Archive for September 17th, 2008

My Role Model? Don Quixote!

Wednesday, September 17th, 2008

Most folks view Don Quixote, Cervantes’ skinny knight in rusty home-made armor, as an object of scorn and ridicule. Not me. I have known for years that he was actually the only one who was sane on the plain in Spain. Let others equate “tilting at windmills” with futility. I know better.

Why? Because Quixote – as performed by Richard Kiley in Man Of La Mancha – sang the words that changed my life:
To dream The Impossible Dream / To fight the unbeatable foe
To bear with unbearable sorrow / To run where the brave dare not go…

And so on, all the way down to:
And the world will be better for this / That one man, scorned and covered with scars
Still strove, with his last ounce of courage / To reach the unreachable star!

That’s powerful writing – especially considering that it came from the guy who gave us the immortal, “Nobody doesn’t like Sara Lee.”

The Impossible Dream came into my life at a time when I was first beginning to consider a career as a performer. Full-time professional entertainers/role models were few and far between in my home town of Gainesville, TX (population 13,000.) Encouragement was in even shorter supply. Even my own mother – still scarred by growing up in the Great Depression – despaired
at my embarking on the pothole-filled road of a musician’s life. It would have been easy to grow discouraged and abandon my own dream as “impossible.” But Quixote/Kiley and that danged song wouldn’t let me quit. Forty years later, I’m still tilting at windmills (and I’m determined to get the best of them yet)!

I recently came across a quote by Eleanor Roosevelt that I wish I’d known, all those years ago. She said, “The future belongs to those that believe in the beauty of their dreams.”

Were you a Beautiful Dreamer once, until somebody talked “sense” into you? Or are you still one today – with as-yet unrealized hopes of learning a foreign language, or of playing the piano, or seeing the world? If so, then listen up: I followed my dream, and you can do the same! But you don’t have to take my word for it. Here’s what some real achievers have to say to you:

Elijah Wood of the Lord Of The Rings movies says it this way: “Dream the impossible, because dreams do come true.”

From New York Life President Darwin Kingsley: “You have powers you never dreamed of. So do not think you cannot. Think you can!”

To which the ever-quotable Winston Churchill would add: “Never, never, never, never give up!” (“Never” 4 times in a row? – I think Winnie was trying to tell us something!)

But the Most Eloquent Spokesman Award must go to Christopher Reeve, who said: “So many of our dreams at first seem impossible, then improbable, but then – when we summon the will – they soon become inevitable.”

And that’s the recipe for inevitable success: Take 1 Impossible Dream, mix well with a generous helping of Will and a dash of Positive Attitude, then bake it with Persistence.

You won’t even need to add icing. It’s already the sweetest dish you will ever taste.