I feel sorry for people who have never learned how to celebrate the ordinary; who live their lives under the sad illusion that happiness is just beyond their fingertips. “As soon as I find my soul mate… get out of debt… find a better job… then I’ll be happy.”
But I also pity the pale souls who carry no dream within them that is bigger than they are, those timid shadows who are unwilling to step into the light and boldly attempt the impossible. Last week a visitor to our building said, “Always expect the worst and you’ll never be disappointed.” I looked closely at him for a wry smile, a twinkle in his eyes or some other signal that he was joking. He wasn’t. I avoided him the rest of that day and then breathed a huge sigh of relief when he was finally gone.
Am I crazy? Is it wrong for me to feel sorry for those who feel happiness lies just beyond their fingertips, while at the same time pitying those who fear to reach for things beyond their grasp?
I believe, unconditionally, that you should be content exactly as you are. But I also believe that you should reach for the stars. Although these beliefs, on the surface, appear to contradict one another, on another level they are perfectly compatible. In the words of the great physicist, Niels Bohr, “The opposite of a correct statement is a false statement. The opposite of a profound truth may well be another profound truth.”
Our universe is built on mutually exclusive truths.
Mutually exclusive truths will always contain at least one common ingredient. In this instance, that common ingredient is an absence of fear. Being content and reaching for the stars each require an absence of fear. The fear of being average robs you of contentment. The fear of failure robs you of the joy of your dreams. Fear is an unrewarding master.
No one should live without goals and dreams and visions of grand possibilities, but you should never let them rob you of the ability to celebrate the ordinary. Colorful and happy dreams will bring joy into your life, regardless of whether or not you ever achieve them. Your dreams, loyalties, relationships and faith form the essence of who you are.
Who you are is much bigger than what you do.
I urge you to make peace with the possibility of failure, then begin to climb your impossible mountain, purely for the thrill of the climb. Don’t worry about whether you’ll ever reach the summit. It’s really not important. Learn to celebrate each struggling step forward, always remembering, “I’ve never been this high before.”
Are you ready to start climbing?
Roy H. Williams will probably always be known simply as “The Wizard of Ads,” since that is the title of his new book: The Wizard of Ads: Turning Words into Magic and Dreamers into Millionaires (Bard Press, July 1998, ISBN 1-885167-29-6, $16.95). His Buda, Texas-based company produces advertising so effective for his small business clients that several of them have become multi-millionaires. Roy H. Williams Marketing enjoyed revenues of $20 million last year, and they are growing exponentially this year. The company may be reached at (800) 425-4769 or (512) 295-5700.