Remington, Inspired by Thoreau’s Ageless Wisdom, Says Dream Big and Build ‘Castles in the Air’

(photo by Josh Hild from Unsplash)

WHILE VISITING NEW Hampshire last week, it came to my attention that Concord, Mass., was only a 93-minute car ride away. Not only is Concord the birthplace of America's democracy, but it is also the birthplace of transformational thinking. People such as Emerson, Hawthorne, Alcott and others would spend time gathered in Emerson's living room discussing a new and higher world order of thinking and being.


Eventually a farm hand by the name of Thoreau was included in the group. He spent two years, two months and two days secluded in a hut not much bigger than a child's playhouse and wrote his essay titled, "Walden." One of the most read passages is this:

"I learned this, at least, by my experiment; that if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours. He will put some things behind, will pass an invisible boundary; new, universal, and more liberal laws will begin to establish themselves around and within him; or the old laws will be expanded, and interpreted in his favor in a more liberal sense, and he will live with the license of a higher order of beings…If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them." — Henry David Thoreau, "Walden"

Let's open this gift up a little further.

"I learned this, at least, by my experiment…" This is what happened to Thoreau and could happen to you, too.

"…if one advances confidently…" "If" is a choice. You must choose, with complete resolve, to advance confidently.

"…in the direction of his dreams…" Today it would read his/her dreams. What is it that you long for? What are your dreams, ambitions or desires for your life?

"…endeavors to live the life which he has imagined…" Prepare yourself for your dream. Study, research, get into the field of your dream, and act in a way that you already are living that life. Do those things that a writer, actor, doctor, singer, business owner, pilot, (put your dream here) would do.

"…success unexpected in common hours." Because you are focused on achieving your dreams, success will find you because you now expect success. You are imagining your success.

"He will put some things behind, will pass an invisible boundary; new, universal, and more liberal laws will begin to establish themselves around and within him…" You will drop old habits that are not in alignment with your dreams and lean into the life you have imagined for yourself, and life starts to happen through you instead of to you.

"…or the old laws will be expanded, and interpreted in his favor in a more liberal sense, and he will live with the license of a higher order of beings." Your old way of thinking, those laws established by your parents, teachers, friends or family will not be so finite but expanded into your favor and give you the freedom to think in an expanded interpretation of the meaning of your life.

"If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them." Begin with the end in mind, writes Steven Covey, then work back from there, on the steps necessary to achieve your goal.

One should not be concerned about dreaming too big but instead, one should be concerned about dreaming too small and achieving that dream.

Peter Remington is an executive at Houston CityBook and also a business consultant and life coach. For more information on him and his Prepare 4 More, visit here.

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