Q:Date a man who writes with less flattery, who strives for his dreams and not describe it too deep. Date a man who talks about his dream, and not one who uses it to fish. Date a man who talks about how you fit in his dreams, and not why you should love him. But I guess, maybe... go ahead- date a man like this, but don't you dare marry a man who speaks like him.
All men dream, but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds, wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act on their dreams with open eyes, to make them possible.
~ T. E. Lawrence
Of all the responses I’ve had to ‘Date a man who dreams’, this is one of the most thought provoking and interesting.
My dreams are always changing, shaped by my experiences, my successes and failures. The details become less important, while the core of what I aim for becomes ever clearer.
I never expected that post to reach so many people. I wrote it for a girl, at a time when I felt that we were slipping apart. I loved her and wanted to be with her: I wrote it in part to show her what I would do for her, and in part to convince myself that I deserved to be with her. Dreams are one thing, reality another. Confusing the two can cause a lot of pain, as was the case here.
Things didn’t work out as I thought I wanted. But on the other hand, this dream inspired me to pursue others, and I also helped her further her own. Even the death of this dream led to others being birthed or becoming concrete. Dreams change: knowing when to hold on to them and when to let them go is an art that I am yet to master.
I’m afraid of my dreams sometimes. I’m afraid my dreams are selfish, that I am all style and no substance, or that my dreams will never come to pass. Sometimes I think I am dreaming about the wrong things. I am a most imperfect man, and many of my dreams are far from being actualised. I write to share my thoughts with others. I write to share my dreams. But I also write in order to show myself that my dreams have meaning, to remind myself of why these dreams are so important to me.
My dream was always to reach people. But dreams can be dangerous: many people keep dreams that they will never realise, an unattainable goal that they can imagine will make their lives complete. So: do not date a man (or a woman) who dreams but does nothing to make them reality.
The worst thing I can imagine would be to leave my dreams unfulfilled. I am not writing for the sake of writing. I write to learn as well as to teach. I write to make things happen. Some of my dreams are unfulfilled, but I know that every day I do something to make them reality. Everyone dreams: not everyone remembers them when they are awake.
I stand by that last line: “Date a man who lives his dreams.”
The 12 Commandments of Carlos Gracie Sr.
1. Be so strong that nothing can disturb your peace of mind.
2. Talk to all people about happiness, health, and prosperity.
3. Give all your friends the feeling of being valued.
4. Look at things from an enlightened point of view and turn your positivity into reality.
5. Think only of the best, work only for the best, and always expect the best.
6. Be as enthusiastic about the success of others as you are with your own.
7. Forget about past mistakes and focus your energy on the achievements of tomorrow.
8. Always make those around you happy and always have a smile for those who talk to you.
9. Take the time you need to improve yourself, but never spend time criticising others.
10. Be big enough not to feel unsatisfied, be noble enough not to feel anger, be strong enough not to feel fear, and be happy enough not to feel frustration.
11. Hold a good opinion about yourself and show that to the world, not through your words but through your work.
12. Believe that the world will be on your side, as long as you stay true to the best of yourself.
”Live as if you were to die tomorrow - Learn as if you were to live forever.”
We live in a society dominated by information. Every day we are assaulted on all sides by all sorts of media. The internet, books, newspapers, music, film, television: they all combine to drown our senses with a kind of information ‘white noise’. We drown our senses with all kinds of information about what’s going on in the outside world, from the trivial to the consequential.
Many of us know everything there is to know about our favourite television show, our favourite sports team or our favourite celebrities. What few of us do is learn about ourselves. Very few of us take knowledge and convert it into understanding, into experience.
Bruce Lee once said that all knowledge is ultimately self knowledge, but I’m guessing he wasn’t talking about knowing what Snooky’s been up to this week. Now there’s nothing wrong with catching upon the celebrity gossip or the latest episode of your favourite show, but there’s no point pretending that it’s advancing your life situation in any way. At best, it is a welcome distraction from the boredom and hardship of everyday life.
So what’s real learning? What’s real knowledge? The form it takes will vary from person to person, but in essence it is any medium which teaches us more about ourselves, which makes us struggle, makes us elated, which make us tear at our hair in frustration, vow to walk away but which ultimately we keep trying at in order to make something happen. It is what takes us from mere intellectual understanding or rote physical action into something more meaningful.
It’s the difference between just believing something because we’ve heard it somewhere and understanding it for ourselves. And beyond understanding something because we’ve thought about it and understood the concepts on an intellectual level, there is a deeper knowing that is gained through actual experience. It is a deeper level of understanding, one that requires blood, sweat and tears - sometimes literally - to earn.
Carlos Castaneda elegantly describes the hardships of the meandering path to understanding. ‘When a man starts to learn, he is never clear about his objectives… he hopes for rewards that will never materialize… What he learns is never what he pictured, or imagined, and so he begins to be afraid. Learning is never what one expects. Every step of learning is a new task, and the fear the man is experiencing begins to mount mercilessly, unyieldingly. His purpose becomes a battlefield.’
Take art. Someone tells you the Mona Lisa is a work of art: ok. You believe them. Someone explains about her enigmatic smile: you understand why. You see it for yourself: it makes sense. How about if you paint something yourself? You know what ‘art’ looks like. How hard can it be? Of course, your first efforts are poor. Your efforts are a long way from what you see in your head. You get frustrated, but you apply yourself and learn the fundamentals. You begin to grasp the rules: you become technically proficient. Now, your understanding grows as does your scope: you understand when and how to break the rules. You learn how to give thoughts and emotions a form. You start creating work that is truly original, truly an expression of yourself.
Take sport. You watch a boxing match: it’s two guys hitting each other. Someone explains the different punches, the different functions of a jab and a cross, a hook and an uppercut, the importance of footwork. You learn about boxing. You get in a ring yourself: you end up lying on your back with a sore head. You start practicing the moves. You learn the technique, you experience the fear and the excitement. You learn to box. Or maybe you start boxing without any knowledge: you throw punches because you’re told to: you stand in a certain way because your coach says so. Over time you begin to understand why: eventually you find yourself moving the right way, in control of yourself and your opponent.
This is the process of learning: struggling to acquire skills, dealing with the frustration of plateaus and set backs, conquering external distractions, testing then overcoming our own limitations and mastering our bodies and minds. Practicing almost any skill, from drawing to drawing a sword, can bring about this kind of understanding of the self: it is the journey, not the end goal, that acts as a mirror to the inner workings of the mind.