were not fiction and were for self improvement?
  • What are three totally new things you’ve tried this year?
  • What types of TV shows are you watching?

I have a feeling that there were few books read. None were for self-improvement. There were few new things tried and TV was of the entertainment brain dead type.

Instead I pose those questions to you. What books and what types of books are you reading? I’m by no means implying that reading only fiction doesn’t count, but maybe read a bit more than the latest romance or shoot-em-up novel that’s popular.

What new things have you tried this year? I’m continuing my work on making cakes for my kids and I’m not worried about being some Instagram expert. It’s simply done for my enjoyment and so that my kids remember that dad always made them cakes.

Are you watching TV regularly? What types of shows are you watching? Again, I’m not implying that watching your favourite zombie show or comedy is bad, but is it the best use of your time every night? What if you took 2 nights a week and made a different decision with your time? What change would that make in a year?

We regularly overestimate the things we can do in a day, and vastly underestimate the changes that accumulate in a year. Little steps every day will bring you closer to where you want to be.

I hope that I never get to the point where dreams die. I hope I stay curious and never stop learning to help that happen.

I hope you’ll join me.

Photo by: brickbroadcasting

One response to “It’s sad when the ability to dream dies”

  1. John Locke Avatar

    I can speak to this a bit. People lose hope because they don’t see the way out. They think whatever they are currently doing is the best way to survive. I know this, because this was me working at a management job where my bosses were continually trying to fire me, because office politics.

    This is a phenomenon I have witnessed in people I know as well. There are valleys in life, where you feel this is as good as it is going to get. You don’t know how things can change. Even looking for the door is something that you have to “wake up” to see.

    I can honestly say that the small successes I have right now started as seeds of me wanting a better life almost ten years ago. My dreams were very modest back then. I did not realize that I could dream bigger.

    Time will tell whether I achieve my current goals or not. But, I will not deviate from my path until I achieve them.

    As an American poet once said, “Get rich or die trying”. Meet you on the other side.