Dreams Can Come True

by Mohit Arora on November 5, 2008

Martin Luther King Jr. & Barack Obama - Dreams Can Come True

"The greatest achievements were at first and for a time dreams." - James Allen

Last night was a truly historic evening.

Most of us were overcome with so much emotion, it was and still is difficult to express our sentiments with words.

I recently discussed what Barack Obama represents for many of us; that he provides proof of the idea that we can do anything.

Although my post was quite brief, it inspired some great conversations with some friends, so I thought I’d delve a little further into the topic.

This has nothing to do with politics.

This is about having dreams, keeping faith and accomplishing goals.

All of us have people in our lives who tell us we can’t do something or they mock our attempt to do better. I’m sure you can think of a number of occasions when someone tried to discourage you from achieving something.

For me, there are many memories like this, but one in particular that stands out quite vividly because it was one of the first situations that helped give me immunity to naysayers and obstacles.

I was in the 8th grade. Our History teacher didn’t show up one day, so the principal came in as a substitute. The principal, Mr. Harding, was an ex-cop who always disliked me (my parents’ number was on his speed dial – and vice-versa).

During this slacker period, the principal needed to kill time so he asked everyone to take turns saying what we want to be when we’re older, why we want to do it and who inspired us to want to do it.

I was sitting in the back-row of the middle aisle, so I was more or less in the exact middle in terms of order. Everybody starting speaking on what they wanted to be when they were older. Lawyer, cop, veterinarian, pilot… a lot of the answers you’d expect from a 8th grade class.

Then it was my turn.

“What do you want to do when you’re older Moe? And remember to tell us why and who inspires you to follow that path?”

“I want to do one of 2 things when I’m older. I think I’d like to be a doctor because I want to help people and do something that makes a difference.”

“Very good, and who inspires you to become a doctor?”

“I don’t know, just the idea inspires me.”

“Okay, and what’s the other thing you’d like to be?”

I’d like to be a music producer or something like that. I want to do that because I love music and I want to do something that makes other people enjoy themselves. I look up to people like Russell Simmons, Quincy Jones and Berry Gordy.”

He nodded his head and continued on with the rest of the students.

This was the last class before lunch, so as the bell rang he offered to give advice to anybody who wanted to talk to him after class.

I hated his guy, but after saying my plans outloud, it got me thinking so I waited in the small line by his desk to approach him.

I heard him tell other students in front of me to go to the library down the hall and find some books about what they want to be and ask their parents or the guidance counsellor for help meeting somebody in that profession to find out more.

I figured he would offer the same advice to me, but I highly doubted there would be any books about getting into the music world in our school’s outdated library, and I know for a fact that my parents would have no idea about that. Nor would they encourage it.

I was the last in line, so I had time to think of some follow-up questions so I can get some real, solid advice about pursuing my passion.

When it was finally my turn, he got up and said we’ll talk while walking to his office.

“What was it that you wanted to be again? A music something and what?”

“I want to do something in music like produce music or have my own record label or maybe be a doctor.”

“Well Moe. I gotta tell you; both of those are really hard to get into. You said you like Quincy Jones, but you know Quincy Jones is a genius, there might not ever be another person like him again. And as far as being a doctor, that takes many years of hard work and school. It’s not for everybody. Maybe you should think about other options and see what else you might be interested in. Try something a little less challenging”

If you think I’m exaggerating this or making it up for the sake of this post, I promise you I am not.

That one line that always resonates in my mind, “try something a little less challenging”. Verbatim.

After he said that, he opened the doors to the staircase and went downstairs to his office while I stood in the same spot with my heart pounding like it was going to burst out of my chest.

I lost faith that day.

This man who was principal of a high school of young, impressionable kids; this man whose responsibility it was to motivate and help shape the lives of young students, just ripped out my spirit, shred it to pieces and threw it all out. All in the matter of a minute or 2.

I became depressed and started to believe that maybe I’m not cut out for anything. Maybe I should just re-evaluate my goals and find something a little more “safe”. Something that I can’t screw up.

Either that or just do nothing until I die since I didn’t think I was good enough for anything anymore.

This wasn’t the only incident of this nature that’s occurred though.

I could literally tell you dozens of memories like this. No lie, dozens. Hell, even my father told me to drop out of school when I was college to just go ‘find a job at a factory or telemarketing’.

There are always going to be people who try to trample our dreams. Sometimes they do this out of malice, but other times they do this out of their own insecurities and cynicism.

Does it mean we should listen to them and not want more?

Eff no!

I’ve been through too much in my life to let anybody or anything stop me. When you’ve been to the absolute bottom and didn’t think you’d ever see another day – you never look at life the same again. Trust me.

Nothing can really scare you once you’ve already felt like you’ve lost everything.

For me, I don’t know exactly what happened that made me change my train of though after that incident in the 8th grade, but ever since then, I shifted my rebellious teenage spirit from rebelling against authority to rebelling against negativity.

Ever since then, I’ve refused to accept any mention or idea of inability and negativity. I don’t accept the status quo. I don’t accept the word “impossible”. I don’t accept the word “can’t”.

