Ashton Kutcher gave a speech at the Teen Choice Awards that rocked the virally social nation. As he combated incessant shrieking and screaming of “I love you” from Twitter fans 1, 2, 3 and 14 million, he said something that’s not only true or a good reminder, but something that’s a real kick in the pants.
“Opportunity looks a lot like hard work.” He describes how growing up he took job after job – from washing dishes to sweeping a factory floor. He got another job, then another, and another and he never thought anything was beneath him. He just did the work – because work is better than no work, right?
Sitting with some friends over dinner in DC this weekend, we noted (again) how we – as the younger generation – were told to follow our dreams. That’s it. Follow your dreams and go somewhere. We all took that to heart and believed it. But that was the problem: We were all told that. We all took it to heart. And we all believed it. And in the reality outside of our iPhones, it isn’t true. We can’t all achieve our dreams. It’s just not statistically sound.
One friend commented that she always wanted to be an Olympic figure skater, but she was and forever will be too tall. It starts to sound cynical, but there are some dreams we won’t achieve. No matter how badly we want them or how hard we try.
Another friend suggested that if he ever has kids, he wouldn’t tell them to follow their dreams, but rather to seize every opportunity, learn every skill available and see where the road leads.
I don’t think it’s to say that dreams can’t come true. I think it’s to say hard work leads to opportunity, which over time adds up to a dream. And that dream is usually different from anything we first conceptualized in our heads. But that’s a good thing.
Jana (it rhymes with “banana” or “anna”) is an artist from Clarksville, Maryland. Growing up her parents always told her to “be whatever you want to be.” Seeing as she has come from three generations of doctors, she obviously became an artist. As an actor, she has performed internationally Off-Broadway, and locally to the Baltimore/DC area. Favorite roles include Juliet, Ariel, and Caliban. Jana is the Founder of Red Connect Online, a social media marketing company that creates customized advertising campaigns for small businesses. You can listen to her podcast, Confessions of a Closet Christian, on the E-Squared Media Network. You can also follow her on Twitter (@Jana_Stambaugh) and friend her on Facebook.