Battle of Thermopylae

Never Give Up Your Field of Dreams


We all remember the movie with Kevin Costner, but I will not be talking about baseball. What I want to write about, however, are our dreams and what happens when things don’t come your way.

When we are young, we all have dreams. Some of us are blessed to live a child’s life that involves fantasy and dreams. I am sure as a child you were probably asked by an adult in your life, “What do you want to be when you grow up?”

Then you grow up, and sometimes life happens to you. Other times, you have some control and you make life happen. But, as the years pass and especially if you are tossed around a little, or a lot, in rough seas, your dreams either evolve, and become more realistic, or they start to disappear. Maybe, one day you find yourself quietly sitting somewhere thinking to yourself – how did I get here and where did all of those plans and dreams go?

I am usually very focused in my life, those in my life and where I can make a difference. However, I think most of us will agree that something very different has happened, especially since the economic melt-down. We see report after report, hear commentators or listen to people complain, sometimes bitterly, about the loss of what they once had.

All around us we have the ashes of lives and parts of our collective society in ruins. We all have someone outside of ourselves to blame for this, such as the recession, the job market, advanced technology, globalization, etc. Whatever it is, I think all of us know that nothing – absolutely nothing – can be taken for granted. Not your job. Not the house or apartment you live in. Not your health. Not your wife. Not your children. Nothing. I have read that what we knew of our lives before this enormous societal shift that kicked off the first decade plus of the 21st Century was all part of a big lie or illusion that we bought into. Perhaps.

Nevertheless, we are all left standing, or maybe on our knees at the moment, knowing that nothing will ever be the same. Period.

So, what do you do? Do you stay on your knees? Do you hang it all up and stay under the covers? What do you do?

Maybe it’s because of who I am, maybe it’s because of how I was raised or my ethnic heritage but all I know is you get yourself up each and every day. You never quit. You never let anyone get the best of you.

There is a great piece of history from Greece, and it comes to us in the life and efforts of Leonidas and his warriors. Essentially, Leonidas was the King of Sparta who defended Greece against an invasion by the Persians. In August of 480 BC, he took 300 Spartans and with other Greeks who joined him, he led a force of approximately 7,000, which was substantially smaller in comparison to the 200,000 men modern scholars say were on the Persian side.

You can read the story of the Battle of Thermopylae, but the most important thing to know is that Leonidas faced his battle head-on. With a smaller force of men than what he started out with in battle, he courageously fought to the death to try to prevent the Persians entry into Greece through the only access road. His tale is a story of absolute courage despite overwhelming and devastating odds.

That’s what we all need to do. We all need to fight our battle head-on and with force. And, in my experience, the only way to fight that battle, whatever it is – is to have a plan. A dream. You have to be shooting for something. Leonidas’ goal was to prevent passage to the Persians. He had a plan. He stuck to the plan.

We each need to do the same. We can’t allow life to beat us into submission. You can’t let cancer, disease, a job loss, a marriage that ends, the death of a loved one – anything – defeat you. Leonidas still lives today in memory because of that courage to stand and fight, no matter the odds.

So, the message here, is to dream. Even if you don’t dare, just dream one thing. Make one plan to kick the disease, get a new job, start your own business, get a new home, marry that woman, travel the world, whatever it is…And then, whatever life throws at you, do not quit. Do not give up until the game is really and truly over, if you do not succeed. And, know this, even if the moment comes you do not get it all; the game is indeed over and there are no seconds left, you fought. You did not give up. And, that makes all the difference in the world.

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Posted: May 19, 2014

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