I’m a member of a youth board,and disability advocate Dr Huhana Hickey spoke at a recent meeting.One thing she said was that people with disabilities don’t tend to dream big enough.
Finding a job is a typical dream for someone with a disability. However, becoming a board member of a corporation is a big dream that Dr Hickey had and has achieved. She is now the voice for disability on the board of a New Zealand state owned agency.
Dr Hickey highlighted the fact that there are more disability support services available today compared to a few decades ago. So, she urged us to take advantage of the supports available today to pursue big dreams!
I was challenged positively by what she said. Why don’t we dream big? Are the dreams I have big?Her statement got me thinking about what limits my imagination and to evaluate the dreams I have.
Imagining the dream
I think the imagining part is easy. Painting a reality in my head that I hope to experience sometime in the future is effortless…Seeing myself up on stage at a launch party for my new business that will contribute to the work of making society more accessible…This is one of my big dreams.
Time in daydream land is wonderful…Feeling the sense of achievement that is possible sometime down the track…Envisioning everything I expect to see when I’ve achieved a dream.
How do I make my dreams or imaginations a reality? This is the question that I battle with regarding any vision I create in my head. For example, I have to do research to learn how to start a business. Then I needto decide if I want to commit to completing the relevant steps required for starting a business.
My disbelief limits my imagination
Some friends and I discussed what limits our imagination.For me,imagining and envisioning a variety of dreams is easy. However, some imagination gets to a point where the imagination feels like wishful thinking.
If I have a dream that I don’t believe I can achieve, then I feel discouraged to continue that imagination. Like I don’t believe I’ll be able to do the tasks required to become a good singer or a good cook.
That’s when I stop and say “let’s be real! I could never do that”. It could be self-doubt or me blaming my disability that makes me believe some of my dreams are “unrealistic”.
A dream remains an imagination when we don’t put any effort into making it come true. I think my imagination is limitless, but whether I believe my imagination can become a reality determines how long that dream survives.
If I don’t feel enthusiastic about a dream, then I’m not motivated to work towards achieving the dream.
Transition from imagination to the work in progress
Imagining the dream is the starting point which is easy and free. The challenge is putting the dream into action. The question we must ask ourselves is whether we want to bear the costs of working towards a dream or not.
After the imagining part, we must decide to invest our time, resources and energyinto making our dreams come true. Our dreams begin transitioning from imagination to reality when we start working towards our dreams.
Dreams begin to come alive when we start to act
Being determined and willing to actively pursue a dream is key to starting to make a dream come true. Whether the dream is big or small, we must plan the steps we need to take duringthe process. When we have a plan, we begin to see how our dreams can come alive.
Then we must be ambitious in following through with the plan. Complete one step at a time. Sometimes it seems hopeless and feels like I’m making no progress, but I try and find the motivation to carry on.
Encouragement from our friends and family andinspiration from what we read, listen to or watch is necessary to keep us on track to achieve our dreams. We can get distracted and discouraged by the steps ahead that we still need to complete, so we must challenge ourselves to stay focused on completing the current task.
We're going to fail at some stage in the process. The fear of falling can hinder us from taking big steps towardsachieving our dreams. I had to learn to accept the inevitability of failure and challenge myself to try again every time I fail.
We must have faith! Have faith in our dreams and believe they are worth achieving. Continue to have faith that our dreams are still achievable even when we fail. Have faith God will continue to bless us with the provisions we need to achieve our dreams.
Manuele Teofilo lives in South Auckland with his parents and siblings. He has graduated from the University of Auckland with a Bachelor of Human Services. He enjoys getting around in his electric wheelchair and having fun with people.