Tag Archives: dreams

Maybe they just don’t know

I like to go down the path of “What if I were to do… xyz?” Most of the time, such thoughts, if expressed to other people, are met with eye-rolling and responses along the lines of “Here we go again. Why won’t he just be satisfied with a normal boring life like everyone else?”

I typically find such responses extremely frustrating. To me, they represent a lack of willingness to engage in a creative discussion. If I talk about climbing a mountain or cycling the length of Africa or writing a novel or whatever might enter my head, then I voice those thoughts because I would like to actually explore them. And yet so often all I get back is an entirely unhelpful “It’ll never work. Stop dreaming.”

For a while, I’ve actively avoided such conversations in certain company because I expect to have my (sometimes quite enthusiastic and normally at least partially thought through) ideas shot down without being given any serious consideration at all. But that’s not how I want to be. I get excited about dreams and schemes and ideas. I want to share them.

I’ve wondered about the source of all the negativity. It doesn’t come from everyone. There are people who hear my ideas and respond “What a great idea! Go for it! I’ll be there at the finish line to see you make it!”

After some reflection, I’ve considered a possibility: maybe those people who respond negatively simply don’t know what I’m talking about. Perhaps they have no idea what it’s like to be thrilled by life. Could that be true?

Are they attempting to be reasonable and realistic? Are they trying to protect me from failure or disappointment?

I know what it’s like to take a racing car flat out through a high-speed corner. Do they? I know what it feels like to play a freshly restored grand piano on a stage. Do they know about that? I’ve slept under the stars next to a river and sat alone on a beach at night, just listening to the sea. Have they done those things?

Maybe they just don’t know there’s more to life than constantly making safe, sensible choices. Maybe someone needs to show them the world is a wondrous place full of possibility. Maybe that someone is me.

Follow your dreams, even if they kill you

On Saturday morning, I woke up to some sad news: Jules Bianchi, a 25-year old Formula 1 driver, had died from injuries sustained in a crash last October.

I blog about Formula 1 at chrisonf1.com and have done so throughout Bianchi’s short Formula 1 career. He was one of the drivers I rated highly, and I was hoping to see him have a long and successful career.

Since his crash in October 2014, it was clear that Bianchi’s injuries were very serious. Any recovery at all was likely to be limited and it seemed probable that he would not survive for very long. Just nine months after the accident, Bianchi passed away.

Motor racing is dangerous. Although Formula 1 has a remarkable safety record over the past two decades, everyone involved is aware that serious injury or death is possible every time a driver takes to the track.

Bianchi’s death is unwelcome proof of the danger inherent in racing. And yet no-one – not his family or friends, not his colleagues, not a single racing commentator or analyst – has suggested that Bianchi should never have pursued a career in motorsport.

And I think there’s immense wisdom in that. Bianchi was passionate about racing. He chose to dedicate his time and energy to becoming a world-class racing driver. Watching him at work, there was no doubt that he was following his dreams and that he found doing so immensely satisfying.

In the end, his dream killed him. Should he have done something safer, less risky, more “sensible” with his life? Absolutely not. What kind of a life would that have been?

Is living as long as possible the point of life? Surely not. A meaningful life seems, to me at least, much more important than a long life. Jules Bianchi, young as he was, seemed to know that. And what a lesson it is for me.

Risk is a part of life. In everything I do, there are risks, some of them physical, some emotional. Those are not reasons to hold back from pursuing my dreams.

I’m not suggesting for a minute that risks should be ignored. Risks should be taken into account and mitigated. Racing drivers wear helmets and protective suits and drive cars that are designed around safety structures.

Sometimes those precautions are not enough, as in the case of Jules Bianchi, and the result is tragic. But it would be far more tragic had he never followed his dream out of fear of injury.

Risks and challenges are not reasons to hold back. They are simply obstacles that must be dealt with along the way.

Whatever your dream is, If you want to do it, go for it. I only hope I can take my own advice.