August 28, 1963. Lincoln Memorial. Over 250,000 people have come to hear Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. speak. With everyone carefully listening, hanging on to every word, Dr. King comes to the forever memorable line, “I have a strategic plan.”
As we know, this is not what was said by MLK Jr. in Washington D.C.; instead we will always hear his words of, “I have a dream.” However, wouldn’t it have been the same thing? For King did have a strategic plan for his movement; knowing what he wanted to accomplish and the steps he would take to get where he intended to be. Would it have been the same?
In my opinion, absolutely not. Maybe it is because I have only seen videos of the speech and read about how great it was to be present. Maybe we truly would still be saying “Martin had a strategic plan” with as much emphasis and passion that we do when we say “Martin had a dream”; but I doubt it. Why though?
Robert Kriegel and Louis Patler talk about what exactly a dream is. They state that, “Dreams are goals with wings.” This makes so much sense when applying it to why MLK Jr. repeatedly said “I have a dream,” right? King did have a strategic plan, but he knew it would not be applicable to all listening; but everyone can dream. By using this small word, it allowed anyone who ever listens to his speech to make themselves apart of this dream. It is whatever they want it to be.
Dreams are important, these few chapters of “If it ain’t broke… Break It!” have reminded me that. Too often we get bogged down by goals, by instant gratification, instant recognition or instant profit. Goals give us a vision, but goals make you forget about the pursuit of a new vision. Visions that are changed with every experience in life. Goals have their place in life. Kriegel says, “Second place, following dreams, they all serve a purpose.” But what is the purpose? Maybe the purpose, if we let it be, is to let them guide what inspires you. Set goals, but let them have wings. Allow the combination to give yourself hope; a chance to dream.
As I read back through that paragraph I can’t help but tell myself, “well it’s just not that easy, Colin.” But, maybe it can be. Robert Kriegel says in one of his chapters, “Try easy” and I keep thinking about how simple that sounds, but how difficult it is. It seems like in today’s society, dreams are constantly being crushed by those around us. “Maybe when you have the qualifications in a few years.” “Give it time, be patient.” “We like your idea, but it just isn’t possible.” I am sure we have all heard these lines before and maybe they are not wrong; but that doesn’t mean you should cut your wings and forget about why you are chasing the dream.
Bird was too slow for the NBA. Bolt was too tall in the blocks for the 100 meter. Costner could only play a limited role. For every excuse you hear as to why your dream will not become reality, you can find someone who was told the same thing and did succeed. So why not you as well?
We don’t have any idea what someone else’s limitations are, so why should we do anything but support their dreams. There is no such thing as a finished product, so keep the wings strong and keep dreaming.
-Colin Lane Croat