“Dreams are lovely. But they are just dreams. Fleeting, ephemeral, pretty. But dreams do not come true just because you dream them. It’s hard work that makes things happen. It’s hard work that creates change.”
Shonda Rhimes is best known as the creator, writer, and producer of the hit TV series, Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal. She’s also a member of the Class of ’91 of Dartmouth and recently gave the 2014 Dartmouth Commencement Speech, which my great friend and gifted writer Wendy Giman passed on to me. A big chunk of Shonda’s musings focused on writing — and doing. Since we all need a kick in the pants from time to time, I’m sharing selections from her speech here:
“I think a lot of people dream. And while they are busy dreaming, the really happy people, the really successful people, the really interesting, engaged, powerful people, are busy doing.
“The dreamers. They stare at the sky and they make plans and they hope and they talk about it endlessly. And they start a lot of sentences with “I want to be …” or “I wish.” “I want to be a writer.” “I wish I could travel around the world.”
“…Maybe you write in journals about your dreams or discuss it endlessly with your best friend or your girlfriend or your mother. And it feels really good. You’re talking about it, and you’re planning it. Kind of. You are blue-skying your life. And that is what everyone says you should be doing. Right? I mean, that’s what Oprah and Bill Gates did to get successful, right?
“No. So, Lesson One, I guess is: Ditch the dream and be a doer, not a dreamer. Maybe you know exactly what it is you dream of being, or maybe you’re paralyzed because you have no idea what your passion is. The truth is, it doesn’t matter. You don’t have to know. You just have to keep moving forward. You just have to keep doing something, seizing the next opportunity, staying open to trying something new. It doesn’t have to fit your vision of the perfect job or the perfect life. Perfect is boring and dreams are not real. Just … do….
“You want to be a writer? A writer is someone who writes every day, so start writing. You don’t have a job? Get one. Any job. Don’t sit at home waiting for the magical opportunity. Who are you? Prince William? No. Get a job. Go to work. Do something until you can do something else.
“My dreams did not come true. But I worked really hard. And I ended up building an empire out of my imagination….So be brave. Be amazing. Be worthy….
Let’s be dreamers and doers. Let’s be brave, amazing, and worthy. Write on!