A few years ago country music duo Brooks & Dunn released a song called Only in America. The premise is that only in America can a regular kid grow up to be whatever he or she dreams possible. They sing that it’s only here “where we dream as big as we want to, we all get a chance, everybody gets to dance.” I always love hearing what kids want to be when they grow up. The answers range from pro athlete, U.S. president, fire fighter, doctor, movie star and everything in between. It’s great to see that the notion of “limited potential” has never occurred to them.

But then as you’re growing up and all throughout life, people start saying, “You can’t do that.” And after hearing this over and over, you eventually start believing them. If you’re not careful, their life’s limitations become yours.

Who knows why some of the closest people in your life convince you that your dreams and plans are unattainable? Maybe it’s out of genuine concern of seeing you fail, a sense of jealousy or just a reflection of their own mediocre mentality. Whatever the reason, stop listening to them and do it now!

I’m not saying it’s wise to always ignore these self-proclaimed devil’s advocates all the time.

Chances are it’s smart to heed some of their precautionary advice. In fact, I’ve recently learned it’s actually good to listen to bankers sometimes!


I’ve been pretty lucky to have positive friends and like-minded “dreamers” in my life. And hopefully people who genuinely believe in you and who encourage you to achieve the greatness you’re capable of surround you. These are the people who sincerely want you to succeed, but also care enough to challenge you to be realistic so that you don’t fail. If you don’t have a few positive influences, make it a priority to find some trusted allies in your life and at work to help you accomplish your goals.

And the next time you find yourself tempted to say something that might discourage someone else’s dream, stop and ask yourself what your motive is for being this person’s next naysayer.

Whether you look within your industry, your community or on TV, you’ll always find people who are living their dreams. Do you ever wonder how they started and how they got there? I’d imagine their story is pretty similar to most kids in this country. Probably the only difference is that they decided not to accept other people’s limitations. They dreamed and dared to take a chance on themselves.

Right now, people just like you and me are striving to achieve their dreams and goals.

Disneyland. Cure for Cancer. Iron Man. Microsoft. The President of the United States.

Behind every great accomplishment are people who were once regular American kids. Ultimately, somebody has to achieve great things. Who says that somebody can’t be you? PD

Tom Wall