September 23, 2009

What Is The Difference Between A Fool & A Dreamer

“The critical ingredient is getting off your butt and doing something. It's as simple as that. A lot of people have ideas, but there are few who decide to do something about them now. Not tomorrow. Not next week. But today. The true entrepreneur is a doer, not a dreamer.”
Nolan Bushnell

They who dream by day are cognizant of many things which escape those who dream only by night.

Edgar Allan Poe, "Eleonora"

"Some men see things as they are and say 'why'? Others dream things that never were and say 'why not'?"
~ George Bernard Shaw

I think we dream so we don't have to be apart so long.  If we're in each other's dreams, we can play together all night.  ~Bill Watterson, Calvin & Hobbes~
It is no secret that I am a man who lives in both time and space. By that I mean that I am firmly rooted in reality. My feet are on the ground and I know exactly what is happening around me. But I don't always accept things at value.

Place me inside a boxing ring with Mike Tyson or Muhammad Ali in their prime and there shouldn't be any chance of my beating them. It shouldn't matter whether you take the 40 year-old I am today or the 20 year-old I once was, the fight shouldn't be close.

Those who know me best know that I will step into that ring believing with all my heart that I have a chance. It only takes one shot. One moment in time and I can put the champ on his ass. It doesn't matter what the scenario is, I will always believe that I can find a way to succeed.

But that doesn't mean that I don't accept the possibility that I might not or that I am not prepared to deal with it. I do and I am.

The question I ask myself is am I better served by taking a more conservative approach in everything. Am I better served to say that since the chance of success is so minuscule I shouldn't make the attempt.

Certainly there is a school of thought that suggests that it would be far more prudent to do so. Low expectations can be exceeded. It is a way to avoid disappointment.

It is a subjective question that is highly personal, whether to try or not try that is. What I know about myself is that because I am that dreamer, I can't live a life where I don't take that shot. I can't live a life where I don't try to go beyond Walter Mitty and dream about being the champ.

I can't live a life where I don't try to slay the dragon or climb that mountain. I can't. It is not me. I truly believe that if I did give that part of myself up I would die.

Answering my own question I think that the difference between the fool and a dreamer is that the fool never tries to live their dreams. That doesn't mean that the dreamer can't be the fool either. The dreamer has to know when to shift gears and go a different route.

And therein lies the rub. At what point do you say that you have done all you can do. When do you release the dream and let it float into the ether. That is the question that sometimes plagues me. But then again every dream is different so the answer to that question will vary from time to time.

When my children ask me for my advice on similar matters I can only tell them one thing. That in the end they have to be able to sleep at night feeling like they tried their best. If you can do that, well then you have accomplished something.
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3 comments:

shavuatov said...

You know, I would far rather live a life where I aimed to achieve things, sometmies failing, sometimes winning, than lie on my death bed and realise that all the 'might have dones' had passed me by. I don't want my memorial stone to read 'She lived a safe life' - I would prefer 'I told you I was ill!' (stolen from Spike Milligan - I don't know if his humour has ever reached the USA?).

Anyhoo, yes, sometimes we humans do foolish things, sometimes we try beyond our capabilities, but if we never did that, how would we progress? If you are rooted in reality, then what's the harm in trying?

PS. Good luck in the boxing ring - one day, you never know... :)
rachel

V-Grrrl at Compost Studios said...

I have a nephew who is an entrepreneur. He began his first business ten years ago when he was a student at the Rhode Island School of Design. He is not afraid to ACT ON, to PUSH, or to PROMOTE his ideas.

I'm not quite wired that way, but I'm a great one for taking calculated risks. I am always questioning myself and talking back to the internal voices that hold me back. I may not take a great leap of faith, but I push myself to step outside my safety zone.

The more we push our boundaries out, the more room we have to move in different directions.

Jack said...

I don't want my memorial stone to read 'She lived a safe life'

I think that safe should make for a very dull and less fulfilling life. At least for me.

V-grrl,

I am a big believer in testing the boundaries. I have had more than one experience in which I kicked myself for doing so, but ultimately I am happier for it.