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Building Upon the Dream

“Qué lindo es soñar despierto, he says. How lovely it is to dream while you are awake. Dream while you’re awake Andre. Anybody can dream while they’re asleep, but you need to dream all the time, and say your dreams out loud, and believe in them.” — Andre Agassi, quoting Gil Reyes, Open: An Autobiography

I detected movement in the pool, a light ripple that telegraphed swimming. Walking over to see what was generating the ripple, I saw a mouse treading water while desperately trying to find a way out of the pool. Isn’t it funny that the very thing I might attempt to kill if it were in my home is something I immediately set about rescuing when I found it floundering in deep water? We can’t possibly kill something that so desperately wants to be alive, and go to great lengths to save it.

But what of our dreams?

Qué lindo es soñar despierto… How nice it is to daydream. For in dreams we find ourselves. And begin to believe you might just reach them. Which is exactly what Thoreau pointed out to us:

“If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them.” ― Henry David Thoreau, Walden

Dreaming is the necessary first step, but too many forget to build upon the dream. The foundation is the required next step in the process of getting there. We’ve all neglected this next step a few times in our own lives—for the dreaming is easy, while the building is hard. But build we must to get where we dream of going.

Have you seen The Secret Life of Walter Mitty? It’s a frustrating, tedious movie when Walter is daydreaming all the time. It becomes compelling when he finally acts. The message is clear: We must wake up from our daydream and act upon it to reach excellence.

We can’t let our dreams flounder and drown. Act! While there’s still time! For we can’t tread forever.

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