Honourable Judges, Ladies and Gentlemen.
“It is possible,” the little boy said.
“It is possible,” another little girl exclaimed. This is the key message that I repeatedly recalled from a TV commercial. The children dressed as junior spacemen tell us their dreams. They want to drive a space shuttle. They want to walk on the Moon. They want to hold their music concerts in the Mars. Such awesome aspirations that all of us once embraced when we were still small!
“Sure, study hard and you will get there,” this is such a common reply that I am sure we all remember when we told our parents about our dreams.
Therefore, once we start Elementary school, our life path has been pre-determined. We are told to study hard, learn a dozen of musical instruments and speak like a native speaker in different languages. Our compliments come from how well we beat the other million candidates to get into college and become rich.
We Chinese are extremely skillful in hurdles races. True, not only Liu Xiang, all of us are actually very well trained to hurdle different stages of our life – be it entrance college exams, job interviews, or even buying our home. Along the track, there are hundreds and thousands of hurdles to jump over. How excellent you are as perceived by your family, relatives and seniors are quantified to how many prizes you win and how much you earn. We are living in a constrained world with uniform standards. Intense competition and social judgement is forcing us to give up our original dreams – the ultimate dreams that we have been aspiring since we were small. It seems indisputable that we need to succumb to the reality and suppress our dreams in order to live well.
However, is striving and dreaming necessarily mutually exclusive? Are we restricted to pick either the reality or our dreams? A famous saying by Thomas Carlyle is “No pressure, No diamonds”. A chunk of coal can only become diamond when it is made good under pressure. Similarly, the diamond will not look perfect if we continue to pressurize without designing how it should look like. So, stress and passion are definitely two forces that are essential in shaping our future.
Many of our dreams that are realized actually arise from dissatisfaction about the present state. No one would bother to develop renewable energy if we knew the fossil fuels were everlasting in supply and that combustion would not result in global warming. Humans might not have travelled to the outer space as early as 1961 if Russia and the United States were not having the cold war and competing on technological innovations. It is only pressure that motivates you to dream for the impossible and improve the current state.
"It is easy to live for others. I call on you to live for yourself."
The enlightening word of wisdom by Ralph Waldo Emerson reminds us to strive for our dreams and reach self-actualization. No one is as clear as yourself when it comes to which dream you desire the most. You need to strive hard towards fulfilling your dreams, with concrete planning, real intentions and solid actions. Unless you are working to make it a reality, daydreaming with all your wild imagination is not going to make a breakthrough.
So, remember, dreaming is not bad at all and perfection may not be the most desirable either. For the human civilization to progress, we need to gain the momentum of igniting our passion and strive for our ever renewing dreams. Ladies and Gentlemen, never be frustrated by stress. Let’s leverage the pressure as an engine for growing our passion, to write a new page in the story of all mankind.