My friends and I made a day trip to San Onofre State Park this summer to get some waves. San O lies about 30 minutes north of SD and is most famous for being home to the Trestles breaks. Trestles comprises of several surf spots that host some of the most important contests in the surfing world; it’s a mecca of sorts for professional surfers.
There were a few contests going on that day, and we paddled out just south of one. During the lulls between sets, we watched the contestants and listened to the announcer comment on the different surfers’ waves and techniques. Then randomly, the announcer started talking about different types of intelligence that people possess. He listed them off: “There’s musical intelligence, logical-mathematical intelligence, body-kinesthetic intelligence, and so on. It’s important to remember that different people are good at a lot of different things.”
That announcer was right, everyone is different and everyone has aptitudes for different things. But not all aptitudes, not all intelligences, are recognized as equal. Logical-mathematical intelligence is valued above all others. Accountants, lawyers, engineers…they are logical-mathematical all-stars. But not all of us operate in that way. I’m not good at math; I didn’t do so great on the LSAT; and I hate Sodoku. I’m not one of these-said logical-mathematical all-stars. Does this mean I’m not as smart? Does it mean that I will make less of difference in the world? No.
Not all of us were born to be astronauts or investment bankers. Even so, society tells us this is the best way to go. From birth, people who are born with a love of music or dance for instance, aren’t encouraged in their passions as much as others, so they often don’t develop their dreams or believe they’re good enough to make their dreams a reality. Oftentimes, people throw in the towel.
This said, it’s important to identify a) what you’re good at; and b) and what you love to do. Then go for it. Regardless of what people (or your parents) think. If you don’t know what you love or what you’re good at (like me) you should look for clues in your past. Things you’ve loved from the beginning will probably be both what you like to do, and what you’re good at, now. Dare to dream.
Sometimes you don’t know what your dream is. For me, I needed to do A and B. I think I’m figuring everything out, but it’s a process. To do this, I’ve been thinking about what other people have said I’m good at; asking advice from mentors; doing research on grad programs; and bouncing ideas off my parents (the list goes on).
Today, I went through my old diaries (pictured). One of them dates back ten years. My old journals are full of my dreams and goals and it helped to look at them to help connect the dots.
Keeping diaries over the years is not something that everyone wants to do. That’s a clue. I also talk about writing and my dreams a lot in the diaries. I don’t remember writing about wanting to be a writer, but looking back on my life, it makes sense.
A library is still one of my favorite places to be. My childhood dream was to be a novelist. I majored in English lit. I usually have a book with me. I was big into Stephen King in middle school, and I’d bring copies of his books to my play practices, to lunch, everywhere (yes, I was nerdy and awkward). I tried to read Mark Twain’s Prince and The Pauper when I was in fourth grade and I had to look up every other word. Needless to say, it wasn’t working and I didn’t get very far.
So this is what I love: I love words; I love books; and I love writing. I also love people and connecting with others.
Passions are different for every person and you can’t choose what you like to do. My Dad loves knowledge. My sister, Nina, is passionate about the environment. I have girlfriend who loves clothes, and she has a gift for putting things together and has an eye for colors. That’s one of her gifts and her passion. We’re all so unique and special in this way. I think if we lived in a different world, we would all have pursued what we loved from the beginning.
Being able to recognize what you should be doing, what you want to do with your life, is a liberating feeling. In the same token, having a dream is a process and it’s very scary. It takes a lot of guts to listen to your instincts and dare to dream.
That’s why it’s so important to support others in their dreams. A lot of my friends are dreamers and I’m proud of them. I wrote an entry in my journal (pictured) about what I admired about some of them. Writing down your best qualities was my way of trying to be more like you.
Just because you aren’t good at one thing, doesn’t mean you’re not amazing at another. Maybe you have to take the road less traveled. That’s okay. Having a dream isn’t unrealistic. It’s your right. Dream on.