Recently I heard a commencement speech from Tim Minchin. Now whether or not you are famliar with Tim or even approve of his humor, he had some incredible insight which has left me thinking.
Speaking to his alma mater, Tim wanted to bestow 9 key points to tackling life after college. The entire speech is actually quite fabulous but the first point left me questioning my own logic. He very bluntly started his 9 key points with the audacious comment, “You don’t have to have a dream”. Wait, what? Having a dream has been my life’s motto! How can Tim and his semi-nihilistic attitude have left me so uncertain?
To give you some better understanding, the basis for the comment is what befuddled my own reasoning. Tim’s reasoning was that enormous life-long goals cause us to feel overwhelmed with the daunting task of making it. We are often so hyper-focused on the enormity of our goals that we miss the potentially larger opportunity staring us in the face. His solution was this, “I advocate passionate dedication to the pursuit of short term goals. Be micro-ambitious. Put your head down and work with pride on whatever is right in front of you. You never know where you might end up.”
As I mentioned earlier, initially I was so dumbstruck because this challenged my own theory. After contemplation, I realized Tim was right but so was I. Truth be told, long and short term goals are equally relevant. The tricky part is realizing the balance between the two. The dream is the vision for the big picture, the short term goals lay the path toward your future. All too often the complexity of our dreams seem daunting and often cause us to give up. The immediate goals are what allows us to get the ball rolling. They are tangible and obtainable. The two go hand in hand. One is not separate from the other.
Finally, the key factor is this entire pursuit it the ability to enjoy the journey. As Tim so elequently said, “It (dreams) may take you most of your life to achieve, and so by the time you get to it and are staring into the abyss of the meaningless of your achievement, you’ll be almost dead so it won’t matter.”
The truth is this:
Dream, work hard on what’s in front of you and most importantly enjoy life and all its greatness because in the end that’s what matters.
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Caroline Lalive Carmichael
Caroline Lalive Carmichael moved to Steamboat with her family in 1995 and joined the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club. After one season, Caroline was named to the U.S. Ski Team and competed for 13 years, attending two Olympics. After retiring in 2009, she returned to Steamboat as a coach. She and fellow Olympian Nelson Carmichael were married in 2012 and welcomed their daughter, Freya, in 2015.