Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Willpower and dreams

A deathly silence stood between the Nazi officer and Wladyslaw Szpilman broken only by the sounds of the Third Reich's war machine. But even those sounds succumbed to the powerful melody that Szpilman began to play across the keys of the piano. The damaged and broken instrument came into perfect tune in the minds of the two men and sounded a flawless masterpiece. In that brief instant, Szpilman gave the performance of his life and allowed both to regain their humanity in the midst of the most inhuman of conditions.

The scene made for good cinema in The Pianist, but only worked so well because it touched on a larger theme. Many words describe the emotions that came into play there. One word that truly fits the whole situation is willpower. If you look closely, examples of willpower are all around, from Clinton moving to be President before his political carrier even started to a runner wining the race.

As children, we are taught over and over again that we can do anything we want. "Put your mind to it, and you could be the next President of the United States" - a phrase so repeated that it's cliché. As adults "reality hits" and we become jaded, speaking of practical limitations and only seeing the struggle. We loose track of our dreams and settle into a life of just living. It's happening right now, millions of people moving from point A to point B without thinking. It is only when people have dared to dream - stepped for a moment outside of the "real world" and looked at possibilities - when humanity has progressed.

The dream is only part of the whole though. The dream is the idea, and willpower is what makes the idea a reality. Without willpower there is no action. Without willpower, we let the dream die. Why do I write about willpower? Because lately, I've been so drained from constant efforts in all areas of my life that it's been difficult to continue dreaming. But today, I remembered the importance of the dream. Dreams let me escape a world of bondage for freedom. Dreams let me move across the country and make new lifelong friends. Dreams let me finally graduate college last year.

The interesting thing about willpower is that it requires the dream, and in turn the dream requires willpower. That I continue going to work and keeping my life in order shows willpower, but without the dream it has slowly fizzled. And so now, I have resolved to continue dreaming and urge everyone to do the same.After all, without hopes and ambitions and imagination, are we really living?

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