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Is daydreaming a form of education?
Does daydreaming bring opportunity?
If dreams are the beginning of opportunity, don’t they have value?
1. Socially acceptable dreams are based on professional skills that are looked upon, by society, with high esteem. Every parent wants their child to be an equivalent of an engineer, doctor, or lawyer. There are many high paying skills such as welder or machinist; that do not require a high school education. Society views these with low esteem; therefore, they are considered low ambition. Society encourages youth to avoid these skills, yet, many blue-collar skills pay more than those needing a degree.
2. Wishful thinking is the start of all dreams. It is the starter to get the motor running. For many, wishful thinking is used for all the wrong reasons, because their dreams are based on greed, to get something for nothing in return. There is no way to learn how to buy a winning lottery ticket and opportunity does not fall into people’s lap without giving something in return such as a skill. Many professionals seem to think their learning days are over when they mastered the basics and revert to wishful thinking.
3. Socially unacceptable dreams cannot be comprehended by the public. Original ideas attract criticism; and are considered unrealistic until proven valid. Many people cannot face criticism; therefore, they avoid innovative ideas. This is where innovators find opportunity.
This is a summary of the story below.
From the time I was a teenager, I had dreams of adventure, but did not have the courage to strike out on my own until I help crew a 36-foot sailboat from Hawaii to Los Angeles. Hindsight observations:
Years of dreaming prepared me to get the most out of this dramatic experience. In other words, a dream with a dramatic will get things done. A dramatic experience without a dream will do nothing.
I have always had socially unacceptable concepts. I found out later that my ambitions are unacceptable to people who live a different lifestyle than the one I wanted to live. When I associate with other adventures, my dreams become socially acceptable.
The book, Kon-Tiki is a story how six men sailed a raft across the Pacific Ocean in 1948. Their adventure inspired my dream of duplicating their crossing of the Pacific Ocean. I added a dreamed of chasing Polynesian girls on the white sand beaches of the South Pacific. This dream motivated me to be an achiever and helped me find success. Society considers this type of dream to be socially unacceptable.
How can a dream of wild adventure have educational value? I was a teenager living in New Jersey with no remote possibility of hope or opportunity to do the things I dreamed about. I had no experience, knowledge of the sea or life outside of my hometown. Friends or family would not support my dream. In fact, my dream was the stupidest thing they ever heard of. In school, I was always starring out the windows and in my mind, I could see the bow of my sailboat plowing through the water, I could see myself exploring the jungles of South America and monkeys swinging through the trees. Then BANG!!! The teacher’s yardstick hitting my desk brought me back to the real world where none of the subjects related to my interest and dreamers are related to dummies.
A second book, unknowing, taught me the art of self-education. Chapman’s Piloting Seamanship & Small Boat Handling had twenty-seven comprehensive basic subjects, from nautical terms to weather to boating customs. All related to inland boating. The volume of information was overwhelming. I needed this knowledge if I were to sail to the South Pacific and chase girls.
In Chapman’s book, I started with the chapter on Rules of the Road. I made models of buoys, boats, and make-believe charts. With my models, I found it easy to absorb everything I read. I simulated ships approaching each other and maneuvering to keep from colliding or going aground. I simulated compass headings. I simulated wind and currents. Using string, I made a poster of knots. I studied chapters where subjects could be turned into objects. I turned information into knowledge because I had a dream and a goal, all of which related to my interest. I was motivated to learn about seamanship.
I showed the rules-of-the-road project to my science teacher. She told me to forget it, the subject was beyond my comprehension. If asked to write a report on the project, I could not, because I could not write clear thoughts on paper and models are not accepted as a substitute. Soon after that, I became tired of being labeled a student with no abilities and refused to go back to school. Today, I wonder if my project was beyond my teacher’s comprehension and she had no interest in it.
At the age of 17, I was working on a factory production floor on the midnight shift. I seemed to have an attitude and learning ability that impressed my bosses. They soon gave me task that required greater responsibility and I worked at every task with 110% effort. One assignment was to cut ceramic tubs into one inch lengths, (15,000) one at a time. The company never threw anything away and had piles of production equipment parts. I asked for permission to make a machine that would cut the tubs automatically. They agreed. After three days I completed a machine that would cut five at a time and all I had to do was feed a hopper. I received praise from my boss, coworkers. I was labeled as someone who is going places, the opposite of my school days. I was motivated, I needed money to buy my first boat. Because I was motivated, opportunity came my way.
