“A dream you dream alone is only a dream. A dream you dream together is reality.”
That is a quote from a Japanese girl who were just 12 years old when her hometown, Tokyo, had the great fire-bombing in 1945 which later made her homeless. After that, her mother was forced to beg for food with their belongings in a wheelbarrow while her father was in a concentration camp in Saigon, Vietnam. Needless to say, she was in no position to talk about “dream” while her reality must have been how not to starve each day. However, apparently, her definition of “reality” was slightly different.
Her name was Yoko Ono, who was then recognized as a multimedia artist, songwriter and peace activist in protests against wars together with her husband John Lennon.
What hit me real hard when hearing this story is that it has made me realize dreaming is not reserved for people from high positions in life, and “dream” and “reality” are not opposite but they actually have a close connection with each other.
The more I have reflected on this idea, the more I have realized that it is not even close to exaggeration to say every great thing in this world that has been made to happen starts with a dream. Not a dream alone, but a dream together.
My mother and my father started our happy family by dreaming of a life together even though they had nothing in their hands at that time. I went to school and the greatest friendships I have ever had started with people that shared with me the same dream of our future. The project that I worked on in my university years started with a dream that a university professor shared with her blind friend about a platform allowing the visually impaired to easily access information and knowledge.
Apple started with a dream Steve Jobs shared with his partners about a product that could change people’s way of connecting with each other and communicate. The world’s first airplane started with a dream that the Wright Brothers shared with each other and with their team about changing the course of the world with man-powered flights. And Vietnam could become a free country because of a constant dream about freedom that millions of people shared despite thousands of years being invaded.
There are millions and millions of other great things in various sizes and scales in this world that started out with a dream together.
That is something so easy and simple to realize, but we have been taken it for granted. We are constantly told by the society outside that dreaming is just for the privileged and we are supposed to be realistic; and so we have forgotten that the reality today was just a dream yesterday.
When I joined Knowmads 6 months ago, for the first time in many years, somebody asked me about my dream. It took me months to answer that question because it had been buried for years, and another several months to realize why my dream is so meaningful to me. Because it is not a dream I dream for myself, but it is a dream I want to share with others and want to bring to the world. One special thing about Knowmads, is that after the first question “Who am I?” comes the second question “In what world do I want to live?”, followed by “What can I change or contribute?” We are born as a part of this world, and our dreams are not complete unless we put them in the middle of the world and see what our dreams mean to the world.
Later on, I realized that Knowmads also started out with a dream. A dream about an education where people are encouraged to be their best selves and bring their best gifts in making this world a better place. It is a long journey to go, but we are dreaming together. More importantly, when we start sharing about our dream and making it happen, it turns out that there are a lot of other people holding the same dream. The community we are building in Hanoi is now having more than one hundred people thriving for a better world, and it is growing.
What about you? What dream are you holding? Are you going to share it any time soon to make it a dream together?