You probably guessed right. I took the title of today’s post from People Magazine’s Most Beautiful Woman in the World 2014, Lupita Nyong’o. She uttered those words in her powerful and moving acceptance speech when she won the Oscar award for Best Supporting Actress for her portrayal of “Patsey” in the film “12 Years A Slave.”
The latest export to Hollywood from Africa and epitome of black beauty ended her speech with these words:
“When I look down at this golden statue, may it remind me and every little child that no matter where you’re from, your dreams are valid.”
Since the day I first heard those words till this moment, I have been awed by them. The words keep ringing in my head. And so, today as I seek to talk about living our dreams, I deem no other title better than to take it from her words.
We all have dreams, I believe. That thing in the future that we look forward to achieving, to becoming, that’s a dream. And our dreams come in various ways. For some, the dream is on making it to the Forbes billionaires’ list; for others, it is to, someday, head a multinational company; and for some, it is to redefine things by their contributions in research or philanthropy.
The dream we are talking about here is not that which you enjoy to have on your bed or couch while sleeping, it is the one that makes you wake up from your sleep and do something. If you have a dream and it doesn’t push you to start doing anything, it is either a daydream or a nightmare. Dreams push people into action.
While everybody dreams and Lupita said our dreams are valid, the stark truth is that not every dream is realized and not everyone gets to live his/her dream. And that reality scares a lot of people and pushes them to the point of not dreaming. They therefore go through life with little or no expectations because they don’t want to be disappointed. I don’t believe life should be lived that way. There is a better approach. And it is by giving your dream your best shot. Allow me to share few things that I believe are needed to make our dreams valid.
Believe in your dream:
First and foremost, you need to strongly believe in your dreams. The Holy Book says in James 1:6-8 –
“…For he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything… he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.”
As long as you remain doubtful about your dreams, you stay at a point where it is almost impossible to reach your dream.
There is a price to pay:
One of the things that will show how much you believe in your dream and desire to make it real is by the amount of efforts you’re ready to apply to it and the sacrifices you’re ready to make. Precious stones are not found on the surface of the earth, they are hidden under the earth. It takes hard work and perseverance to get them and bring them to the state where we admire them. Miners endure many days of hardship in their bid to mine precious stones. A similar process is what happens to dreams. It takes a whole lot of hard work to bring it to fulfillment. Dreams don’t just happen, people make them happen.
At this point, I am reminded of the evergreen words of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, he said something striking that’s quite apposite for our discourse, he said
“the heights by great men reached and kept were not attained by sudden flight, but they, while their companions slept, were toiling upward in the night.”
To validate our dreams, we must be ready to give extra hours to our pursuit. You may like to read an earlier piece of mine, You must pay the price.
As you go about the pursuit of your dreams, you must also remember that life comes with distractions. To fulfill your dream you must learn to pay less attention to distractions and they come in many forms. Max Lucado said something instructive in this regard, he said
“A man who wants to lead the orchestra must turn his back on the crowd”.
The Yorubas have a similar adage that says “when you go to the market, you don’t mind the noise in the market, you mind your business.” Focus is highly needed in the pursuit of purpose.
In closing, let me say that it is very important that whatever dream we have is in line with the plan of the creator for our lives. Once all these are in place our dreams are validated. I strongly believe what Fela Durotoye says that our background doesn’t have the right to put our back on the ground. It does not matter where you come from or where you are now, as long as you are ready to pursue your dreams, it will become real. Our dreams are valid.
I am @seunalade