Reach for the sky…
I recently came across a 2014 Men’s Health article
where Jimmy Fallon interviewed himself. That’s right–Jimmy Fallon decided to question himself
around the topic of dreams, and his insights are inspiring to say the least.
As someone who appreciates the idea of “reaching for the sky, going for the gold,” but many times gets discouraged by the doubtful, realistic comments of the world, I found this interview particularly encouraging.
What Jimmy Fallon has to say about dreaming big
In 2014, the year Jimmy Fallon took over as the host of the Tonight Show, he shared the story behind his career choice. As a young boy, he never entertained the idea of becoming a famous talk show host. Instead, he planned for a more realistic goal:
“My dream was to grow up and get a job at IBM, like my dad. That seemed like a logical dream.”
From majoring in computer science to taking the postal exam, Jimmy felt like he always needed a plan B. At some point, though, he realized the opportunity to explore comedy as a career and decided to give himself a pep talk:
“When you [Jimmy] were a kid, and you asked your parents if you could stay up late to watch Johnny Carson, it was a privilege and a treat. There’s going to be a kid out there somewhere asking their parents, ‘Can I stay up late to watch Jimmy Fallon?’ Don’t ever forget that. That is the original viral marketing, long before the Internet existed. And that kid might grow up to be a comedian or a talk show host. You are setting the tone for the future. You want to make that kid laugh so he goes to school and tells all his friends the funny joke he heard from Jimmy Fallon.”
“Don’t ever forget that…”
I love this phrase. I love this freedom to dream. I love this example of building yourself up to push a dream forward.
I also wonder why we don’t spend more time giving ourselves pep talks, rather than giving into doubts and fears.
Even as the haters started making an appearance…
Jimmy continued to stick to his dream and moved forward in optimism. As he explored comedy and landed the incredible role as host of the Tonight Show, he began hearing negativity from the realists around him:
“I remember people saying to us, ‘You’re too nice. Hollywood is going to eat you up and spit you out.’ I never listened to them. It just seemed like a distraction. For me, it’s always been: do your work, work as hard as you can, and try to make everything the best you can do. And at the end of the day, you have to live with yourself. I like living with myself. I mean obviously because here I am interviewing myself.”
Looking to Jimmy for inspiration
From activists to comedians and everyone in between, we all have dreams. Now, whether we keep those dreams alive and work to bring them to reality is a different story.
Maybe you’re reading this as a recent college grad with the realities of the world hitting you in a new season. Or perhaps you’re 20 years into your career and wondering when your dreams first started to slip away.
Whatever your background, whatever stage of life you’re in, we hope you’ll re-evaluate your passions, dreams, and goals, and implement a few of the steps we see in Jimmy’s story:
- Keep your dreams top-of-mind
- Encourage yourself often, even if it means giving a self-pep talk
- Ignore outside negativity and self-doubt
Only you know the dreams you’ve had as a kid and those you’ve created along the way. And only you can bring those dreams to life.
Your greatest dreams, though they may seem far, are living deep inside you. If you find it difficult to remember these dreams, or you’re struggling to move past doubts and fears, try this quick challenge:
Think ahead to the end of your life.
- What do you hope to have accomplished?
- Which dreams would bring you the greatest regret if you failed to pursue them?
- What is standing in the way of moving closer toward those dreams?
Take time to reflect on your passions and actively work to bring them to life. It’s like Jimmy says:
“At the end of the day, you have to live with yourself….”
And we hope at the end of the day, you’ve confidently moved a step closer to your greatest dream.
Continued inspiration from historical figures
What’s your best advice on this topic of dreaming big? Drop a comment below–we’d love to hear!