Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. had a dream. The Wright brothers had a dream. Susan Boyle had a dream. What sets these people apart from every other dreamer walking the planet? The answer is obvious. They didn’t just weave “what if” fantasies. They pursued their dreams.
Being one of the leaders of the Civil Rights Movement wasn’t for the fainthearted. It started with a simple word, no. That single word brought Dr. King in contact with a remarkable woman, Rosa Parks. Telling Blacks to give up their seats to white passengers was a common practice in Montgomery, Alabama in 1955. Rosa Parks was tired that day, tired of injustice. She’d paid the bus fare, yet she was told to give up her seat. As a result of her refusal she was arrested. That arrest sparked the Montgomery Bus Boycott, spearheaded by twenty-seven year old Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Eight years later, on a hot August afternoon in Washington DC, Dr. King shared his dream with the world. No, his wasn’t an easy path.
The Wright Brothers, owners of The Wright Brothers Cycle Company, had a dream inspired by a toy helicopter, flight. There were other experimental aircraft. Many people were working toward the same goal. These Indiana boys invented aircraft controls that made fixed wing flight possible. On December 17, 1903 in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina the brothers are credited with the first controlled, powered flight in a heavier-than-air machine, the Wright Flyer I. You would think this event would have been greeted as a crowning achievement. They couldn’t even get the press worked up about it. The path to their dream was littered with numerous legal battles, but they prevailed.
Susan Boyle lived a quiet life. During her birth, she was deprived of oxygen for a short period of time. This resulted in learning difficulties. She was taunted and called “Susie Simple.” Ms. Boyle’s mother had urged her daughter to compete in Britain’s Got Talent, but the shy woman couldn’t work up the nerve to follow her dream of singing.
Susan Boyle’s mother died in 2007. It was a devastating loss. Neighbors say that Susan could go days without answering the telephone or knocks on her door. The forty-eight year old wanted to honor her mother. She auditioned for Britain’s Got Talent. The video of that audition went viral. What impressed me most was the way Ms. Boyle presented herself. Confident. Calm. This was her opportunity and she was going to make the most of it. She knew the judges and audience were mocking her, but she was following her dream. The mockery stopped the moment she sang.
This brings me to you. Have you finished writing a book?
If your answer is yes, then you are following your dream. We are weavers of tales. Unlike the Civil Rights Movement and flight, we don’t risk our lives. We don’t risk public humiliation in front of a live audience. What we do is lay our souls bare with words and invite people into worlds of our creation.
There are thousands of people who dream of chucking their jobs and writing a breakout novel, but most don’t follow through. You’ve done it. You’ve written the book, maybe more than one.
Celebrate your courage. Celebrate your determination. Celebrate your accomplishment. You are a dream chaser, part of an elite group.