| Angie Counios
Paulo Coelho writes in The Alchemist:
“People are afraid to pursue their most important dreams, because they feel that they don’t deserve them, or that they’ll be unable to achieve them.”
A student popped into my classroom to visit at lunch one day last week.
Being part of this city’s culture he has been raised to love football.
He has dreams of playing either CFL or NFL. He’s been talking about this since the first day I met him in Grade 9. He’s in Grade 11 and still thinking about it but it’s not just talk. He’s on the school team and the city league. He travels for training camps. He’s really invested.
Of course, being part of the practical middle class of our city, he's also been raised to have a backup plan.
He has done projects on becoming a paid athlete of the CFL or NFL and everyone tells him that’s just a dream, that he should focus on something more practical. So he often does research on the more practical jobs out there.
Today during our talk he said, “I finished another career assignment. It was on banking and investments. And then I threw it away. You know why? Because I want to play football and I think if I think about my second choice it takes my focus of my first choice. So, I did the assignment again. We’ll see what happens. I may have to redo it.”
And the student becomes the teacher. Did I hear that right?
That kid is more self-aware than most adults I know. He’s 100% right. I think it is a disservice to ourselves to not dig deep and go for the thing we love.
In a commencement address by Jim Carrey at Maharishi University he was quoted to say:
“So many of us choose our path out of fear disguised as practicality. What we really want seems impossibly out of reach and ridiculous to expect, so we never dare to ask the universe for it. I’m saying, I’m the proof that you can ask the universe for it – please!”
He goes on to say:
“My father could have been a great comedian, but he didn’t believe that was possible for him, and so he made a conservative choice. Instead, he got a safe job as an accountant, and when I was 12 years old, he was let go from that safe job and our family had to do whatever we could to survive. I learned many great lessons from my father, not the least of which was that you can fail at what you don’t want, so you might as well take a chance on doing what you love.”
My student is taking a chance at putting all his energy into the thing he loves. I hope he gets it for lots of reasons, one being that at his age he is so very certain what he wants, which is admirable and rare—and a great reminder for me.
Some days I’m tired when I get home from the paying job and want to nap or just veg I owe it to myself to at least try my best to get the thing I want.
One last truth
From H. Jackson Brown Jr.:
“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”
Afterthought: I didn’t realize that H. Jackson Brown Jr. wrote Life's Little Instruction Book a gift from my ex-husband many years ago. I guess it was there all along. I should have looked more carefully.