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As kids, we used to fantasize about big dreams. Mine was to go to the university one day. As time passed, I got to realize it was no big dream after all. Everyone attended university. Instead, I was the one perceiving such as a big dream because of where I found myself— my environment. There were only a few graduates… and those few were literally adored.
Later in life, I have become very careful about what I refer to as ‘big dreams’. When one says their big dream is to be rich, for instance, I ask, “Rich according to whose standards?” A man may be the richest in his hometown because he owns a radio set and no one else does. In the city, this dude may be the poorest. He is only rich according to the standards of his environment.
When we carefully define what ‘big’ means to us, we don’t become proud. We are not puffed up with our little success. One doesn’t become complacent after making a few strides. They don’t become content any sooner. They stretch the limits of their potential… and that is what we all are supposed to do!
How big is your big dream? Is what you call a big dream the biggest you could ever dream? Considering all the abilities sitting inside of you, is what you call your big dream your biggest indeed? Could you stretch those dreams a bit more? Can they be bigger (and still realistic) than what they are now? Then, dream bigger! While you can, dream as big as you can!
Environment changes perspectives. Until people change their environment, they will never know they have been limiting themselves. They come to the sad realization that they have put a glass ceiling on their potentials because what they perceived as big in their previous environment means nothing where they are now.
When people say something is big or small, it is subjective. The biggest house in a city may be the smallest in another. The smallest television in your home may be the biggest elsewhere. Small may mean big and big may mean small. The multimillion dollar question, thus, is, “How big is your ‘big’ and how small is your ‘small’!?”
How big or small a thing is largely depends on where it finds itself. Our environment has an influence on how we perceive things around us. What we may call big, thus, may not necessarily be same elsewhere. So, when you say you have a big dream, how big is it?
I was recently having a conversation with an old friend about what career he wanted to venture into. Currently, he was a bus conductor and lived in one of the slums in Accra. He told me he had a big dream… and that big dream was to be an ‘okada’ rider. I paused and asked whether he was serious about it. He insisted he was. I looked at the environment he found himself in and understood why the kind of future he beheld was such a big one to him. How far one can see depends on where they are standing!
At every point in time, we must all take a retrospect of our lives and see where we are headed towards. We ought to constantly measure the weight of our dreams to know if it is as big as we have always thought they are. Many a times, we perceive our dreams as big just because of the environment we find ourselves in.
We all must know that deep inside us lie great potentials… and that is why we ought not to put a cap on how much we can do. Like a volcano, there is so much energy inside of us waiting to gush out at our command. All we need to do is to dream a bit bigger. We need to exploit our potentials more. We have to push the limits further!
Our environment has a way of limiting our abilities. Like a one-eyed king among the blind, we soon become content with our little. We set low targets and after achieving a few of such, we pat ourselves at the back and assume we have done all there could ever be done. Sit. Ponder. Ask yourself, “How big is my big dream?”
Like my old friend, being an ‘okada’ rider looks like such a big thing where he lives but little does he know that he could do more than just that. It seems like a big dream there but elsewhere, it may only be a hobby. There is more you can do with your life, too. Don’t be limited by your environment.
Contentment is a great killer of greatness. Immediately we assume what we have is all life could ever give us, we give up on the many other great things we could have achieved. When complacency sets in, we close our minds to how bigger our dreams could have actually been. There is more you can do with your potentials. Don’t get complacent yet.
If you have the chance to dream, dream the biggest you can. Inside you lies a fountain of potentials. Let it overflow for the world to drink from it. Reach out to the best you could have ever done with the gifts you have. Fully exploit them. Before you die, live!
If you say you have a big dream, how big is that dream!?
By Kobina Ansah
The writer is a Ghanaian playwright and Chief Scribe of Scribe Communications (www.scribecommltd.com), an Accra-based writing firm. His new play, “Emergency Wedding”, happens on Saturday, 25th & Sunday, 26th April, 2020 at National Theatre.