Front: BE TRUE TO YOUR DREAMS
Everyone I know has dreams of the life they would like to be living. Some dream of traveling to far off lands and exploring the world at whim; others have simpler wishes, and dream of a comfortable home with a happy family. No matter what a person's dreams are, there is one marked difference between those who achieve their dreams, and those who don't: People who bring their dreams to fruition constantly keep their dream in mind, and work toward the chosen goal with every step in their life. Those who pass their time aimlessly wandering different directions, however, live in frustration caused by dreams that are impossible to achieve. What makes the difference? Those who are true to their dreams realize them, while those who squander their imagination on random efforts are doomed to failure.
Back: PERSISTENCE PAYS OFF
A number of years ago, I read a particularly interesting ad in the Personals section of the Boston Phoenix, an "underground" newspaper. Intrigued with the possibilities I found myself dreaming about, I decided to respond, composed a letter, and sent it off. I didn't get a reply, and the next week the same ad appeared. Since I really didn't have any way of knowing whether my first letter had gone through or not, I decided to try writing again. Still there was no response, and once more, the same ad appeared the following week. Most people would give up after results like that - and usually I've done so myself - but there was something about this ad that drew me to respond once more, and I wrote a third time. A couple of days later, when I opened my mailbox, I found a reply - and one of the things the young woman said was that she had originally planned to ignore my queries, but that my persistence had impressed her, which is why it finally paid off.
She asked me to send something to wear so that I'd know who she was when I saw it, and I obliged her request. On the appointed evening I had car trouble, but I was determined that would not stop our meeting - since she wouldn't know why I missed it, I'd not hear from her again - so I got on my bicycle and started riding across town. A couple of blocks before I got to Kenmore Square and Pizza Pad (the restaurant where we were to meet), however, with the wind in my face I blinked - and one of my contact lenses blew out of my eye! Now I was half blind - and when I arrived, I wasn't sure about whether I saw the flash of fabric I was looking for or not - so I missed the connection after all: There was something about not being able to see that interrupted the persistence I'd had, that kept me from going on the way I know I should have done - and so Cinderella walked away...
I "missed the boat" that particular night, but the impression the young woman left behind has often given me pause to think about what her letter said: Persistence, even against what seem to be impossible odds, can result in a possibility with the potential for a pay-off better than you could know in advance. I could have quit after the first, or even the second letter, and there would have been none of this story to tell, but I kept going long enough to at least (half) see what I was looking for. For what it's worth, the lesson of the experience has been valuable. If I had managed to keep going, I would have had a much better story to tell.
I'm sure a similar situation will arise some time in the future, because it's the sort of thing I'm always looking for - a dream that I will not let die. In the mean time, when I find myself dealing with a situation that doesn't want to yield, I have the strength of knowing that persistence pays off because my own experience has shown it does. It's good practice, and next time ...
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