Note To Self: Don’t Be A Dream Killer

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Every individual dreams of achieving something in life, yet only a few can actually fulfill this desire and others just leave it half way through thinking that is not worth the effort. So what is it that you need to achieve your dream?

Confession: I absolutely adore marinas and I am very lucky to be surrounded by them in South Florida and the Caribbean. Of course this means a regatta or boat show is always nearby. Last year around this time I attended the wonderfully frenetic Ft. Lauderdale Boat Show, browsing around mini boats and mega yachts. Since I could be a generally sociable person, I struck up a few conversations with like-minded strangers.

One young man in particular stood out due to his absolute enthusiasm and amicability. As I chatted with him, it became clearer that he was on the up-and-up in his Public Relations profession, ready to step into a more middle management position, and feeling great about it! I was truly happy for him, and the air was filled with hope! That is until he said to me – “I am going to put all my efforts into buying that boat right there!” It was a mid-sized yacht, and I don’t remember the brand, but I do remember what I immediately said next, and the look on his face that accompanied my ruthless pragmatism. I looked him dead in the eye and told him “yes, yes my dear, that is great but why would you want to kill yourself to buy an immediately depreciated asset that is hard as hell to sell on the market, when you can charter it anywhere, anytime?” He looked at me as if I took a scalding hot dagger and pierced his brimming heart multiple times. And I thought to myself “gad, I have become Cruella Deville.”

The Time I Almost Became A Dream Killer

Now, the ‘advice’ that I gave him is actually superlative for someone who does not have hopes and dreams pinned on a boat. If anyone wants mainly the experience of sailing on a yacht, then chartering really is the way to go. This young man did not only want a sailing experience. This yacht was his reason WHY. The reason why he would toil crazy hours at work, get the professional education needed to be promoted, delve into investing clubs for ample returns to one day buy this yacht. And my Emotional Intelligence was way too low at the time to see that. I had to use all the elementary school teacher care and charisma in the world to turn things around – “but if this is your dream my dear, yes, you GO for it!” I almost became a dream killer.

Not all our ‘whys’ are the same, and so our reasons for dreams cannot be judged one over the other. I have always been drawn to philanthropy, so having the time and resources to give to charitable organizations have been a part of my ‘why.’ However, being philanthropic is no more a noble dream than having a huge mansion overlooking Lourdes, with a wonderful Bugatti Veyron in the garage. I know, many beg to differ. Even I in my activist teenage years would oppose. Here’s the thing – a dream is a vision, and visions need anchors. My mentor, a very wise Venture Capitalist, always says to me “you can’t hit a target that you didn’t hang.” We all need that tangible, material target to hang our dream, our goals and aspirations on. So whether the ultimate dream is tied onto building that school in rural Iran, or sailing the seven seas on the St. Princess Olga, dedication to the dream equalizes the dream itself.

All You Need Is A Burning Desire

You see my dear Colleagues, the intention of the journey towards the ultimate dream counts the most! Great intentions followed by planned and executed action can create wonders along the way to the dream. To get to that future value of a mansion, an individual may develop so many great ideas into business opportunities, may train so many associates and employees to execute these business opportunities and in turn make themselves value! Many different ideas, products, lines of communication can be created simply because one individual had a tangible target, with fantastic intention. The eagerness, enthusiasm and intention of such a successful individual will create so much more lasting value to society than that one mansion may ever be worth. I believe with all my heart that this is the true, meaningful tenet of capitalism. And when someone has a burning desire to attain the ultimate dream, whatever its nature, the challenges and struggles that come go along with the dream are worth it.

So, while it is important to be pragmatic in life, to have concrete plans and goals, it is also important to have that dream to fuel your enthusiasm and zest for life. And dreams do come true. It may be possible that our young friend may be able to buy a mid-sized yacht and charter it out himself, turning his dream into even more business. Or that he simply sails to the Bahamas on weekends with his beloved wife and family, true signs of the fruits of his labor. As for me, I would love to have that school built in the St. Princess Olga, and travel around the globe docking for students everywhere


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Photo credit: RyanHickoxPhotography via / CC BY-SA