Aug 9, 2007

Dream Wisely

Steven Covey calls it "making sure your ladder is leaning against the correct wall." That is, before struggling to climb the ladder of success, make sure you've got your priorities straight and that you're not wasting your life - not dreaming the wrong dream.

But what are dreams and goals worth? How much are you willing to sacrifice to accomplish them? And when you've succeeded are you sure it will have been worth it? Covey, in his book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, includes a little mind game where he asks his readers to imagine they are on their deathbeds and in that context to decide how they would rather spend their last few moments of life. He maintains that very few are they who will be wishing for just one last chance to fly that bigger/faster/flashier airplane (okay, that's my version of Covey's conclusion). What instead most of us will be longing for, is one last chance to spend time with some particular person who is precious to us - a mate, a child, a grandchild. Relationships are the stuff of real dreams and the subject of true QUESTS.

Nothing conveys the glorious quest so well as the song from the play The Man of La Mancha - The Impossible Dream.

As originally written Don Quixote, by his enduring, unconditional and totally irrational love, brings life-changing dignity to a woman who has had no reason in life to believe anything good of herself. In its symbolism this is the ultimate Heavenly Quest - a reflection of the power of love and in a larger sense the very Christ Story of the Christians.

The Man of La Mancha

But here we see the song stripped of it's ultimate meaning, and used (albeit, semi-humorously) to promote the "dream" of better consumer products - buy buy buy...
Honda Ad

When we lose our ability either as individuals or a society, to discern those true worth-any-cost dreams, we are in danger of propping our ladders against the wrong wall. Ask me how I know ...


Aviatrix said...

I dunno. When I was told, "this is very serious, without the proper treatment you could die," I wasn't thinking I wanted to be with anyone in particular. I wasn't wishing I'd seen the sun set over any particular spiritual mountain. I was thinking, "Damn, there goes that upgrade."

It's true.

Grant said...

But did you actually believe that your death was imminent?

I wonder if anyone reading this blog has ever had a close call? A death sentence from cancer, a car accident, or whatever, and can support or refute Covey's assertion?

I know that when people close to me have unexpectedly died or been threatened, it caused all the 'normal stuff' I spend much of my life on to seem so trivial by comparison - at least for a while. But was that merely my experience? I wonder.

The Joan said...

There's a saying that you won't find a tombstone (headstone) that says "I wish I'd spent more time at the office" . . .we come into this life alone, and we leave alone . . . but how much better to have those PEOPLE that give meaning to your life close at hand? How many of us out there can think about the phone call you almost made, the "I love you" you almost said, the visit you never quite got around to, the time NOT spent in some small way . . . .and then it's too late. The light switch has been turned off.

Yes, there will always be that next upgrade/promotion/new toy . . .but you can't take it with you!