I remember years ago hearing lectures about getting what we wanted in life by just pulling up our socks and setting our minds to the task. Norman Vincent Peale's book on “The Power of Positive Thinking” was the new trend but I just never got around to reading it. I finally was asking myself whether positive thinking worked. Maybe it does for some; however, I am not a believer although it may win out over dreaming when it comes down to paying the bills.
My problem with positive thinking is that I see it evolving as an effort to influence what happens and moving it to one's advantage. Some devoted followers believe that there is a direct relationship between positive thinking and success. The arguments become very convincing, with their literature and programs where you pay for instruction on how to think positively. In the end, this may have resulted in a lot more disillusionment because of the element of "control" that is at the heart of the ideology.
May I suggest dreamers are different? During their lives, the Wright brothers must have watched many a bird in flight crossing the sky. Their devoted curiosity led them into the scientific study within a laboratory environment experimenting with wind tunnels, gliders, propellers and anything to do with flight. As a daydreamer, I liked to play in the field near the highway behind my house. In the spring I spent weeks re-constructing my box kite for its maiden voyage. I remember my delight when it took off in the wind, flying high and my sadness when it caught in the branches. I made another attempt with an ordinary flat kite. Half amused and half scared I watched it entangle in a car's radio antennae as it flew across the highway. For some of my dreams, wings were not possible for others I made the best of them. I would always come up with some "dream project".
We can learn from these two bachelor brothers who made their dream a reality. At an early age, inquisitiveness nurtured them. Orville (1871-1948) was the curious, mischievous one and as a child, he marvelled at anything that flew. In high school, Orville ran a newspaper, published many articles throughout his career and later was a partner in a bicycle business. While Wilbur (1867-1912) did the research, Orville experimented. Wilbur risked his life more than once while testing their invention. I note here that it was the natural world that sparked their dreams moving them ahead to achieve flight.
No doubt there were a lot of scoffers and pessimists around who would have loved to see these two inventors in a cage along with the rest of the birds. Indeed, we find numerous examples of individuals who struggled for truth, understanding and beauty often in the presence of bitter opposition. Included in this selection of highly motivated individuals are Nelson Mandela, Helen Keller, Winston Churchill, Mahatma Gandhi, Marie Currie, Beethoven and Van Gogh. I gather from the lives of these persons that they were able to levrage opposing disabling forces by thinking past the negative reality to "what could be". Some people say that everyone and everything has a predetermined life plan commonly known as destiny. I interpret this belief as an existence of certainty, assurance and mediocrity following a predetermined "straight and narrow" course of thought and action. Today's thinking people are so taken up by the contents of their minds. Obession makes their mind a prison for future events, plans, appointments, along with worries, stress, and negativity.
I'm drawn to the opinion that well-meaning active efforts don't always spark creative dreaming; i.e., the more hard working I am, the more creative I will be. It could be a distraction, something as simple as the present where at the moment you become aware of inner stillness. You feel the breeze on your face, a squirrel scampering along a wire or the way clothes tumble in the dryer. We must be more than our thoughts, but thinking and censorship make it so. With dreams, you build your wings until you can fly without them.©
- “Everything we want is on the other side of fear.” —George Addair
- “People give up their dreams because they don't have a clear path to follow” — Jay Abraham
- “Positive thinking tries to modify one's response to fate and by doing so sometimes one can change that fate into fortune” — Anonymous