Contact Us | Advertise With Us | Editions | Links 

Tampa Bay Online Edition

Last Updated: Jan 14, 2009 - 9:16:26 AM 

Front Page 
 Top Stories
 Features and Series
 Finding Florida
 Community In Focus
 Links Mentioned
 In Your Words
 News & Community
 Community News
 Where In South Hillsborough?
 Observing The Web
 In Uniform
 Community In Retrospect
 Nation and World
 Positive Talk
 Over Coffee
 Saturation Point
 View From the Road
 Wandering Florida
 Savvy Senior
 You, Me and Business

Observer Classifieds

Archives / Search 2003

Send a Letter to the Editor

Send a Press Release

Staff Directory

Positive Talk

By Bill Hodges
Jan 15, 2009 - 9:15:12 AM

Email this article
 Printer friendly page
Author John Updike said, “Dreams come true; without that possibility, nature would not incite us to have them.” The greatest challenge for each of us is to find our gift and to fulfill our purpose and follow our dream. From the time we begin to talk, people ask us the same question, “What are you going to be when you grow up?” Answering is easy when you are little, because such answers as cowboy, fireman, policeman and soldier are acceptable. But as we mature, this type of answer becomes less acceptable. We’re told to grow up and face the real world. In their well-meaning way, people quickly tell us all of the reasons that we are not being realistic, i.e., cowboys don’t make much money, firemen get burned, policemen get shot, and soldiers don’t get respect. They may even add—if you happen to be female—that you cannot follow one of these professions because they are “men’s” jobs. Luckily, a select few do not let these people sidetrack their dream. They stick with their choice to become a cowboy, fireman, policeman or soldier, thereby adding color, vicarious adventure, and—in the case of the latter three—security to our lives.

For many, the early dream will fade and they will begin to seek new answers to the old question, “What are you going to be when you grow up?” By the time they have reached the 10th, 11th or 12th grade and have made no decision, their parents begin to panic. Parents are like that.  They tend to overreact when they feel that the well-being of their children is involved. Not only do parents continue to harp on the subject of choosing an occupation, but they also bring in Uncle Joe, Aunt Judy and the school counselors to help them. By graduation, the pressure to choose a life-long trade is intense. Some students will have found their calling and some will have compromised their dream to eliminate the pressure, but many will have a sense of failure and dread--failure, because they believe society expects them to make a choice by the time they complete high school—and they haven’t. They dread the future because many of them honestly believe a career choice they make today will be binding on them for life. Most of us will have at least three careers in our lifetime and some will have many more that that. Today’s choice is not a destination, but rather a milepost to be achieved and passed.

Happy day, happy day—because, as I have just indicated, neither of these suppositions is true. The truth is that most people don’t really care what you do with the rest of your life as long as you make an attempt to be productive, and if you do choose a path today, you can change it tomorrow. Jimmy Carter started out life as a farmer; Ronald Reagan, as a sportscaster; and George Bush was a military pilot. Each achieved the position of President. None of these leaders of our country had fewer than four careers.

The important thing to remember is that life is full of choices, and you are the one who gets to choose. If you find that you have chosen incorrectly, then choose again. Do not be afraid to follow your dream even if it means choosing a strange path. Robert Frost wrote the following lines and they have meant much to me. Maybe you will see something in them for you.

I shall be telling this with a sigh, somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.

You have a gift and a purpose.  Keep looking for it.  Follow your dream.

Bill Hodges is a nationally recognized speaker, trainer, and syndicated columnist. Hodges may be reached at Hodges Seminars International, P.O. Box 89033, Tampa, FL 33689-0400. Phone 813/641-0816.

Web site:


Copyright 2008 Hodges Seminars International

© Copyright 2008 by The Observer News Publications and M&M Printing Company, Inc.

Top of Page

Positive Talk
Latest Headlines
A Smile