|Dr. J at the James L. Knight Center in Miami, before an exhibition game to attract an NBA team (Miami Heat)|
Friday, January 15, 2016
New Year's Motivation: Never Crush Anyone's Dreams (Including Your Own)
CAREER PATH MOTIVATOR #4
(99 Motivators for College Success)
Don’t let anyone crush your dreams. However, the riskier your dream, the better your backup plan must be.
Never crush anyone’s dreams
When I was a little kid, I dreamed about playing professional basketball. In third grade, we had to write an essay on what we wanted to be when we grew up. I wrote that I wanted to be 6’10” and play in Madison Square Garden. When the teacher handed back my paper, she laughed out loud and said: “You can’t do that!”
That was the first time someone had crushed my professional dream. The teacher may have been right about the 6’10” part, but this molder of young minds lacked the understanding of what negative reinforcement can do to little kids. She also lacked the understanding that height isn’t everything for a basketball player. Teachers, especially in the impressionable K-12 years, are my personal heroes. Yet they need to be dream builders, not dream destroyers. It’s healthy to discuss rational backup career plans, but why spoil youthful exuberance which could flower into the unexpected?
Postscript: When I was 25 years old, I met the great Dr. J and got to play one-on-one with 7’4” center Mark Eaton of the Utah Jazz, that year’s NBA Defensive Player of the Year. I’ll leave the game results to your active imagination.