“Dream in a pragmatic way.”
I like this quote from Aldous Huxley, a novelist in the early 1900’s. Not that I know him, but that’s a sensible statement, a dichotomy really. Pragmatic dreams? How can you dream and act sensibly and realistically, basing decisions on what’s practical and not what is theoretically considered?
I’d like to submit that its selfish, arrogant even, to dream without any consideration for what’s practical because what’s practical is what’s in our hand. And what’s in our hand is not always the sexiest or the most fun (in fact, sometimes its not fun at all) and more often than not, what’s in our hand has nothing to do with what’s in our heart. So most of us live somewhere in the brain space of the future with impeding thoughts of how much we perceive our present to not be propelling us into our future.
If there is anything I would do differently in my past, it would be altering my commitment to the present in every season. I missed so much (and made some dumb decisions about relationships and career choices) in the past seasons of my life simply wanting to be somewhere else. Are you like me? Do you struggle to stay engaged in the present, especially when the present is painful, busy, boring, or full of pressure?
I’m not a big dreamer – I do have dreams, but I don’t live in them…well, not anymore. Confession: I can’t stand theoretical discussions, which is perhaps why you’ll never invite me to a brainstorming session. I have a problem crushing dreams with practical suggestions: “Did anyone think about how much that will cost?” “I’m sorry, but with our current structure of leadership, that ask is nearly impossible. Great idea though.” “Hmmm… How about we deal with our current reality of resources and dream from there?”
No one likes an analytical strategist messing up their dreams. And no strategist likes a dreamer ignoring their reality. Perhaps we have to grow in navigating a pragmatic dream, where we believe for the impossible while we deal in reality.
Often our pursuit of a dream starts and ends with us, giving little or no thought to others. We chase a platform, dying for influence because we’re on a search for significance full of ego, pride, and proving our worth to people. We abdicate responsibilities now, “hopin’ and wishin’ and thinkin’ and prayin’, plannin’ and dreaming” that our future will come faster.
I’ve done that, haven’t you? I’ve stepped out on “faith” without wisdom. I’ve hurt people who were counting on me to be responsible and faithful, because I thought my dream was just around the corner. I was wrong… every, single time and I caused myself unnecessary heartbreak when I had to clean up my mess, dust myself off and try again. The purpose of a platform is people. Not just the people you’ll impact when you get your dream, but the people you impact right now.
Our dreams of tomorrow are fulfilled in our faithfulness today.