I kept reading books and magazines on boating and the South Seas. Looking back, I was learning how-to-learn as well as a love-to-learn by using subjects that motivated me and a learning method that worked for me. I learned with objects and objects that had a purpose motivated me. By the age of thirty-five, I achieved every dream I had as a teenager, including chasing girls in Tahiti. One modification, I sailed across the Pacific Ocean in a dugout canoe, with outriggers instead of a raft.
Wild teenage dreams are considered to have little value and are discouraged by parents and friends. By the time people turn twenty, they are taught not to dream and accept life as they found it, the status quo. I refused to let my wild dreams die and refused to accept the life I was raised in. Without my wild dream of duplicating the Kon-Tiki voyage, opportunity of becoming a hard-hat diver would never have happened. Without the Kon-Tiki dream, I would never have become a Windjammer Captain. Without the Kon-Tiki dream, hundreds of other adventure related experiences would never have happened. Persistent dreams are followed by opportunity.
The dreams I had were on the wild side and were not socially acceptable. I had to keep them to myself. Socially acceptable dreams are subjects that are taught in school. It is OK to say "I want to be a doctor." It is not OK to say "I want to sail a raft across the Pacific Ocean." It might be OK to say "I want to be a welder," but society associates medal trades with low ambition. Yet, the medal trade is where I found the money to be successful.
I was a Captain of a windjammer for motivating teenagers and witnessed the rapid change in their lives. There is no experience like being far at sea on a dark night at the helm with a full moon shining on billowing sails high above. The wind in the sails and the waves splashing on the hull gives a feeling of personal power, "I can do anything." While steering the ship, other crewmembers are on deck playing a guitar and singing. This is the time when dreams are made and realizing we can take the helm of our life and steer it to our destination.
With a dream, information is easy to process into knowledge. Money to reach our dream also becomes easier to acquire. People with a dream act differently, they seem to have meaning and purpose to their life. Bosses and customers favor positive attitudes and offered opportunity, which means higher income, usually. An upward spiral of high intensity motivation and opportunity continue to follow.
In the formal education world, most technical colleges require students to have a GED certificate or better before they can learn welding or machine shop skills. This system requires all people to be an intellectual before they are allowed to develop dreams. As a result, most would-be welders or machinists, who are technical, never have a chance. What if windjammer-training programs required all students to have a GED certificate and, required all students to read a compass and plot a course before they could come aboard? There would be empty ships, never developed dreams and lost opportunity. Experience builds dreams and a dream motivates people to learn.
Technical colleges are intended for technical people who learn differently than intellectuals. Instead of heavy academic requirements, build dreams first, and then insert academics as students discover the need for them. The concept "opportunity first then knowledge" motivates people to learn. It works aboard windjammers, why not in school?
All children dream and play make-believe. For some reason, as they grow older, they are instructed to stop dreaming and face reality. Reality seems to be important, whether it be friends, parents, or teachers. Academic education has top priority while dreams have low priority. Yet, there has never been an achievement that did not begin with a dream. There has never been success without many failures. Why is it that society wants everyone to succeed without failure? Why does society have a need to kill dreams, especially with teenagers?
During the dreaming stage, one is alone with his seemly impossible ideas. When talking about ideas, the first reaction is... "Where did he get that nutty idea?" All great inventors and achievers go through this phase, especially during the failure days. After a few successes, people say nothing about wild ideas. Add a few more successes; everyone will support any idea you have.
It takes persistence to find what works. Only you realize your ideas have possibilities, the public will not realize possibilities until you prove them to be of value. After the Wright Brothers invented the airplane and proved man can fly, it took two years before anyone thought flying was a practical idea. The U.S. Army rejected consideration of the invention outright. All through the development years, people considered The Wright Brothers nuts. To shield themselves from criticism, they only informed people who could help them and took criticism, if necessary, for their help.
Employers want motivated people. The problem is, they want employees' motivation to be built around the company’s interest. If I applied for a job and said, "my ambition is to earn money to buy a boat, sail to the South Seas and chase girls," I would be escorted out the door. The theory is, people whose ambitions are different from the company’s will not be dedicated to their job. The fact is, people with ambitions are dedicated to anyone who will help them reach their goals. People who don’t have dreams or ambitions are not motivated and are not dedicated to anything except the paycheck.
Many people yield to dream killers. In their thoughts, "my friends are right, my ideas are all nutty" and give up. This belief may be true when first exploring an idea. There is no such thing as success on the first try, except in the classroom. Giving up is losing ambition, opportunity, higher income, and eventual success. A downward spiral of self-esteem follows.
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