I once heard that Michael Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team, that Oprah Winfrey was told early on that she wasn't fit for TV, and that The Beatles were rejected by a studio, saying they had no future in show business. Pretty hard to believe since all of these people later found tremendous success in their chosen fields. Can you imagine how history might have been redirected had each of them given up the minute someone carelessly shot down their dreams?
When we encounter rejection, it's easy to become paralyzed by fear, whether that's fear of the unknown, fear of failure, or fear of starting something new. Andre Gide, French author and winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature, said "One does not discover new lands without consenting to lose sight of the shore for a really long time." Is there a dream you buried long ago that still resides in the back of your mind? Stop saying it's too late! Most of us will probably never end up famous failures like Michael Jordan or Oprah Winfrey, but it’s empowering to choose our dream and stick with it even if others don’t share our vision or even if it looks slightly different than we thought it would.
This might sound sort of crazy, but maybe it’s true that failure can sometimes bring us one step closer to what we want if we simply persevere. Just because a dream is delayed doesn't necessarily mean it has been denied altogether. Maybe some growth has to happen inside us before we're really ready to pursue a particular dream. Or perhaps we need more wisdom to modify our dream to the point where it can come true. The key is to keep our head up and our eyes open and to keep moving forward. It’s impossible to do that if we're always looking back!
How many times have we ended up not changing our lives for the better simply by not choosing? My dad used to have a saying that drove me crazy because I never really understood what he meant when he said "Do this or do that, one or two." Sitting here 40+ years later, I think I finally get it. We can set our sails or we can stay on the shore. But it’s time to choose.