The beauty of their dreams

In a day and age when opening the mail can be dangerous, I received a postcard in November from the Community College of Allegheny County that sent a refreshing message.

The school was announcing its spring semester class offerings, and to inspire those who might need a little inspiration, it included this quote by Eleanor Roosevelt: “The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.”

Think about what Roosevelt was saying. Not only do the successful believe in their ability to realize their dreams, they believe that their dreams are worth pursuing because they are beautiful. Now, that’s confidence.

I have come to believe that most people are afraid to pursue their dreams, but not because their dreams aren’t achievable or noble. Most of us fear we’ll fall short, that others will ridicule us for trying to accomplish what may seem to them foolish or unrealistic.

When I have an opportunity to speak with young people about their futures, I usually tell them it is absolutely essential to their happiness to pursue their dreams, whatever they might be. Even if their friends and their parents and their teachers try to discourage them, if there’s a burning desire within them to build bridges or birdhouses, they should do it. If you really want to accomplish something, you won’t let the reality of others get in the way of your dreams.

I tell not-so-young people the same thing when the subject comes up. Lots of them look at me like I’m from Mars.

It struck me that those we have designated this year as our third group of Pacesetters, as well as those we have honored the past two years, are no doubt people who believe in the beauty of their dreams. I don’t believe any of them would have gotten where they are if they thought for a moment that their dreams were ugly.

If you ever have a conversation with a Pacesetter, ask if he or she dreams. I’ll be the answer will be something like, “Only during the day.” Ray Marano is editor of SBN Magazine.