Hell, I don’t even accept the phrase “I’ll try my best”. Most people see that as being a positive statement, but I see it as creating a self-imposed bubble around your abilities and only attempting to reach that distance rather than shooting far and beyond it.

Sometimes I get a little preachy around friends, but that’s because I inherently cannot accept negativity. It boils my blood to witness it.

90% of the battle is just believing.

Today, everybody is celebrating Barack Obama for making history. And he is. But so are you and I.

We are all making history.

The things we do every single day, help us collectively create the society for our dreams to become reality. Many people have been working everyday towards creating a world for there to be the possibility of Barack Obama to become President.

And it’s not just because it’s him necessarily, and it’s not just because he’d be the first Black President, but it’s about everybody that was ever told they can’t do something. Its about refusing to accept limitations and believing that you can’t do more. It’s about never accepting the word “impossible”.

In order for us to achieve our dreams, we must do our best each and every single day in order to create the environment in which to accomplish them.

As long as we never give up, we are accomplishing the biggest portion of that dream – going for it.

The end result is just a celebration, but the real success is in the journey.

Had that principal never shot my dreams down like that, I might not have ever realized the importance of believing in myself and fighting every negative thrown my way.

It came in handy countless times, especially after I decided to pursue my passion and get into the music business. Everybody around me channeled that same negative energy I had gotten used to and told me I was making a mistake and that I would fail. And I do mean everybody.

I was alone in my belief that I could do it. But I keep that belief, and I bust my back everyday to fight for it.

Regardless of who is trying to discourage you from going after your dreams; it’s up to you to believe that they can be reached.

Today we have proof.

Dreams can come true.

{ 23 comments }

TheJennTaFur November 5, 2008 at 8:14 PM

Beautiful story! Thank you for sharing.

You know we all have had challenges like this to some extent. My parents were told certain things that they could not accomplish but they were successful and even myself. I always think of this teacher who told my mother I should not attend a particular summer camp because it was for the *smart kids* and I did not fit in that category, I was in the 1st grade at this time and THANK GOD my mother took me out of that school.

I don’t understand why teachers those who are supposed to be our role models can be so hurtful like this. now, our children in schools everywhere when they hear these stories now they can turn to Barack Obama’s story.

When we are challenged at any stage of our life I think some of us take the challenge and take it to the next level.

zillz November 5, 2008 at 8:14 PM

that’s a powerful drop fam! the inspiration from last night should last a lifetime. This man is a symbol of many things.

nations all over the entire world wanted this just as bad as we.

and in the midst of a world economic crisis, we have perhaps witnessed the most poignant moment in american history.

we should all reach for our dreams. i never thought I’d see this… I’ve had it set in my mind that there’s a ceiling of achievement here in america. I’ve never been so glad to be so wrong.

Don R November 5, 2008 at 8:52 PM

Moe man, you inspired me. I remember when I first met you, you were just getting into the game and had the most enthusiasm of anybody I’d ever seen. You still got it. Keep on doing what you do and motivating others in the process. I love what you’re doing with your blog. You need to teach me how to do one. I’m happy to witness your continued ascent to the top with my own eyes. Congrats man.

Sincere November 5, 2008 at 9:28 PM

That was a great and inspirational story! I’m glad you didn’t listen to them and strived to be the best. I love that rhyme too.

Mikey McFly November 5, 2008 at 9:55 PM

I’m speechless fam… Great story and I’ll use it as an inspiration

gina November 5, 2008 at 11:21 PM

thank you for this! incredible!

deeyouareoh November 5, 2008 at 11:47 PM

man same kind of negativity was thrown at me in high school. not about my dreams but my weight. not from my peers but from adults who just didn’t think before they opened their mouths (they couldn’t see beyond pudgy to care about my future). i have since learn to accept me how ever i just pray i give my daughter the right tools to battle small minds. President Barack Obama’s story is a nice fit for her tool belt.thanks for your post

Rahzilla November 6, 2008 at 12:00 AM

This was a good post. I think the mind set of your former principal is a disease that is left to fester will hurt the impressional minds of our youth. However, Obama presented the remedy to people like that by giving us hope and inspiration. November 04, 2008 11:30 PM will go down in history.

Cheavor November 6, 2008 at 12:11 AM

This is a very powerful story Brethren. I have an Enhanced appreciation for your tenacity and drive. I can relate to the not tolerating negative people, attitudes and vibes. Along with striving to not just do your best, but to aspire to be exceptional.

Your 8th grade principal shouldn’t even be in academia, he should be a school crossing guard or cafeteria food server. Obviously his goal wasn’t to inspire kids, but to crush their dreams even before they started on their life journey. His malice attitude can’t stop folks like yourself.

Ironically many people that go on to do great things in their lives, often have that underlining drive in the back of their mind that refuses to let them give up, despite all odds. And all kids experience some form of depression as a youth, often due to the lack of encouragement from the adults around them.

I’m certain this story will help and inspire many. And many will see various aspects of your story in their child-hood. Kudos to you for writing it Brotha.

