or The Importance of Having A Dream
Do you remember the Neverending Story by author Michael Ende? Do you remember Bastian Balthazar Bux hidden away in the school attic reading the story? It’s a great book - for him and us both. Fantastica, that place where the Childlike Empress is slowly dying from a threat called ‘Nothingness’; a disease beyond her realm that’s spreading because no one is paying attention to the need for the story to continue.
Except for Bastian Balthazar Bux, of course, who, many pages later, finally realizes that he is the only one able to save the neverending story from, well, ending.
The people I meet and talk to often have one thing in common: they speak of what has been. Yes, sometimes they share their plans for the weekend or where they’re going on holiday; but they don’t say ‘One day I’d like to sing on the Metropolitan Opera Stage in NYC’; or ‘One day my grandchildren will be early settlers on a distant planet’. Even things like ‘I’d like to launch my own fashion label this year’ aren’t really discussed.
When you do stumble on such rare sentences you feel the excitement: the person who said it is excited about it; so excited that it just spilled over in an actual sentence. And the person listening catches on to that excitement and is amazed to know a person who actually does follow their dreams.
Why are we so afraid to share our dreams?
And why do we feel we need to have goals and milestones in place before we can comfortably talk about our desires?
In some way, it’s a cultural thing, of course. Sharing dreams almost equals sharing emotions and that’s just not done (also sadly, but we’ll come to that another day). There’s another side though, the side that might brand us as aloof, arrogant, self-important; because so many people are jealous of those who find their purpose and follow it through.
And so, far too many of us are ending our neverending story.
Simply by staying in the rut, by looking back and not trusting that something better might be ahead. We’ve spent so long looking at technology as a solution to everything that we have forgotten how to discover our purpose for ourselves. More tragically, in developing emotionally intelligent robots, we’ve actually created soulless, lonely humans.
So much loneliness.
So many people today feel just like Bastian up in the attic: alone, afraid of being judged for one’s appearance, political views, or anything else that doesn’t quite fit in. Like Bastian, we long to belong, wondering how we can contribute to the world and live meaningfully.
Possibly the biggest obstacle are we ourselves: standing in our own way, not wanting or being willing to trust the process, or trust in the happily ever after available to us.
I believe there’s still a chance for us; a turning point is coming when each and every one of us will have to decide to either live a hollow and fearful life or step into their biggest and most fulfilling adventure.
I want to see amazing things happening, gratitude for what we have; and ownership of our life and choices. A world where people are connected with their soul once more, with their relationships and the environment.
So, how about we let the Neverending Story lay a seedling? Light a long-forgotten light – and embrace that tiny voice within that asks “could this be possible for me, too?”
Go on - dream big!