By Damian White, Career Services Ambassador
Throughout my undergraduate experience, I have found that some of the most interesting and powerful lessons are learned outside of the classroom. On September 18th, I had the opportunity to attend a talk given by Hill Harper at the University of North Carolina-Charlotte. Hill Harper, an alumnus of Harvard Law School, is an author, activist, and actor who is most recently known for his role in CSI: NY.
After the hustle and bustle of the crowd settled, Hill Harper asked the audience: “What do you think is the number one obstacle the keeps young people from achieving their dreams?” Silence overcame the crowd, and he answered, “F.E.A.R.” Not a “scared of the dark” type of fear, but Hill asserted a “False Evidence Appearing Real” type of fear. His point was that students often constrain and restrict their dreams by succumbing, consciously and unconsciously, to outside factors that set limits on their potential.
In the beginning of his talk, Hill told students to write down their dreams. After captivating the audience through the use of his metaphor of being an “Active Architect of our Dreams,” Hill asked the students to double their dreams. At this point, students were supposed to write down dreams twice as big as the ones they had written in the beginning of the program. The fact that so many students could double their dreams was proof that F.E.A.R. had already impacted the way they think about their goals and dreams.
So, how do we combat F.E.A.R.?
As the “Active Architects of our Dreams,” we must have a strong foundation. Hill Harper says that education and money are the foundation that we need in order to begin to build our “dream.” He asserts that while neither education nor money promise success, they both often lead to options that help as we navigate the often non-linear paths to our dreams.
Next, we need a framework. This framework is found in the support systems that allow our foundations to remain stable, such as family, friends, and mentors.
Beginning to see our structure develop, we need walls. He says that these walls are made up of the choices that we make. These choices become very influential in the way that we prepare for the metaphorical “weather” (hardships and obstacles) that we will face along the way.
Finally, Hill says that we need a door. This door serves to let people in and out of our structure. By regulating this door, we begin to take control of who has access to our dreams.
Davidson…I think it is time to close the door on F.E.A.R. and open it back up for our dreams.