“Follow your dreams! You can do it,” encouraged Mom.
“Go for it,” said Chubby.
No kid could have tried harder to make the high school basketball team. My toes were bloody, my knees ached, and my palms were raw. But no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t palm big balls with small hands.
Even though I lacked talent, my hard work paid off. I made the team. But I was disappointed and wrong about the dream. That basketball season was one of the worst experiences of my life.
Why you can’t palm big balls with small hands
I never started a game, and rarely even played. I rode the bench all season. It didn’t matter how hard I practiced. I simply didn’t have the height, hand size, dexterity or speed to become more than a mediocre player.
That experience was quite a lesson for me. Striving to be what I couldn’t be brought me absolute misery. I discovered a harsh reality: following a dream might not be all it’s cracked up to be.
I expect most parents do what my parents did; encourage their kids to follow their dreams. But is this really good advice?
Perhaps our children should first discover what they have the greatest aptitude to do, then get passionate about that. In other words, let passion follow talent.
How to let passion follow talent
In raising my sons, I developed this 4-Step Dream Check to consider before they pursed dreams:
Evaluate your natural propensities. (Take physical, verbal and mental aptitude tests early in life.)
Consider the probability of success. (Gifted actors/actresses sometimes fail because success may require connections and/or luck.)
Assess what life will be like if you succeed. (If you aspire to political office, be prepared to live in a fishbowl.)Visualize success with your natural gifts. (Then ask yourself, “Will passion follow?”)
Here’s a nutshell version of my 4-Step Dream Check:
Do I have the ability?
What are my odds?
Is it the life I want?
Will passion follow?
I’ve found it’s easy to love what I’m good at and darn hard to palm big balls with small hands.