I recently watched a video by Sadhguru and what he said reminded me of a book by Ronnie Screwala, ‘Dream with your Eyes Open’. For a long time now, we have been telling youngsters to ‘Follow Your Dreams’. But this advice has an inherent shortcoming. It does not give cognisance to the fact that one may not have dreamt what is the best option for one to aim for.

In today’s fast-changing world, with rapid advancement in technology and growing competition, one cannot rely on a static dream made based on gut or worst on a random incident in one’s life. This is the case many times when we are young. We are very instinctive when we establish a goal/ dream. We do not follow a detailed/scientific or comprehensive whetting process when deciding on a dream/Goal.

We should instead prepare ourselves for chasing a Moving Target that is constantly reassessed for its usefulness and our readiness to attain the same. As we grow older and mature, we have access to more information about our goal/aim and also a better understanding of our talent potential. Most importantly, we have analytical ability to match our talent with the effort needed to goal/objective.

For example, as a child, my dream was to be a Pilot. I had absolutely no logic or justification on why I wanted to be a pilot. I probably liked the idea of seeing birds in the sky, moving around freely. As I grew up in a simple middle-class household in a tier 2 city,Bhopal, I had no realistic chance of flying in plane then. So the best chance for me to be on an airplane was to be flying one ! When I was seven, we went for an eye check-up, and was totally heartbroken  when I was told that my weak eyesight will not allow me to be a pilot.

My next aim was to be an Engineer. So after high school, I got admission into the State Engineering college in Indore. However, in the second year of Engineering, it was clear to me that I was not suited to work, either on the shop floor of  a power plants or any other typical engineering jobs. I wasn’t either inclined towards software development, as was the trend for engineers in those days (late 1990s).

It’s only when I was 29, after my MBA and two years into my Sales role in Wipro, when I excelled as a Business Development Manager, that I felt I was in my “Dream Career”.

The German-born physicist Albert Einstein developed the first of his groundbreaking theories while working as a clerk in the Swiss patent office in Bern. After making his name with four scientific articles published in 1905, he went on to win worldwide fame for his general theory of relativity and a Nobel Prize in 1921 for his explanation of the phenomenon known as the photoelectric effect. 

Mahendra Singh Dhoni, the famous Indian cricket captain, started his career as a Ticket train collector. Had he been hard-nosed about a career in cricket right from the very beginning, he would have probably not seen his career take off ever. He had to bid his time in various other professions before he was able to attain success in Cricket.

For parents of kids nowadays, who are part of Generation Z, its all the more tough job to be able to guide their children in the tough act of Goal setting. What they can do, is to expose the kids to as many different professions as possible, so they can dabble their skills and finally move towards the career of their choice.

May you continue dreaming….with your eyes open!

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Hetal Sonpal

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