By Michael Strelcheck
One of the great things about our country is that it’s a place where a person can dream – and have the freedom to pursue it. America’s history is filled with those who followed their dreams and their expressions shaped our past as well as our future. Visionary thinkers such as Thomas Jefferson, Martin Luther King, Walt Disney, John F. Kennedy, Eleanor Roosevelt, Susan B. Anthony, Ted Turner, just to name a few, followed their dreams and in their persistent pursuit created wonderful new things and conditions that have become a part of our national identity, and which today, we take for granted.
All of America’s heroes, past, present (and those of the future), have been and will be inspired by the creative strain that the “call of the future” puts on all the citizens of our country. Every time our country has reached a crisis point in its path we find “dreamers” who emerged with new ideas that have taken it on to new levels of success. For the most part, history only records those who came forward and expressed those creative ideas, but in actuality, those individuals actually represented the collective will of our populace.
Modern psychology recognizes a collective consciousness that’s shared by a group of related individuals, such as a national identity – like all those who think of themselves as American for example. This intelligence links all Americans together and gives the values that we believe in a collective force – the American mind-set. This collective attitude, with its can-do mentality, insures our country’s future and guarantees that it will be a creative force for a long time to come.
If you consider America’s history, from the “points of crisis” it has gone through, we find that it was then that many of the visionary dreamers we revere came forward. These individuals were inspired by the times, not so much by fear, but by their hopes and dreams of what America could be. Funny thing was that at the moment of crisis history couldn’t tell who was going to be the person with the right answer, for the strain of the time inspired many citizens to come forward with their opinions. If we take Abraham Lincoln for example, when he envisioned America’s future as being united, he fought a bloody Civil War in order to preserve the Union. At the time many thought of him as not that great of a leader and disagreed with the price of his dream, but his persistent will actually reflected the greater values of America’s collective psyche – the belief that when united, we stand in strength despite our differences won out. History gives Lincoln credit for creating the inspirational slogan, “united we stand, but divided we fall” but it was really the American Ideal that should be credited. The American Civil War was one of the darkest crisis points in United States history which deepened the American’s collective will to persevere.
It seems we stand at one of those times in our country again! Our society seems to becoming ideologically fragmented and “strains of division” are showing in our communities. People are feeling unsure of the way forward yet feel an inner pressure to make choices in their lives. The upside to the times is that this tension is causing people to think creatively to find solutions – sensing that now is the time for new directions, new goals, and yes, new dreams. Call it what you want, the force of the New Millennium, the New Age, or the vaunted Judgment Day, but we can collectively feel the “call” to action. What is the right action? That’s hard to say at this moment, but fortunately we can fall back on the fact that Americans have a history of making the right decisions at the right time.
Perhaps in hindsight, we could say that in times of crisis people are more motivated to make the hard decisions, that “desperate times promote desperate choices.” But we also could say that stressful times inspire one to think “outside the box” and try something a little riskier than what one would have done if things were going smoothly. Would George Washington and The Continental Congress of 1776 risk being hanged for treason (against the King) if they had felt comfortable with their lives and their dreams?
Our choices today may not be as dramatic as our Founding Fathers but the creative process is the same. If we allow ourselves to dream, to desire more, to be willing to envision a better tomorrow, we not only empower our lives but also empower the collective will of our country. If, on the other, hand we stop “daring to dream” of something better, falling into a fear of the future and the inevitability of failure, our will loses force and creative ideas and solutions become tougher to come by.
Consequently, if you are feeling pressure in your life to make changes, use the tension of the time to fuel your inner visions of a better tomorrow, stand up inside and declare you birthright to have a dream, and you just may find that inspiration will come knocking!