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Guest Post: Dreams and Belief by Duncan Milne


“I believe.”

“I’ve got faith.”

“I have a dream.”

Simple statements with profound consequences. Belief, faith and dreams; they are the source materials for all achievement, for all inspiration.

Interestingly though, these foundations are not sufficient on their own. Belief, faith and dreams require more to grow and stretch into success. Decorated Canadian painter Robert Genn relates a story in which a friend of his “had faith” that he was capable of painting, so naturally he tried his hand at it. Quickly his faith was tested, and defeated producing a result that had failed so miserably the project was abandoned. Genn provides an interesting and insightful story about the strength and importance of faith, but that even more is required. A painter needs more than paint and canvass and a baker needs more than simply flour to bake a cake: success needs more than faith.

Writers believe that they’ve got a story to tell. And they do.

Friends and family express their faith that a book will come to life, a painting will add color and children make sports teams. And they do.

Collectively there is a dream. Martin Luther King Jr had a dream. A great dream. Without such a dream, changes in civil rights throughout America would not have been realized.

Without faith – a dream will never come to be.

Without belief – there is no basis for faith.

But success takes more. You don’t need to be a historian to know that Reverend King’s famous dream started inauspiciously as an idea first conveyed to a trusted friend. The making of a dream was planted like a seed on fertile soil. But there was more to come.

Mark Cuban has said success comes from “…the willingness to outwork and outlearn everyone.”

Malcolm Gladwell addresses what it takes to be an “Outlier” as a confluence of talent, opportunity, initiative and hard work. Hard work characterised as tenacity, perseverance or an absolute resolve.

Hard work that facilitates the evolution of belief to faith and coverts a dream to success.  Planning and organization. Working and re-working. Just like Robert Genn’s friend without the skill to paint, Martin Luther King Jr needed more than a timely idea, he needed the skills of a compelling orator, he needed a physical presence and a resolve. In short, he needed the skills to take his idea to nurture it into a dream capable of inspiring countless people.

Seth Godin believes that people are inspired to act when people understand or comprehend “little acts”. These are acts that people are capable of identifying with. Everyone has had a dream. Everyone wants their world to be better, but they usually only find the resolve when they believe that their dream is achievable. In fact, the little steps that we first take can often be the most heroic and inextricably lead to our desired success.

So where does that leave us?

Well, I suppose that it puts Malcolm Gladwell, Mark Cuban, Robert Genn and Martin Luther King Jr in the same discourse about success, faith and dreams. But there is more.

Martin Luther King Jr was a hero not simply because of what he achieved but because of what he attempted. Without faith to support his dream, Reverend King wouldn’t have the resolve to endure the challenges he faced; however, without the skills and tenacity his dream wouldn’t have inspired others.

Whatever your goals are this year, we can still follow Martin Luther King’s example by taking the time to support our faith and our dreams with hard work in developing our skills.

Read, write, explore, edit. Take a class. Review other’s work. Commit to not only defining your dream and nurturing your faith, but also to developing your skills. Take time to dream, but also take time to implement those dreams.


  1. Tim CarringtonTim Carrington01-21-2014

    Hi Duncan

    Interesting peice, I spend 30 minutes every morning reading up on articles like this. I suppose to help develop my skills and nurture my faith. It’s funny how many people I know who have a passion for something quite different to what pays them their wage.


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