Byron's Babbles

Relinquishing One Dream For Another

Posted in Dreams, Educational Leadership, Global Leadership, Leadership, Leadership Development by Dr. Byron L. Ernest on February 8, 2023

Just the other day I wrote the post No Fork Is Without Twists, about the fact that the trails we choose aren’t always smooth and there will be twists and turns in life. This week I started reading another great book, Red Dress In Black and White by Elliot Ackerman. I can already tell this is going to be one of those books that causes a great deal of reflection and pondering – just what I love. One of the lines I read yesterday was that one of the characters had “relinquished one dream for another.” We don’t really know yet in this novel whether that is a good thing or bad, but then I got to thinking about how it can be both good and bad. We all have those dreams and hopes for our future. We all have those things we are passionate about and want to do with our lives. Those dreams help give our lives purpose and direction. Sometimes dreams change, though, right?

“Many of life’s failures are people who did not realise how close they were to success when they gave up.” ~ Thomas Edison

Sometimes, however, those dreams are imposed on us by our parents, partners, or spouses. Then, like both Catherine and Murat in Red Dress In Black and White there becomes a relinquishing of one dream for another. We have been taught from a young age to never give up, but in a society that links the giving up on a dream or goal as failure, we also need to understand how to make adjustments to unattainable goals. Please don’t think I have become a defeatist. I just also believe we must be real and also consider how to think through what psychologists call “goal adjustment capacity.” Check this out:

“…the successful attainment of desired goals facilitates subjective well-being and physical health (Bandura, 1997; Carver & Scheier, 1981, 1998; Emmons, 1986, Heckhausen, Wrosch, & Schulz, 2010). This is not surprising as goals are the building blocks for the accomplishment of a variety of developmental tasks and their attainment is likely to foster long-term patterns of successful development (Heckhausen, 1999; Ryff, 1989). At times, however, it is impossible for a person to make further progress towards an important goal because the goal itself is not attainable.”

Goal Adjustment Capacities, Subjective Well-Being, and Physical Health

Again, I am not advocating for giving up on dreams and goals, but want us to also be able to recognize the times where adjustments may be necessary. Or, we need to be able to recognize when relinquishing one dream for another could be a good thing or bad.


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