Cheavor,

Yeti November 6, 2008 at 2:42 AM

Thanks for the words. Diggin your site as always. Keep it up cuz its a great thing.

brit November 6, 2008 at 6:03 AM

wow. this is incredible. you’re so much stronger than me. this is really touching. that principal has no idea how good you’re doing. people like him are what’s wrong with our education system. and you’re right, Obama’s victory is an example for all of us.

R.E. November 6, 2008 at 9:15 AM

Great story, fam. That was truly inspirational in itself.

Tayo November 6, 2008 at 4:57 PM

That was an awesome story. It’s great to hear stories of how folks rise over adversity, true inspiration.

And (giving him the benefit of the doubt) I’m sure your principal *thought* he was giving you good advice… and in long run, it was, because you didn’t follow it in the direction he intended, you used it as fuel to make you stronger (I don’t know if that made sense, lol)

Mr. Make It Happen November 6, 2008 at 5:31 PM

I see you stepped your pen game up Moe. Excellent production value on this entry playboy. I’m extremely impressed.

THEflyGIRL November 6, 2008 at 5:33 PM

This is so real on so many levels. So often people, out of their own fears and regrets, will often try and crush the dreams of others. But dreams are so powerful and should be held dear, and protected.

Very powerful Moe.

J.

Bryan Maltier November 6, 2008 at 5:57 PM

This is def a must read for someone that needs a pick me up. Real good post Moe.

Marcus "Can I Live?" Troy November 6, 2008 at 8:30 PM

Very inspiring! thanks

Marcus Troy

Chris November 6, 2008 at 10:18 PM

This is absolutely the best thing I’ve read all week. Thank you for such an inspiring and motivational post.

AroundHarlem.com November 7, 2008 at 2:10 PM

Love this story Moe.

(I wanted to be a doctor when I grew up to. I was pre-med in college, did a medical school internship and everything.)

I love learning where people have been and what motivates them, but more importantly, I LOVE people who take control of their own destiny.

Don’t remember how I came across you on the web, my I immediately wanted to connect with you. (I have no interest in the music business, but as I’ve followed you online, I’ve learned that we do have similar interests. ex. Technology)

What made me want to follow you was the name of your blog Making the Mogul. No I want to be or I’d like to be some day ….. I will be a Mogul.

As a girl from the projects in Harlem, I’ve been many places and done many things that people would have never thought I would, could or should be doing. Like Obama as president, many could never have imagined a person like me based on their stereotypes of people like me.

My life has taken many turns, some good, some not so good, but through it all I have continued to excel in everything that I do.

I attribute my success partially to having a positive attitude and not letting what others say deter me. I listen to others, but ultimately do what’s in my heart.

Even in business, I project this attitude. The name of my company is Exceed Communications because we go above and beyond in everything that we do. (http://exceedcommunications.com/).

Finally, I won’t get into why I didn’t become a doctor, but one day I saw a guy who was kind of a mentor in high school and early college. I was almost embarrassed to tell him that I didn’t become a doctor after all that I had invested in medicine, he told me you were never supposed to be a doctor.

He said that as we get older and learn about life and develop interests, you’ll only be successful at what is truly in your heart. No one else can decide that for you, you have to decide for yourself. Even through the challenges, if it’s in your heart, ultimately you will achieve your desires.

AroundHarlem.com November 7, 2008 at 2:16 PM

One other thing on negativity in your life.

Those closest to you will be the most negative.

I would have to write a book if I tried to detail all of the negativity that I’ve experienced from family and friends/former friends.

I remember attending a workshop by another entrepreneur early in my career. He was giving tips on how to be successful and he basically said don’t share what you are doing with some of the people closest to you. He said that the added negativity will drain you emotionally and hinder your success.

He said share with those who are supportive and give limited info to those who are not.

MarcusFromPhilly November 7, 2008 at 4:08 PM

Moe,

Very heart felt bruh. When you are doubted and counted out…that’s the moments in life where you are tested. I, like you share similar past experiences. I love haters with a passion. It’s like an adrenaline rush. Whether accomplishing goals in athletics or in my current business profession/endeavors, I determine my fate. Man will lead you down the wrong path every time and try to instill fear to deter your mission. To that, I say fuck ’em and keep it moving. I breathe hope into to the hopeless and inspire the un-inspired. That’s called social tithing or zakat (offering). No amount of money can beat a positive role model/mentor. Keep doing what you’re doing. the world is to vast to limit one’s dreams. Dream on!!!

Roberto November 9, 2008 at 1:04 AM

Moe, homie…

Great piece! We need haters out here. If we didd nt have haters obstacles would just be boring… life would just be boring.

Truly insipiring for you to share this with us. If it weren’t for that moment you experienced when you where 8 years old, I wonder what direction you would have taken in life. I wish you the very best, Moe.

Roberto Santos

Moe Arora November 16, 2008 at 3:55 AM

Wow. Thank you guys so much for your comments! It really makes blogging worthwhile to me to be able to get this level of feedback.

Thanks again, I really appreciate all the support!

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