Your Dreams Inspire

Most dreamers are too caught up in the pursuit to appreciate the impact their dreaming has on other people. It’s one thing to chase your dreams; it’s a whole other animal to inspire others to chase theirs. Don’t keep your dreams locked in the basement. Share them with the world. By living and sharing your dreams openly, you offer followers a cognitive and spiritual boost of confidence. If you can do it, so can they. Help everyone who listens to you understand that.

Don’t just dream for yourself. Dream for people who respect you. Dream for the world.

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“No” Is Not An Acceptable Answer

I’ve been blessed with momentum in my life, due largely to the fact that my parents never really said “no” to me. They never told me a cardboard spaceship couldn’t break orbit; I had to learn that the hard way. They let me make my own mistakes at my own pace and on my own accord. At a young age, I was allowed to dream, face the limitations of my dreams, and solve my way around them on my own. Nothing stopped me – unless I accepted failure as a lesson. As I got older, I continued to push the ball forward. The momentum continued to the point where “no” was never an acceptable answer.  I let nothing slow me down.

You are only as strong and resilient as your dreams. You only have one life; don’t take “no” for an answer.

Newton’s Three Laws of Parenting

Isaac Newton

While the rules of physics define the physical relationship between objects, I find them particularly relevant when studying the psychological relationship between human beings. Take Newton in regards to parenting:

Law 1: Every object in a state of uniform motion tends to remain in that state of motion unless an external force is applied to it.

Every child on a chosen path with remain on that path unless an external force intervenes. Watching your son or daughter turn to the dark side? Do not trust in time to cure all evils; you may need to step in. Watching your son or daughter struggle to meet their goals? Friends, laws, cash flow, distractions, and many other “external forces” will slow your child down. Be involved and give him or her an extra push when necessary. Obvious, no?

Law 2: Acceleration is produced when a force acts on a mass. The greater the mass of the object being accelerated, the greater the amount of force needed to accelerate the object.

The greater the pressure exerted on a child, the more likely he or she will “accelerate.” Having trouble waking your child for school in the morning? Getting him or her to do homework? Stop playing video games? Avoid hard drugs? Come home before curfew? You can push harder and harder on your child to get the results you expect, but the hounding may have consequences we will explore in Law #3.

How about peer pressure? The more friends goad or tempt your child, the more likely your child will go along with it. Or what about motivation? Some children need a brighter spark to inspire them. Why would some children need a bigger nudge? Physics would tell us it’s because they have greater “mass.” Nothing to do with obesity, I think the “mass” in this equation has a lot to do with your child’s individuality. If he or she is true to him or herself – a defined individual with defined interests and characteristics – then he or she will be much less swayed by you or others. Some children may be stubborn and defiant, others down to earth and cultured. In either case, children with richer individuality are much more difficult to sell.

Law 3: For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.

My favorite rule of the three, and the one I think baby boomers overlooked the most: if you act on your child, expect a reaction. Discipline is difficult for every parent. Depending on how you do it, you can make things much worse. Without justifying your demands in terms your child can appreciate, be prepared for him or her to fight back or deviate further. The more force you exert on the situation (screaming, violence, etc.), the greater the reaction you should expect. Explicitly forbidding your children from doing things may be a recipe for disaster.

I have seen it a handful of times: alocoholic parents punishing their children for drinking underage. The result? The children lose respect for their parents and drink harder. For punishment to be effective, you need to hold credibility with your child. Personal experiences, stories, and statistics all help your case better than “go to your room” or “give me your car keys.”

Children usually know when they make mistakes and punishment is usually superfluous. Teaching consequence is important, but make sure consequences are related to the infraction. Eating a cookie before dinner has nothing to do with watching television. When children do not believe they did anything wrong, it is senseless to yell and accuse them of it – they will just villainize you for it and refuse to see your point of view. Find a more clever way to make your point. Or expect an equal and opposite reaction. Physics, baby.

Rules Destroy Imagination

Disney's adaptation of Stephen Slesinger, Inc....

As children, sky was the limit. The word “impossible” never slipped our lips. I vowed to build a spaceship in my backyard. I knew, without question, that I would be the first six-year-old in orbit. With scrap cardboard and colored pencils in hand, I set to work.

As we grew up, we were taught rules: the laws of physics, etiquette, mathematics, morality, sexuality, language, health, justice, economics, politics, and responsibilities. We were told what to do and how to do it. Worse, we were told what NOT to do and threatened with consequences. Sure, we were being educated. But that education undermined the innumerable liberated conceptions we had as children. I’m sorry, child, you cannot defy gravity. You cannot live forever. You cannot leave the house without wearing pants. 1 + 1 never equals 3. Things cost money you cannot afford. No this. No that. No, no, no. The endless list of constraints continues to grow everyday of our aging lives.

I realized how tragically detrimental these rules could be to your imagination as I nostalgically revisited a Winnie the Pooh cartoon on YouTube. When I was young, this scene terrified me to the bone. I feared falling prey to the beasts and maligned physics Pooh suffers throughout his dream. Watching it for the first time in 15 years, I felt some of those visceral reactions come back:

But then, reality sunk in and this video was not terrifying anymore. I now know that hovering and transforming on this level are not feasible in the physical world, and that such creatures do not exist in nature. The boundless scope of my childhood imagination enabled these possibilities in my mind and allowed me to fear the things I did not understand. But my adult mind, constrained by rules of the natural world, can dismiss this scene as psychedelic fiction.

Would our lives be better without rules? No, of course not. Rules will always exist whether we want them to or not. I do not think anarchy or ignorance make the world a better place. But I do think it would liberate mankind’s imagination a little more if we understand rules as surmountable obstacles to our dreams, instead of barriers we cannot pass.

The best thing my parents never did was tell me “no.” They let me play in the backyard until my heart’s content. I figured out on my own that I could not build a spaceship. But because no one I respected ever tried to stop me, I never gave up. I signed up for the movie business to get me closer to orbit, closer to building that spaceship, and closer to the stars – if only through models and effects. I fight the rules every day and refuse to let anything stand in the way of my dreams.

Go out and fight the rules. Never say never. Dream big.

Imagine the possibilities.