To get back my youth I would do anything in the world, except take exercise, get up early, or be respectable.
-- Oscar Wilde

 

   

The MONTHLY Motivator - May 2012

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Is it selfish to dream?

If you were meant to cure cancer or write a symphony or crack cold fusion and you don’t do it, you not only hurt yourself, even destroy yourself. You hurt your children. You hurt me. You hurt the planet. — Steven Pressfield

Is your dream selfish? Is it selfish to seek a life of fulfillment and joy, when so many other people live in poverty and pain?

You are, by nature, compassionate. You care about other people. You love the world where you live and you would love to live in a world where everyone experiences the joy of a full and rich life. So how do you bring that world into being? What can you do to help others enjoy lives of fulfillment?

Perhaps you could come up with a magnificent, ambitious plan to collect donations from wealthy people, and use those donations to help other people who are not as fortunate. But what would happen when the money was all spent, and the wealthy people didn’t feel like giving any more, and the less fortunate people needed additional help? Though things might have been better for a little while, it didn’t last very long.

Your dream matters. Every dream matters. People are not sustainably lifted up by government programs, as ambitious and extensive and well-funded as those programs might be. People are not sustainably lifted up by clever products, as useful as those products might be. People are not sustainably lifted up by charity, as compassionate as it may be. People are sustainably lifted up by their own dreams.

There was a time, when you were just a toddler, that you dreamed of intimately understanding those around you, and of making yourself clearly understood. That dream dominated your awareness. You devoted a large part of your time and energy, your thoughts and actions to the fulfillment of that dream. As you did, it gradually and steadily began to come true. After years of following that dream, you became wonderfully proficient at using language to richly communicate with those around you. From your dream to connect, you learned to talk and to understand what others were saying, and then you learned to used those language skills in written form through reading and writing.

Why did you have that dream and why did you follow it with such passion and persistence? You followed your dream of acquiring language skills—learning to talk, and then to read and write—because you felt the compelling urge to express yourself. You also had the desire to raise your experience of life to a new dimension by more fully understanding the experiences of others.


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—Ralph Marston