Dreams & Nightmares: Ignore At Your Peril

Someone’s dream is going to come true tonight — and so is someone’s nightmare.

There’s a Gatorade® commercial on TV featuring Kevin Durant, a small forward on the Oklahoma City Thunder and one of the top players in the NBA.  The commercial opens showing the last moments of a game in which Miami Heat shooting guard Dwyane Wade blocks a dunk from Durant, and Durant immediately rises from his bed as if waking up from a nightmare.  It then goes on to show Durant running at dawn, exercising and jumping rope in the gym, riding a stationary bike and doing clapping push-ups, lifting a 45-pound weight up and down and up and down, and then dunking emphatically in the Thunder’s arena; he does all of this alone and unsupervised.

The next scene recalls the game from his dreams.  The announcer says “…two minutes left in the fourth, Miami leads by two…”, and Durant is bringing the ball up the court, just like before.  He drives to the hoop and goes for the slam, all the same.  This time, Wade can’t block the dunk.  The commercial then ends with Wade immediately rising from his bed…as if waking from a nightmare.

Durant saw his blocked-dunk nightmare as a warning of what could happen in life, and altered his behaviors to make sure that when the situation arose in a game, he’d be completely ready.

Have you heard the phrase “we become what we think about”?  Kevin Durant likely thought about becoming a professional basketball player since he was a child.  According to bestselling author Robert Greene in his recent book Mastery, you possess a kind of inner force that seeks to guide you toward your “Life’s Task” — what you are meant to accomplish in the time you have to live.  Once discovered and born to fruition, the instructions for fulfilling your Life’s Task are planted in your dreams.  Those of the Christian faith may now be reminded of Job 33:15-16 — “In a dream, in a vision of the night, when deep sleep falls upon men, in slumbering upon the bed, then He opens the ears of men, and seals their instruction.”

This may sound weird, but I pretty much have the same dream every night.  The setting itself changes, but the pattern is always the same.  The dream ultimately ends with me having to do a show on drums, and for some reason I’m unable to do so.  I’m there, ready to go, but  maybe one of my drums is missing, or I’m using a shared drum kit and it doesn’t do what I need it to, or my stands keep falling down, or I’m late for the gig, etc.  Bottom line, something goes wrong and I can’t fix it.  I sometimes wake up like Durant or Wade, terrified that I was the reason that the show couldn’t go on.  In an effort to make sure that never happens, I take very seriously my preparation and rehearsal for everything I do professionally.  When show day arrives and the audience is waiting, I know I’m ready even though I’m nervous.

The NCAA National Championship game takes place tonight between Louisiana and Michigan, and for some of the players on the winning team (GO BLUE!!), winning this game will stand as the pinnacle of their achievements as a human being.  These athletes likely began pursuing their basketball careers at a very early age: getting up earlier than their classmates to run or attend morning practice; saying “no” to distractions from basketball; staying later at evening practices to work on personal performance; watching their diet and exercising regularly; years of game experience and lessons on and off the court; the list goes on.  They’ve dedicated 3/4 of their life to doing one thing incredibly well, and they are going to put it on display for the world.

Each winning team member is going to take the court tonight and be able to experience the night they’ve been dreaming of for as long as they can remember.  They are going to realize that all of their hard work did pay off, just like their parents and coaches said it would.  They will etch their names into history as the best in their sport for the year of 2013.  Tonight, one team is going to have the game of their dreams (and the other is going to live out their worst nightmare *coughCardscough.)  But the only way that will become a reality is if they respected their dreams enough to pay attention to the lessons therein, and altered their behaviors accordingly.

So, what do you dream about..?

Thanks for reading.


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