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How Thought Leaders Taught Me to Dream Big | Avinash Dharmadhikari

How Thought Leaders Taught Me to Dream Big

What we decide about our life has a huge impact on how it unfolds. If our approach remains limited to learning from a few books, getting a job, getting married, having children and then retiring, it would be a great injustice to our capabilities as human beings. As Sant Tukaram said, “Janmala ala ni gela ghaluni mela” – loosely translated as “He took birth, went through the motions and went away.”

I truly believe that your life is shaped by how you perceive it, how you dream and what you determine it to be like! In this article, I will be quoting some of my favourite authors and poets, whose words have always inspired me to dream big!

Build a grand dream

If our life’s resolutions are ambitious, their calibre can be grand as well. Writer Jaywant Dalvi – often considered the greatest in Marathi and world literature – once said, “We live our lives in the light of the dream we dream about life at the age of sixteen.”

The same sentiment is expressed differently, yet more expansively, by Shelley, one of the greatest English poets of all time. Shelley states, “Tell me what songs are on the lips of the youth, and I will tell you the fate of that country!”

Together, a meaning emerges: if we envision grand, large, creative dreams about life, it is possible to shape our lives, society and country similarly.

As Baba Amte says, “We need such creative adventures, which are consciously planned, so that they can be executed unconsciously!”

Such dreams propel our growth. Hence, one should dream big.

Seek out new opportunities – take that risk!

The socio-cultural consciousness of any society finds its expression through language and speech. There’s a Marathi phrase that I find rather disheartening, loosely translated as, “Stretch your legs only as far as the size of the bed allows.” There’s another one that says, “Do not take the treacherous path instead of the well-trodden one.” These two phrases essentially urge small thinking. They discourage taking daring leaps. They advocate sizing your steps based on the size of your bed. Fortunately, Shantanu Rao Kirloskar – a remarkable Marathi entrepreneur of global stature – refuted this concept through his life and entrepreneurial spirit. He taught us that we should relinquish the notion of “matching our stretch to the bed.” Instead, we should have the audacity to craft a bed that matches our stride!

“Don’t tread the treacherous path” signifies a smooth, unopposed way of living, in line with the concept of the path of least resistance. Avoid challenges and difficulties in life. Don’t undertake risky journeys. We must, on the contrary, seek out new opportunities and forge new pathways through our journey. But, we must also be ready to face hardships, difficulties, and challenges.

There’s another Marathi phrase that echoes this sentiment, which, loosely translated, says: “If it comes charging at you, take it by the horns.” This is the determination one needs in their approach to life; the determination to dream big. Hence, the apt philosophy to go by would be, “The treacherous path is necessary if you want to avoid the easy one.” May your immense efforts and unwavering perseverance lead to remarkable, extraordinary accomplishments and dreams!

Embrace failure – and learn from it

There’s an English saying, “Not failure, but having low aspirations is a crime!” Failure isn’t criminal, but having modest goals, resolutions, and dreams is. The cultural consciousness expressed in English contends, “God helps those who help themselves.” Similarly, in the collective cultural consciousness expressed through language, “Pryatnanti Parameshwar” or “Effort is divine” is emphasised in Marathi. Embodying this in your life entails dreaming big.

Inspired by his mother Jijabai, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj embraced the resolve for Hindavi Swaraj at the tender age of sixteen. Likewise, at the same age, Sant Dnyaneshwar, who became the embodiment of virtuous humanity, wrote the Dnyaneshwari treatise. The freedom fighter Vinayak Damodar Savarkar also altered the course of history by discarding the resolution of “Reform, reform, reform” and championed an armed revolution for the Motherland’s liberation.

Such grand aspirations can be seen across all domains of life. Dilip Purushottam Chitre, the eminent modern Marathi poet, recognised at the age of sixteen that if there was one thing he wanted to be in life, it was a poet!

Baburao ‘B G’ Shirke, who established a significant industrial conglomerate through his independent efforts, envisioned creating his massive industrial empire while growing up in a small village in the Satara district. He pursued his vision and proved it possible. Acharya Atre used to narrate an anecdote about a Marathi man who died leaving behind a debt of Rs. 10,000. Atre, in his characteristic style, would quip that if one were to die in debt, they should at least die with a debt of Rs. 10 crore!

The essence is to dream big. I remember the story of an attendant who worked at a petrol pump. When asked about his life’s dream, he replied, “My dream is to establish a global petrochemical company of my own!” Many might have dismissed him as unrealistic. However, that very ‘boy’ went on to establish the Ambani industrial conglomerate. Dhirubhai Ambani lived his life, showing how one can shape their destiny by dreaming big.

Each of us can mould our lives by nurturing grand aspirations within our spheres. Personal experiences lead me to believe that such lives take on grand and creative forms. Hence, I encourage you to dream big from the bottom of my heart.

To read more English blogs, please visit our blog section.

Avinash Dharmadhikari

The author is a former I.A.S. Officer and Founder, Director of ‘Chanakya Mandal.’

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