If your dreams don’t scare you they’re not big enough.
The quote is my fave. It dares us to dream. It forces us to think, spread our wings and leap. I tell it to others. I use itto buoy myself. I use it to calm myself when the world is large and frightening and I feel small. I first saw it on Pinterest.
Middle Chicken is the receiver of many a lecture on dream pursuance and thus handed me a small package at Christmas. Inside, a journal, “Do One Thing Every Day That Scares You.” Touché, little one. Touché.
The little book is simple enough. On each page is a quote about stretching, growing, learning, plan devising and how to overcome, accomplish, attempt, grow, accept, reject and dare to dream. At the bottom of each page is how you did that today. Fill in the blank. Kick ass. Repeat tomorrow.
“The chief danger in life is that you may take too many precautions.”—Alfred Adler. At the bottom of the page: “I abandoned these precautions today…” and space for you to fill in what precautions you tossed out the window bringing you closer to a dream that scares the hell out of you.
“Those who say it can’t be done are usually interrupting others doing it.”—James Baldwin. And then: What I Did…fill in the blank. And Whom I Interrupted…fill in that blank as well.
Love the gift. Love that my chickens throw my own words back in my face. It occurs to me, however, that nothing is invented on Pinterest. So where did the favorite quote originate? Imagine my surprise. It’s only the first elected female president of Liberia, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.
It’s one sentence of many she spoke to Harvard grads. Those guys get all the good speakers don’t they? When are they going to learn, like the rest of us did in kindergarten, to share? In the 2011 speech she also said, “You cannot appreciate success if you do not know failure.” Can I get a halleluiah? That means most of us are well on our way, non?
“There were times when I thought death was near, and times when the burden of standing tall by one’s conviction seemed only to result in failure. But through it all, my experience sends a strong message that failure is just as important as success.” She refers to a prison stint. And you thought you had problems? Anybody try to kill you lately?
“The size of your dreams must always exceed your current capacity to achieve them.” Don’t just encourage others with this—say it to yourself. Raise yourself up. If a woman of a color, in a violent, disease plagued land can accomplish dreams that scare her, why can’t we?
Giving up? Not an option. Been in exile? Been imprisoned? Life threatened daily? Her answer? Get elected president, boost the economy and win a Nobel Peace Prize. But it doesn’t stop. Now her country is enveloped in Ebola; a disease threatening to undo all the accomplishments of the past six years. The country now shows the world an antiquated medical system, impoverished peoples and all that has yet to be accomplished. Ma Ellen, as she is called, has about a year to fix this before her second term is up.
And the difficulty you face today? Scared? Good.