When I was in school there was a man named Po-Po who cleaned our gym. He did a great job, keeping it serviceable despite a hundred middle and high school kids trudging through it on any given day. Every time I saw him he was working, so that we could have a place to play. But every time I saw him he also had a smile for me. Not once in seven years of hanging around that gym did I ever see Po-Po on a bad day. And not once did he do anything other than brighten mine.
Now listen, I will be the first to tell you to dive headfirst into your dreams. If you find that thing that you know in your heart is what you’re meant to do then I’d tell you to go for it with everything you have. After all, the firm belief that Anything is Possible is what has allowed me to live out my own.
But in the course of our pursuit of those dreams, sometimes life happens. You have to eat, to pay rent, to pay off loans. And while dreams are built on hard work and passion, they’re also often dependent on the fickle whims of luck and opportunity. We’re thrilled by the stories of people who have succeeded in reached the pinnacles of our society but that can’t be the only definition of success. Because I don't know anybody who dreams about cleaning up after a bunch of school kids. But I look at someone like Po-Po—who goes to work every day and does his very best, who improves the quality of other people’s lives, who offers nothing but love to the people in his path—and I think man, that’s a successful guy.
The challenge, I think, as we pursue our dreams or even see them fall away, is to never lose touch with where we are right now. Because who you are isn’t based on some potential future accomplishments or what you could’ve done but your actions in the present. Can you be the best you can be in whatever you’re doing today and can you leave the world a happier place than you found it?
I don’t know about you, but being able to answer yes to those questions...THAT is my biggest dream.
Last summer I visited the team at my high school. I got to say hi to Po-Po as he was working in the gym. And he gave me a smile.