Ever since I was starting to work in the area of Social Computing I had a dream to get an MIT Media Lab degree. I couldn’t really understand why it was my dream, but it sounded really cool. One of my colleagues, a brilliant mobile researcher, joint us from MIT Media Lab and has shown me the very cool gadgets she built there. Another colleague who I was fortunate to manage, told me about cool projects he did there. I never got to even apply. I did my Masters in Communications with great people and the best supervisor and I was happy. But dreams have this feature of sitting in your head. And now I dream of getting a Ph.D. from MIT Media Lab. Will I one day? Sounds fictional, but who knows? On the paper there is a wall between me and this dream. I have a great job, I provide for my family and becoming a student after 40 sounds crazy. But it is a dream, so who knows what will happen?
I am looking at examples of other people, some of whom I am fortunate to call friends. One who left his great job at Microsoft, became a TED star, a PhD student and a great public speaker. Another one who left it all, a great job in high tech, money and fame and became a restaurant owner. It might have been difficult at first, but he is a real star now with a flourishing business. And yet another one who left a high position in a big company and became a University professor with a talk show of his own.
But I get really excited when I see someone who has a dream, pursues it and never gives u despite the hardship of life. The hero of this post had no easy life. He worked in various low paying jobs, had to get our of debt many times. But he is and always has been a brilliant musician and poet. He has always been a backbone of any band he was in. He was the one writing music and lyrics, he was the one keeping all the others adrift, he was the one making sure they practice every day. People said to him that he should grow up. People said to him that nobody really needs rock music. People said to him that he stinks. He did not really care. He was working his jobs, he was providing for his family, he was a responsible father - but he invested his soul into his music. So many times he felt that he reached the wall. So many times he felt helpless. But he always said that his music will show the way. His new band made one great album and then another. They travelled the country and sometimes had to do shows in half empty pubs. But they did not really care. They played on. He was the leader and the singer and the poet. And great people sticked with him. Finally his band became one of the best around - playing together they built a real team that played wonderful music together. And one day a famous producer happened to hear them. He got interested. He came to Israel. He came to our small town. He listened to them play. And he invited them to the biggest rock festival in Russia. A festival where all the big bands are playing every year. A festival that usually starts it all for young and promising bands. A festival that usually is a beginning of the great success. I do not know whether the wall that stood between my friend and success has already been broken. Maybe this festival will be a “one of” experience. But I can’t really believe that. Because the guy has so much energy and talks to the Universe so clearly that it is only the beginning.
So how to break your wall? Think about your dream. Think hard. And do something for your dream. Every day. Every step of the way. Start by just hitting the bricks of your wall. One by one. Then you will see a small hole. Then the hole will be bigger and then your wall will be broken. Nobody said breaking the wall was easy. It is difficult. You will want to stop a thousand times. But seeing the wall crumble, seeing the audience shout your name, hearing the standing ovation - it is all worth it. When my friend will go on this stage he will see all of that and he will sing his songs - songs about Breaking the Wall.