Earl Nightingale’s radio broadcast “Our Changing World” was broadcast on more than 700 stations across the United States and Canada and heard by over one million people. He spoke on subjects such as human development, success, motivation, and excellence. One of the quotes he is remembered for is “Never give up on a dream just because of the time it will take to accomplish it. The time will pass anyway.”
In 1987 I enrolled in college to begin work on my bachelor’s degree. I was 39 years old, married with two children, working full time in a factory and serving as a bivocational pastor. Many people were surprised with my decision to go to school. Several asked how long I though it would take to graduate. With my job and ministry I told them I calculated it would take seven years. They would then ask how old I would be when I graduated. My response was, “In seven years I will be 47 years old. But, in seven years I’m going to be 47 anyway with or without a college degree. I’ve chosen to be 47 with a college degree.”
My prediction was correct. It did take me seven years to graduate. It wasn’t easy juggling all of the responsibilities I had, but I’ve never regretted it. That degree opened up doors I never thought would be open for me, and the discipline it took to complete my degree has served me well throughout the rest of my life.
We live in a world of microwaves and Instant Messaging. We have instant access to almost any information we want through the Internet. We can fly across country in as little as six hours. We have been conditioned to expect immediate results from our efforts. We are more inclined to look to the next quarter than we are to look ten years ahead. As a result, we may be overlooking significant opportunities because it will take longer to achieve them than we prefer.
I’ve had the opportunity to talk with various organizations about visioning and goal setting. One of the things I stress is that they need short-term, medium-term, and long-range goals. The short-term goals address immediate needs their organization has. The medium-term goals give them some direction for the future, and their long-range goals helps them determine, at least in part, what their future will look like. My experience has been that many of them are more interested in the short-term goals, fewer are interested in the medium-term goals, and almost no one wants to look ten years or more into the future.
What dreams did you allow to die because they would take too long to accomplish? How many of those dreams could have been realized if you had started working on them ten years ago, or even five years ago. Your choices in the past have determined who you are and what you have today. Your choices today will determine who you will be and what you will do ten years from now. Those ten years are going to pass by anyway so why not live into your dream and accomplish those things you most want to do?