Why your dream is a matter of life and death

Dream or Die…Your Choice

It’s been said, “Most people are dead, they just haven’t made it official.” (Tweet This)

I agree. So did Andy Dufresne. He told his friend “Red” in The Shawshank Redemption:

“I guess it comes down to a simple choice, really. Get busy living or get busy dying.”  

Stuck in prison for a crime he didn’t commit, Andy had the choice of dreaming or dying. Thankfully, he kept dreaming. As a result, he kept living.

Those around him weren’t so fortunate. After serving 50 years in Shawshank, one convict named “Brooks” reentered society, quite unsuccessfully. Although free on the outside, he still suffered from a mental prison on the inside.

Unable to perform the simplest jobs like bagging groceries at a local supermarket, Brooks tells himself it’s easier to end his life than try to create a new one. “Red” shared perspective about Brooks mental condition:

 …These walls are funny. First you hate ’em, then you get used to ’em. After long enough, you get so you depend on ’em. That’s “institutionalized.” …They send you here for life, and that’s just what they take. Part that counts, anyway.

Although as a child you started out as a dreamer, you’ve been beat down along the way:

  • You’ve been told to play safe and play small.
  • You’ve been told to grow up and be mature.
  • You’ve been told to give up and be realistic.

These sound bytes are death to your soul and to your dream.


Guard your Heart…and your Dream

My favorite book says: “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” This means it’s your responsibility to grow, nourish, and protect your heart and your dream.

  • Expect failure.
  • Expect criticism.
  • Expect pain.

Along the way you’ll be tempted to kill your dream. If  you do you won’t have to feel anything. But remember, dreaming is what makes you human. When you kill it, you also kill your humanity. The opposite is true too. When you achieve it, you feel alive. Just ask Diana Nyad…the 64 year-old who reached her dream.

Dreaming is about Recovery not Discovery

Most people think Diana Nyad’s dream began when she was 28 years old, the first time she attempted to swim from Cuba to Florida. A closer look reveals a different story.

Nyad remembers dreaming about swimming across the Florida Straits during her first visit to Cuba before the Communist takeover when she was 8 years old. Dreams grow and fade over time depending upon your focus. Often they hide in your subconscious, only to come raging back into your awareness.  Dreaming is more about recovery than discovery.

Nyad knew this better than most. She said:

“You have a dream….that doesn’t come to fruition, but you move on with life. But it’s somewhere back there. Then you turn 60, and your mom just dies, and you’re looking for something. And the dream comes waking out of your imagination.”

It’s time for your dream to wake out of your imagination. It’s time because it’s a matter of life and death. Your own.


QUESTION: What’s your dream? I want to hear it. Big or small. Foolish or Brilliant. 

(Please comment below. I’d love to hear your thoughts. And if you know someone who needs to read this, please encourage them by sharing this post) 


About The Author

Kary Oberbrunner

I am an author, coach and speaker who helps individuals and organizations clarify who they are, why they're here, and where they're going so they can become a Soul on Fire, experience Unhackability, and share their message with the world.

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