Here’s a little bit of trivia about me you probably didn’t know: I was the senior speaker at my high school graduation ceremony. Now, let me be clear: I went to a very small, independent study high school where most of the students attended just one day of class per week. The ceremony was actually held in the parking lot. So I’m not bragging here. I wasn’t valedictorian, though I did graduate with honors. I was actually selected to be senior speaker by the students and the faculty, which—for me—is even better than if I had been chosen for my grades.
So, why do bring this up? Because I wanted to share a quote from my graduation speech. It’s one that still inspires me to this day.
In everything you do, shoot for the moon. Because even if you miss, at least you’re among the stars.
I’m not sure who said this or where it came from. I don’t even remember the first time I heard it. But the words were so powerful; they’ve stayed with me for decades now.
The other day, I was reminded of this quote while interviewing Dick Bolles, the author of What Color Is Your Parachute? (By the way, if you missed it, you can listen to it here.)
During our conversation, while discussing the concept of searching for your “dream job,” Mr. Bolles said the following:
You have to start with the largest vision of what you really, really, really want to do with your life so that if you only get 60 percent of that, you’ve gotten far, far more than if you started with a vision that you hacked down in the name of supposed reality.
How often do you find yourself aiming low because it’s more “realistic”? What are you perhaps missing out on because of that? What if you aimed higher? What if, dare I say it, you aimed for the very top? Even if fell short, would you not possibly end up better off in the long run?
Sometimes, it feels safer and easier to keep your hopes in check. Why try for something that seems so far out of reach? This kind of thinking only limits what you’re capable of. It doesn’t challenge you. It doesn’t inspire you. And it forces you to play small.
So, as I told my graduating class back in 1996, shoot for the moon. Whether you’re looking for your next job, your next home or your next mate. Aim for the dream. You might not get it, but then again…you just might.