Chase Donahue@chasedonahue • I find it hard to believe we were made to be mediocre, so life should be lived with zeal--preferably beginning at 5:30am for a workout & breakfast. I once memorized 244 digits of Pi for fun.
In the Steve Jobs-narrated version of Apple’s 1997 Think Different campaign, Steve closes by saying, “The people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do.”
While I completely agree, I think that we should take it a step further:
We are all equipped to change the world.
And it’s time that we do.
I was seven years old when Jobs spoke those words. My second grade class was filled with 30 children playing with LEGOs and finger paints. In our eyes we weren’t just children, though. We saw ourselves as special. We saw our potential, even – and perhaps especially – as we did not yet know what that word was. We were determined to change the world.
“No one grows up hoping someday they’ll be typical. Get back to leading an inexplicable life.”
Can we all agree that we are infinitely-gifted people?
Every single one of us.
We may not see it in everyone else – or even ourselves – but we are absolutely gifted. Our capabilities are truly endless.
It doesn’t take long when researching the legacy of Steve Jobs to realize that following our passions and dreams are a necessity. Ditto taking a look at the marvelous work of Albert Einstein, and how he dedicated his life to science that had previously been uncharted territory. I’ll even dare you to watch a few clips of Anthony Robles of Arizona State University without having convictions that under no circumstances should you accept anything less than greatness.
I find it hard to believe that with such passions, gifts, and abilities, we were meant to be mediocre.
“Mediocrity will never do. You are capable of something better.”
From birth we’ve been dreamers – people that strive to be great. As children, our imagination fuels these high hopes for the future. Somewhere along the line as we grow up, that fervor is quenched. Certainly we don’t consciously choose to give up our gifts and dreams to be ordinary – it’s just the societal norm.
My second grade class consisted of future astronauts, ballerinas, professional athletes, teachers, firemen, musicians…the list goes on. Whatever we dreamt, we were thrilled to write our own future. Sixteen years later we graduated together. We were no longer future ballerinas or firemen – we were kids settling for “realistic” futures. Whatever we were, we didn’t see ourselves as dreamers any longer. We may not, in fact, be set to change the world.
The moment we recognize that our dream paths are likely to go untraveled?
That should be the moment when we realize exactly how important it is to follow our dreams. A life filled with chasing dreams and living out our potential is a life we often deem “amazing” – not just “good enough”. The extraordinary, fulfilling life isn’t exclusive to professional athletes, movie stars, and successful CEOs, but rather, is reserved for those willing to follow the dreams that they are passionate about.
I began college as an education major. Being a teacher is remarkable, but I was doing it for the summers off and to coach football – not because I was passionate about molding and influencing future generations of young minds. It was my safe choice. After going back to the drawing board, I was introduced to advertising. It was love at first sight.
Pursuing our dreams is terrifying, and rightfully so – if we have truly dreamt large enough. But it’s not about whether or not you’re a risk-taker; it’s about the life that you want to live. Let us not forget that in those zealous, childlike dreams, our goal is to uncover work and life that is rewarding, exciting, and fruitful.
Success and happiness – no matter how you measure them – aren’t by chance.
Our dreams create goals.
From our goals, we devise a plan.
And in our initiative, we discover opportunities.
Our potential is not something that we should wish we had attained in life – it is something that we should surpass daily.
On the day that I was introduced to advertising, I Googled “largest advertising agencies in Minnesota”. Fallon was near the top. Ignorant – yet enthusiastic – I called asking to speak with Pat Fallon. Sure, I was laughed at. And they hung up on me. Twice. But that didn’t stop me. And my “plan” paid off: four days later I was standing on the 24th floor of the AT&T Building overlooking Minneapolis in Fallon’s lobby. It was the first of many informational interviews and the onset of my learning about this oceanic industry from a Senior Account Director. I guess our dreams just require that first little taste, because that vigor has only multiplied.
Now what if our dreams and gifts came with a responsibility?
Our gifts should be used for our pleasure, sure, but our unique gifts and dreams are also capable of bettering the people around us.
With the life that you are given, the passions and the dreams that you have, and the gifts that you possess, you do have an obligation. If we harbor our dreams and prevent our talents from being used, then we do a great disservice to those around us – fundamentally, the collective misses out.
Can you imagine your life if Martin Luther King, Jr., Mark Zuckerberg, Steve Jobs, or Bill Gates wouldn’t have followed their dreams?
Can you fathom the impact of high school teachers and coaches who are changing children’s lives throughout the country?
And advertising’s not off the hook – check out how Dove’s Real Beauty campaign sparked a movement with women across America.
All because one company decided to make a difference.
Look at anyone that you believe lived a remarkable, unique life – they most likely started with big dreams and a little moxie.
During the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation-sponsored Can Your Idea Change The World? seminar at Advertising Week IX, Tom Scott opened by saying, “If we can change the way that the public thinks about pork, then we can certainly change the way it thinks about charity.” That thought and the ensuing 45-minute keynote inspired me to believe that even as a wordsmith creating messages in Minnesota, my enjoyment also comes with an opportunity to make life better and change the world. Uncle Ben told Peter Parker, “With great power, comes great responsibility.” I like to believe that applies to more than spider-like superpowers.
When we reject passivity and take responsibility for our gifts, we allow beautiful things to happen.
Our dreams must continue to be dreamt, believed in, and lived out.
It’s time that we stop saying, “I’ll start tomorrow.”
Our future is determined by what we do today – not in a week. So dream, believe in those dreams and the dreams of others around you.
And most of all:
Live those dreams.
You determine what you’ll do with your life. Make something amazing of it – you owe it to yourself.
“The people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do.”
Yes, I agree. We are all equipped to change the world; it’s time that we do.
Here I go.